Greek Salad

This is a recipe I recommend to all California cuisine lovers. It is a light salad but has enough body so that it can fill you up. It’s also perfect to accompany hummus and warm pita bread, so it could be served as a complete meal, at least for vegetarians. 
The traditional Greek Salad, as Nicole and I know, when we visited the islands, does not come with lettuce. When we asked why, the Greeks said it is because they only serve what’s in season, and in the summer, lettuce is not in season. The salad is still amazing despite the lettuce void. The salad thrives on fresh, Mediterranean-climate fruits and vegetables (luckily California also  experiences a Mediterranean climate) which include tomatoes, olives, red onion, cucumbers, bell pepper, and of course lemon. The dressing is probably one of my favorite on any salad, and the easiest I know how to make. I hope you give this salad a try and experience a little taste of Greece with me. Opa!
Ingredients for dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons your best extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, or about 2 tablespoons plus a pinch fresh chopped oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Ingredients for salad:
  • 3 tomatoes (Roma)
  • 1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
  • 1 large cucumber or 2 small ones
  • Some  pitted green olives (optional because I don’t include them)
  • 1 red or green bell pepper (red preferred)
  • 3 oz  crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 bags romaine lettuce
1. For the dressing, get a small bowl and squeeze one lemon, making sure the seeds don’t get in there. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Chop the fresh oregano and add 2 tablespoons plus some, or simply add the 2 teaspoons dried oregano. Whisk mixture until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in refrigerator in you are not going to prepare salad right away.

2. Prepare the salad. Gather the cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, and red onion. Peel the cucumber lengthwise, spacing it out skinned and non-skinned. Chop the cucumber into small cubes.
3. Cut the tomatoes into the same small cubes, as you did with the cucumber.
4. Remove the stem from the bell pepper by either cutting the pepper in half, or cutting around the stem. Remove the seeds. Slice very small strips skin side on the cutting board and stabilizing the pepper.
5. Remove the skin from the ¼ red onion and slice very very small strips just like the bell pepper. Make sure they are very thin because large pieces of just raw onion become a very strong flavor. Gather your prepared ingredients in a bowl. Set aside and wrap for the refrigerator, if you are not planning to assemble and serve salad right away.

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6. Wash the romaine lettuce. Chop the romaine if you bought heads of lettuce instead of packaged lettuce (a fresher choice). 
7. If you did not buy crumbled feta, then crumble feta with your hands. Combine all the chopped ingredients and lettuce in a large salad bowl. If the salad is large, I would suggest to put only half the lettuce in the bowl, top with some chopped ingredients and feta, and then put the remaining lettuce and rest of ingredients, except for feta. This way it is easier to toss the ingredients. Then, remember to top with the feta for presentation. 
Too much feta? Never.

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