My first meal in Greece was this Greek salad. I bought it at a restaurant and walked to Syntagma Square, the main square in Athens, where I sat and watched people gather for a demonstration against government corruption. The loudspeaker came on and several people walked up to the microphone to speak. Of course, I had no idea what they were saying, except for the word “politiki!” The demonstration was short and peaceful, as are most here in Greece. By the time I had finished my salad people were already leaving, probably off to have lunch at the few places that were open.
With the combination of strikes, demonstrations and the low tourist season, every day many places are closed here. From cafes and restaurants to archeological sites and museums. In fact, next week many Greeks are going to try to spend 1 week without buying anything! Not that we have many options…
We have to stock up on some Greek cooking staples! Those would be olive oil, olives, feta cheese, onions, garlic, tomatoes, Greek oregano and bread. Those happen to be almost all the ingredients for a Greek salad!
χωριάτικη σαλάτα in Greek meaning “village salad”
Choose quantities depending on how many people you are feeding. Remember that day old greek salad tastes better and makes a fantastic sandwich!
- equal amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers, roughly chopped
- red onion, sliced in thin strips
- green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
- kalamata olives or other black Greek olives
- a generous hunk of salty, peppery feta cheese
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- Greek oregano
- salt and pepper
- capers, optional
- fresh, crusty bread
- Throw all the chopped up vegetables into a bowl. Toss in the olives, whole. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Pour plenty of olive oil on top and just a dash of vinegar. Mix well. Then crumble feta over everything and mix one more time.
- Capers are optional. Crumbling the feta is also apparently optional!
- Best if made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
- Serve with a hunk of fresh bread to sop up all the juices!