It’s a tough call to say who likes Greek Salad more, Jack or me. If I am at a diner for any meal other than breakfast, that’s what I am ordering (and hoping like hell whoever I am eating with is ordering something that comes with fries so I don’t have to look like a person with no self control whatsoever by ordering my own plate of fries on the side. Which I will do, in a pinch.)
Jack however will come home from school and make himself a Greek salad for a snack. If I have failed in my provider duty to lay in a full supply of feta, Greek olives, and romaine, he is not only disappointed, but vaguely perplexed. Like I ran out of milk.
Now it’s true that some folks think that truly classic Greek salad has no lettuce. And I like to make it that way sometimes. But more often than not I want lettuce, and Jack always wants lettuce (romaine hearts are the go-to for this salad and many, many other salads in our house.
There are a number of countries that make great feta cheese, so if you can buy it at a cheese counter, ask to try a bit from each place (if you have a nice cheesemonger he or she will be only too happy to let you sample, and also to discuss the differences between the types. Greek, Bulgarian, and French feta are the types you’ll most likely come across. – see which you like best.
You do not have to sprinkle the salad with some fresh oregano leaves, and I would not go out of your way to buy them if they aren’t already in the fridge or in the garden, unless you are making greek salad for a special occasion. It’s a lovely touch, but this is one of the only salads where I think dried herbs (in this case oregano) add that classic flavor to the dressing.
Classic Greek Salad
For the Dressing
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
For the Salad
- ½ seedless cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers
- 8 cups sliced romaine lettuce hearts
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ pound feta cheese cut into ⅓ -inch-thick slices
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves optional
- In a container combine the olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, mustard, salt, garlic, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Shake well to combine.
- If you are using a seedless cucumber (which of course are never fully seedless), slice the cucumber in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber. If you are using small person cucumbers, simply slice them.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, and cucumber. Shake the dressing once more to combine, and pour over about half of the dressing. Toss the salad. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Place the slices of feta on top, and drizzle over a bit more of the dressing. Sprinkle over a bit of dried oregano, and the fresh oregano leaves, if using.
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