I used to eat a little bit of salad every once in a while, but then I met Geoff, my husband. He introduced me to the joy of eating large salads every day. And he has two salad rules he lives by: 1) A salad is more than just lettuce and dressing, and 2) Dressing does not come from a bottle. It took me a while to adapt to his rules, and I hate being bossed around in the kitchen, but I can honestly say my salads are much better now than they were before. And healthier too!
Greek salad is something I never knew I needed a recipe for, until I found this one in the July/Aug 2009 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. In classic Cook’s Illustrated fashion, just a few simple tricks elevate the flavors: pre-salting the cucumber and the tomatoes (to draw out moisture), using equal parts vinegar and oil, grating in fresh garlic, marinating the add-ins with the dressing and making it all “chopped.” Add a generous amount of feta cheese and Greek salad has never tasted so good.
- 1 cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced or finely grated
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 large romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- In a large sieve or colander set over a bowl, stir together cucumber, tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 15 minutes so the liquid gets drawn out.
- Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in the chickpeas, olives, onion, parsley and the cucumber and tomato mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes while the flavors meld together.
- Add the romaine and crumble in the feta cheese with your fingers. Toss everything together to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.