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The Greek salad horiatiki (the name in Greek means village salad) is a salad as refreshing and generous as the summer sun. It is a compilation of summer vegetables, roughly chopped with a drizzling of good extra virgin olive oil, a handful of dark Kalamata olives and a tiny pinch of oregano. The Greek salad is one of the iconic dishes in Greece, a recipe that best identifies the country. If you think about it, its composition in fact best represents the biodiversity of the Greek territory. Vegetables that are fragrant, tasty and above all extremely colorful in summer. Feta cheese, which is one of the most popular products in all of Greece, as well as being one of the best known Greek products in the world. The condiments used, such as sea salt produced directly in the Aegean. Dried oregano, which during the Greek summers perfumes the villages of the whole Peloponnese but not only. And finally the king of the Greek table, that is extra virgin olive oil. Equip yourself with oil made with koroneiki olives as it is certainly the best to dress your Greek salad. It is a delicate oil but at the same time with an intense herbaceous scent. An olive oil able to best assemble all the ingredients of your Greek salad, highlighting its taste and aroma.
The delight of choriatiki salad is to get your fork and gently break the feta slub on top, vigorously mix it and start nibbling on juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers. The saltiness of feta and fragrant oregano makes the tastes explode in your mouth. But…wait a minute! Was this slub of feta meant to be placed so awkwardly on top of this salad?
Many argue that Greek salad was an ingenuous idea of the touristic taverns of Plaka in Athens; in order to join both the famous Greek feta cheese and satisfy the need for a refreshing salad they married these two in a combination so successful it stayed on.
Truth is, most households might keep the cheese and salad separate. The cheese platter will come out and you will savour a little bit of feta and there is always a salad, especially that simple one with the juicy tomatoes, cucumber and a few fleshy olives on top. No matter how you like you salad, with feta cheese scrambled in or not, choriatiki is certainly a dish to lavish.
In reality there are few ingredients that are really fundamental among the many that can make up a Greek salad. For sure the feta cheese must be the right one: the best choice should be the barricaded Greek feta. The fact that it has been aged in wooden barrels gives it an extra taste and aroma.
Vegetables are just as important: tomatoes and cucumbers in particular must be in season to best release their scent. This is why the Greek salad represents the dish par excellence of the Greek summers.
Finally, the extra virgin olive oil. It is one of the most important ingredients of all as it is able to best combine the various flavors with each other. The best choice in this case is olive oil extracted from olives of the koroneiki variety. It is in fact a delicate and super fragrant oil, able to bring out the best of all the ingredients that make up any salad.
One of the most important things when preparing your Greek salad is its finalization. Remember to make a generous Greek salad dressing. To have a traditional salad it is essential that the ingredients literally swim in the dressing (some like to add lemon juice, some other red wine vinegar or even mint leaves).
Then, once the vegetables are finished, you can use the remaining sauce to dip the bread, pita or Cretan croutons. In this way the taste and flavor of your salad will be infinite!
1. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber and add straight to a side dish.
2. Prepare the onion in thinly sliced long stripes and add to your small bowl (use a large bowl if you are expecting a big table!).
3. Continue with the pepper.
4. Add the Kalamata olives, the capers, a generous drizzle of olive oil.
5. Finish off with the feta cheese and a pinch of fragrant oregano and a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top.
A tip according to the Greek tradition: if you want an even richer and tastier version of the traditional Greek salad, you can break up some paximadia inside the bowl and wait 5 minutes for them to soften to the right point!extra virgin olive oil on top.
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