Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cypriot Salad

My friend Nadia is from Cyprus and she makes a lovely salad. When I accidentally referred to the salad as “Greek”, I was quickly corrected; apparently the Greeks don't use herbs in their salads. While this recipe has Mediterranean provenance, it is my favorite salad and I've made it for Navroz (Persian New Year), Christmas and many other occasions.

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 large tomatoes, chopped or 1 pint plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
1 head of Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, stalks removed, finely chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup black Kalamata olives
1/2 pound feta, crumbled by hand into large pieces

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Mix the first six salad ingredients with salad tongs. Make sure ingredients are dry before mixing – you may want to blot with a cloth or paper towel.
2. Place vinaigrette ingredients in an empty glass bottle. Screw on lid and shake well to emulsify. Pour over salad and mix well.
3. Decorate salad with onions, olives and feta cheese before serving. These are ingredients that many people don’t like, so if they are on top you can serve your picky guests from the bottom of the salad.

Nadia claims that unpitted olives have more flavor so she favors them to pitted ones. She also suggests using Greek olive oil.

This salad is great served with fresh pita or Greek flatbread.


cheesewithaspoon said...

I have had the pleasure of eating this straight from Nadia's hands -- um, no, let's try again, that came out wrong and makes me sound like a horse -- I have had the pleasure of eating this salad made by Nadia herself? And it is indeed superb; it's become one of my favourite salads too. If she were here she would remind us all, in a very stern voice, to please mince the coriander leaves (cilantro) VERY FINELY, no shoddy whole-stalks-and-leaves business, please. But AKR is probably enough of a perfectionist himself not to need this reminder :-) .

Brett said...

I'll look forward to making this soon. It looks and sounds delicious.

Michele said...

My boyfriend is Cypriot and this sounds very much like what he makes, except that he'll chop parsley into it instead of the cilantro. I'll have to give it a try this way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe. I spent a summer in Cyprus many years ago, and loved the food there. It is Greek-inspired / Greek-related, but definitely its own cuisine. I can imagine this salad alongside a nice Cypriot wine...

Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind that when Cypriots hear "Greeks" it's like bulls seeing red... just for the (historic) record...