Greek Salad

dsc_1132RECIPE #279, DAY #479

THREE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Dressing,” from Danielle M. at AllRecipes.com*

TIMING: 10 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy, but you will need to shake the dressing each time before using

TOOLS: A Mason jar or empty dressing bottle, a plate and tongs

COOK TYPE: None

HEALTH: Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with whipping up a dressing of oil, vinegar, and spices and pouring it on a green salad and other raw veggies and pickles, although there is something about this dressing that tastes more artificial than fresh. A plate of veggies is almost always a good thing, though.

dsc_1131EXPERIENCE: In Michigan, one of the most frequented restaurants in any town is the Coney Island. It has nothing to do with New York Coney Islands, but is a historically fascinating amalgamation of chili dogs (with diner food), breakfast all day long, and Greek food. Therefore, on any given afternoon, you could find yourself slurping down a chili dog with root beer while your brother had eggs and toast and your sister ad spanikopita and a Greek salad. I kid you not.

There are some combinations that make more sense than others. For example, throwing that breakfast bacon on a diner sandwich and serve it up with that same Greek salad and even a lamb soup. What have you. Greek Salad is a fairly versatile, easily-camoflouged food, which I further discovered many years later…

In Moldova. Where all the rage in 2013 was–you guessed it–Greek salad. McDonad’s advertised the national food everywhere, and I snagged one one afternoon. And it looked and tasted exactly as I would expect from a McDonald’s Greek salad.

So as authentic or not “Greek salad” is, this is a standard, for better or for worse.

In the end, though, I had to fault this version’s dressing. While it did make me feel straight out of a hoagies and pizza joint, it turned out a little lackluster, like it was missing salt and sugar and was so astringent you couldn’t take all those powdered herbs. Speaking of powdered herbs–as crazy as this would seem–I would love to try this recipe with fresh garlic and herbs. But I am running over into the Notes area now.

NOTES: Modifications would include scaling back on vinegar as opposed to olive oil, and using fresh garlic and herbs and minced onion or shallot, as well as throwing in a pinch of sugar.

***

  1. In a Mason jar or empty dressing bottle, combine 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry oregano, 1 teaspoon dry basil, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion, and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Shake until combined and taste for seasonings.
  2. On a large platter, compose in layers: 1 bunch Romaine and butter lettuce, 1 sliced cucumber, 1/2 small sliced red/purple onion, 4 sliced radishes, 2 wedged tomatoes, 1 sliced green bell pepper, a half-dozen Pepperoncini, and 1 small jar Kalamatas or similar olives.
  3. Top with 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese and the dressing (which you have just re-shaken. Serve right away.

***

Serve with a deli sandwich, a pickle, and even a standard cafe soup (like ham and cheese with cream of vegetable. I just threw that one out there).

*Recipe changed from the original.

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