Somehow here in the good ol’ USA, the Greek salad has morphed into a bowl of Romaine Lettuce with poor quality feta and if your lucky a few tomatoes and over-salted black olives. In Greece, there is no Romaine served with their Greek Salad (thank God!). Below is a truly authentic Greek Salad. Make it once and you’ll never go back to the USA pizza house variety Greek salad! Matt & I got this recipe a few years ago while in Greece from passionate Greek restaurant owner and chef on Santorini. Be sure to use the best and freshest ingredients you can find! A few tips… use Greek Oregano (there is a big difference), and liberally pour on the “Green Gold” … that’s olive oil of course!!
Rusks are an ancient food in Greece. They are the twice-baked bread, in various shapes. Years ago a lack of fuel (wood) made daily, or even weekly, baking almost extravagant in the Greek countryside. These rusks are slowly dehydrated during the second baking, which happens overnight in a wood-burning oven that is not fired up but still warm. They last forever. Happily for us, with the turn of a dial or push of a button, we can turn on our ovens and whip up a quick batch of Cretan Greek Salad with Barley Ruskin no time!
Paximadia is usually softened with water or olive oil before eating. They’re great with olives and cheese, but very versatile. See the recipe below if you would like to make your own. They are available on-line as well, but so much better homemade!
You can certainly omit the Rusk if desired!
4-5 large ripe tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 cucumber (approx. 10-12” long)
1 green bell pepper
¼# Greek feta
1 tablespoon Dried Greek Oregano
Sea Salt – preferably Pink Himalayan
½ + cup O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 black Greek Olives cut in half
1 tablespoon of unsalted capers
4-6 Barley Rusks (Paximadia) -
Method of Prep
Wash and dry the tomatoes, cucumbers and green pepper.
Peel the onion.
Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized irregularly shaped chunks, removing the core. Lightly salt.
Slice the cucumber into ¼” slices, cutting the slices in half (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice). Lightly salt.
Remove the stem and seeds from the green pepper and thinly slice. Lightly salt.
Thinly slice the onions into rings.
Combine all the above vegetables in a large bowl for mixing.
Add olives, sprinkle with oregano, olive oil, and toss.
Soak the barley ruck in water for 10 seconds and put it on the plate (family style or individual) that you will be serving the salad.
Drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil on each rusk that is used.
Spoon the vegetable mixture with the olive oil over the rusk.
Top with either a slice or crumbles of feta.
Sprinkle a little more oregano over the feta and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Cretan Greek Salad perfection on a plate!