Saturday, June 19, 2010

Greek Salad

Since summer has enveloped us in her sweaty grasp, it's time to move on to cooler dishes. This salad is a good summer dish. Even though I had all the ingredients, it didn't seem quite as Greek as salad in Greek restaurants. Maybe it's in the vinegar. I bet Greeks have some special kind of vinegar, probably balsamic, or something like that. I have balsamic vinegar, but the recipe called for cider vinegar, which is not all that interesting.
While I was assembling the salad, my son came over, peered at the cookbook, and, stabbing at it with his finger, announced, "That's a lot of bacon." I explained to him that the bacon, which, did indeed seem like a lot, one pound, in fact, was part of another salad, called Canlis Salad. I just told my husband that one of the salads contained a pound of bacon, and he said, "Sounds good." So I guess we'll be having this soon, because it's definitely less effort than, say, jellied veal, another hot weather dish.
This recipe contains a peculiar instruction. It says, "Cut the top off the cucumber." Now, as far as I'm concerned, cucumbers don't have tops. You can cut them in half. But they really don't have tops. I cut off one end, salted it per instructions, and rubbed the severed top against the remainder. It's supposed to keep the cucumber from being bitter. Perhaps cucumbers were more bitter in the 60s. They are not noticeably bitter now. My son said the technique worked, since the cucumber wasn't bitter. I suspected that this was something like the anti bear invention that Homer Simpson invested in because it worked. "After all you don't see any bears around here, do you?" Homer inquired triumphantly. Anyhow, cut, sprinkle and rub, or not. I don't really think it makes a huge difference.

Greek Salad

2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons cider or wine vinegar
1 head escarole, chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cucumber
1 green peper, cored, seeded and diced
1 bunch radishes, sliced
1 cup Greek olives
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut into slivers
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. To prepare salad, place the onions and vinegar in a bowl. Springkle generously with salt. Squeeze vigorously with the hand. Let mixture set twenty to thrity minutes.
2. Place the escarole, onion mixture and tomatoes in a salad bowl.
3. Cut the top off the cucumber. Salt and rub cut surfaces together several minutes. This removes the bitterness.
4. Peel cucumber and score the outside beefore chopping. Add to the salad bowl. Add the green pepper, radishes, olives and feta cheese.
5. To prepare dressing, shake together in a jar the vinegar, mustard and sugar. Add the oil, sald and pepper. Shake again. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

Makes ten smallish servings, or enough for four or five as a main course.

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