Greek bread salad
YES! That’s right, a Turkish Greek salad, with beautiful ingredients entirely sourced from the local (and amazing) Turkish supermarket. This recipe really illustrates how I’m feeling about food at the moment – classic, fresh and uncomplicated, with great ingredients that together come to form dishes inspired by places south/east of the mediterranean.
The swollen, purple olives (buy them with stones, for the flavour benefits and remove them yourself – well it’s not like you’re doing much cooking with this recipe!), the tiny foreign-looking cucumbers in odd shapes and sizes, the ripest tomatoes you can get, and – importantly – a fantastic pide loaf.
Together, these ingredients simply combine to form what is commonly recognised as a Greek salad, an ensemble that is oh-so familiar and ever-present, despite the fact its fallen waaaay off the food trend track. I’m pretty sure we can blame the likes of Tesco, Pret and other supermarkets/chain lunch cafes/coffee shops for providing rubbish sub-standard versions of this dish, which only needs good quality ingredients to shine. Seriously, how hard can it be to f**k this up!?
I’ve shunned the traditional green pepper (you get all the green freshness you could ask for from the cucumbers and all the sweetness you need from the tomatoes) for the much more exciting hunks of fried leftover bread – in this case, a beautiful Turkish pide. I really recommend borrowing an idea from the Italian panzanella or middle Eastern fattoush and adding a little crispy bread to your salad – it adds bulk, a welcome dose of carb and a satisfying crunch.
You will need:
150g good quality whole Greek or Turkish olives
2 large ripe juicy tomatoes, sliced and chopped
6 small cherry tomatoes, halved
2 very small Turkish cucumbers, halved and sliced
230g Greek feta
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
Red or white wine vinegar
70g stale pide (or other white loaf), torn into rough chunks
1 tbspn dried oregano
1/2 tbspn fresh oregano leaves
1 – Put your onion slices into a bowl and cover with vinegar; set aside to marinate for 10 minutes or so
2 – Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan and when hot, tip in the bread chunks; cook on a medium-high heat for around 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp
3 – Move onto your olives; use your hands to remove the pits and break the flesh into 2 or 3 pieces; it’s meant to be rustic!
4 – Mix your chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and pitted olives in a serving bowl and mix in a little seasoning, the dried oregano and then the cooled bread chunks
5 – Drain the onions and tip them into the bowl too, followed by a generous few glugs of olive oil; mix well
6 – Now crumble the feta over the top of the salad, followed by the oregano leaves and extra seasoning if desired
7 – Serve immediately!