The Perfect Greek Salad – Leave it Alone!

Do you know, if you ‘Google around a bit’ or, these days, engage in a bit of ‘Binging’ you quicky become aware of just how many interpretations of the famous Greek Salad there are out there greek salad near me.

Its quite amazing. there are ingredients I have never heard of – one American recipe called for either mayo (God forbid!) or something with the horrendous name of ‘Miracle Whip’. Then its goes on to plonk a potato salad in the middle of something that no Greek would recognise.

In Greece the humble ‘Horiatikisalata’ – Peasant or village salad is enshrined in law. Put too few olives or miss a few grams of feta and you could get a fine. No really. I think it’s the same if you put some other foreign ingredient too. Shifty taverna owners like sometimes to ‘bulk’ the salad out with cheap lettuce or white cabbage. Well, they are on a days outing to the magistrates court if they get discovered or complained about.

There is a good reason for this, in my opinion. Although I rarely stick to a recipe when cooking and I am one to suggest that sometimes ‘traditional’ can be improved upon and, why not? All traditions have to start somewhere and why not with you? But in the case of the Greek salad, I will defend it to the hilt.

Why? Because you just can not improve it, no matter what you try to add. A rarity for Greek cuisine, it has a dish which is up there with the greats; Nicoise and Caesar spring to mind. The Greek salad done well with perfectly ripe ingredients, plump, shiny black olives and dark green peppery Cretan olive oil is a fresh tasting, light yet filling salad which shouldn’t just be resigned to side dish status. The uncommon way all the ingredients compliment each other is wonderful, right down to the juice left at the bottom of the bowl – a heady mix of tomato juices, bits of onion, little bits of feta, vinegar and, of course, Greek olive oil. On a hot summers day it’s a lazy lunchtime treat with a couple or three glasses of retsina followed by a snooze under the shade of a tree. For me, the most perfect place to enjoy this dish is at the Calypso Restaurant in Paleochora, a small town in south west Crete. Here they get it just right.


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