Friday, March 24, 2006

Greek Salad

So, this week my roommate said "I think I'd like a salad for dinner one night." Whaaaat? He hates salads. I was giddy about this new request. I have a salad involving pears, apples and cheese over salad greens that I've been wanting to try, but I don't think he's ready for something that 'gourmet' yet. So I settled on making a nice big Greek salad. Lots of flavors, tasty ingredients, variety, and nothing too unique or scary. Though he did have an aversion to feta cheese, but ate it anyway (and ended up liking it!). The recipe I used was from Cook's Illustrated magazine.

My changes: I didn't use fresh herbs. I used dried oregano in the dressing, and dried parsley in the salad. I ignored the mint altogether because I don't like mint in savory dishes.

My thoughts: It was AWESOME. It was so yummy and there is enough left over for lunch tomorrow. It absolutely rivals salads I've had at Greek restaurants. Delicious. :)

Greek Salad
Serves 6-8
"Marinating the onion and cucumber in the vinaigrette tones down the onion's harshness and flavors the cucumber. For efficiency, prepare the other salad ingredients while the onion and cucumber marinate. Use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce thoroughly after washing; any water left clinging to the leaves will dilute the dressing."

Vinaigrette:
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp minced fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 medium garlic clove, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tsp)
6 Tbsp olive oil

Salad:
1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, haved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
2 romaine hearts, washed, dried thoroughly, and torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 12 wedges each
1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves
6 oz jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips
20 large kalamata olives, each olive pitted and quartered lengthwise
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

1. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Add onion and cucumber and toss; let stand to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

2. Add romaine, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and peppers to bowl with onions and cucumbers; toss to coat with dressing.

3. Transfer salad to wide, shallow serving bowl or platter; sprinkle olives and feta over salad. Serve immediately.

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