Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mediterranean Mashup Salad

I LOVE a good Greek salad...cucumbers and tomatoes and feta, oh my!  It is the ultimate summer salad for me and now that the good backyard tomatoes are out in full force, there is no reason to let this one wait.  

Since the carb loving girl in me can't resist a great panzanella salad, I was thrilled to see Ina Garten do a great panzanella/greek salad mashup.  Garlicky, feta-y and super crunchy, a better lunch cannot be had on a day when the temperatures rise above 80 degrees.  Throw a piece of Costco roasted chicken on the side (because who the hell wants to turn on the oven on a day like today?) and you have an enviable meal.  Have your significant other show off his/her mixology skills (like Jeff did today with cucumber soda and gin cocktails) and you have a meal that lifts right off the pages of Sunset Magazine.  

Get thee to a market for the ingredients and whip this one up!


For the salad:

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups sourdough bread cubes (1 inch)...I took a sourdough sliced loaf from Sprouts and went to town.
Kosher salt
1 cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick  (OR persian cucumber, not peeled and cut into chunks...much easier)
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved OR 4 or 5 bigger tomatoes, preferably from someone's backyard, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
4-6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2.5 oz. can sliced black olives, drained (husband doesn't dig these, so they didn't make it into ours)

For the vinaigrette:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil


To prepare the salad, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the heat.  You can do this while cutting up all the other veggies.

Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives, and bread cubes. Mix together lightly. You can set it aside for 30 minutes to let the flavors blend OR just scarf it down as is and it is still pretty darn good.