When you think of a Greek salad you probably imagine a mouth-watering bowl of chilled lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, slices of onion, tossed with a lively vinaigrette and garnished with kalamata olives, feta cheese and a few pepperoncini. Depending on the restaurant your Greek salad may include some other veggies and accoutrement, such as bell peppers or even the occasional pickled beet. The iconic Greek salad you see in America is delicious for a quick lunch or as a salad course. But those salads are nothing like the Greek salad they serve in Athens, Mykonos or any small village in the Greek Isles.
The Abundant Greek Garden
Greece, like most of the sun-drenched Mediterranean, offers a fair growing season for produce such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, herbs and other favorite garden treats. In fact, with two growing seasons, Greek gardeners typically have an abundance of fresh-from-the-garden veggies and fruit. What better way to make use of the luscious bounty than by doing what Greeks do best? Combine all the freshest ingredients into a delicious and authentic Horiatiki, the true and authentic Greek Salad.
Rustic, Simple and Devine
Greek salad in Greece is known as “Xoriatiki” or “Horiatiki”, which means “Village Salad”. It’s an unpretentious and rustic dish. A combination of a few quality ingredients, dressed simply and devoured eagerly in home kitchens and tavernas throughout this lovely country.
The traditional Greek salad is just one more example of how the Greeks make food magic happen; take the simplest of ingredients and turn them into something so delicious your mouth will water at the mention of Horiatiki.
This traditional salad is best served during the peak of growing seasons for the ingredients. Many of your stateside options include the addition of beets, potatoes, leafy greens and other vegetables. The Real Deal Horiatiki will always (and only) include tomatoes, cucumber, sweet green pepper, sliced red onion, green and/or Kalamata olives and chunks (never crumbles) of the ever-present creamy, briny and delicious feta cheese.
The dressing for Horiatiki is as simple as can be-a drizzle of good quality Greek olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of chopped oregano and some salt and pepper to your taste. Just before serving this mouth-watering salad sprinkle with a tiny bit more oregano.
How to Enjoy Your Horiatiki
Horiatiki is best served soon after it’s made, with a nice crusty bread alongside a small bottle of olive oil and vinegar, in the event your guests would like an extra drizzle or two. Serve Horiatiki as a salad course, alongside a casual table of Mezze (Greek appetizers), or with any Greek entree you choose.
The next time you find yourself in need of an authentic taste of the Greek Isles go to your nearest farmers’ market and pick up the ingredients for true Greek Salad-Horiatiki. Kali orexi! (Bon Appétit)
Want to have a Greek Salad in Greece?
Check out 'Greek Islands Fantasy'