Greek Salad

Some of my favorite recipes are those that rely on the little things. Take this version of Greek salad. First, you choose your ingredients[ carefully-for instance, ripe tomatoes (taut-skinned and unblemished), of course, but also perfect cucumbers (sweet, crisp ones with character; none that are watery or full of big old seeds). Then, have a bit of fun cutting them: using a very sharp knife (this will spare you mushy, ragged-edged tomatoes), cut them into different shapes of similar size, some with sharp angles. These and a few other small details-briefly chilling the tomatoes and cucumbers and quick-pickling the onions-turn a familiar collection of ingredients into a really special salad.]

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min
Prep:
20 min
Inactive:
30 min
Cook:
20 min

Yield:
4 to 6 as a side
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 3/4 pound crunchy cucumbers without big seeds (preferably a few varieties), peeled and cut into irregular 3/4-inch pieces
  • Generous 1 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes, halved, cored, trimmed of any pale bits, and cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 3/4 cup), halved through the stem end if large
  • 2 slender spring onions, green tops and root ends trimmed, bulbs cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and separated into rings (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar (available at specialty shops and online)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Maldon or another flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 20 or so Nicoise olives, firmly pressed with the flat of a knife and pitted
  • A five-finger pinch of mint leaves (preferably black mint)
  • 5 ounces creamy feta cheese (preferably goat feta)
Directions
  • Put the cucumbers and tomatoes in separate bowls and pop them in the fridge just until they're cold, about 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, add the onions to a small bowl. Add the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and a healthy pinch of salt, and mix well with your hands. Let the onions sit just until they get pickly, a few minutes.

  • In a separate small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the lemon juice, and a good pinch of salt until the mixture looks creamy. Combine the tomatoes and cucumber in one bowl, pour in the lemon dressing, and toss gently but well.

  • Grab a large platter (or 4 to 6 plates) and make a pretty layer of cucumbers and tomatoes, so the colors and types of the vegetables are well divvied up. Give the onions one more toss, then use your hands to add them (reserving their pickly liquid) here and there over the cucumbers and tomatoes. Scatter on the olives and mint. Use your hands to crumble the feta into pieces large, medium, and small as you scatter it on top. Finally, drizzle on the liquid remaining in the onion bowl. Eat straightaway.

  • Photo by David Loftus


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