My Big Fat Greek Salads

By Tina Ujlaki Posted April 06, 2007

I recently spent a week island-hopping in Greece. (Sadly, the cruise ship I was on sank this morning off the coast of Santorini.) At every port and at tavernas across Athens, we ordered salad, and though there were some constants and some surprises, none of the salads resembled what passes for Greek salad here. To begin with, every salad was topped by a fat slab of salty, tangy feta, sometimes unadorned but more often randomly flecked with oregano; it was enough cheese for two or three, but I'm not complaining. There were always deliciously briny olives (with pits, of course), in brown, green and black. Every salad was largely comprised  of sweet and juicy tomatoes  (don't remember when I last had one of those!) and crisp, flavor-packed cukes in large chunks. Some had red onions; some had crisp or leafy lettuce; one, in Rhodes, was actually concealed beneath a thick layer of hardy greens that resembled baby broccoli rabe. If any of the salads was served dressed (a rarity), the dressing consisted of nothing more than a sprinking of olive oil added just to season the vegetables and mingle with their juices. Acid freaks that we are, we always asked for vinegar and every restaurant seemed more than happy to oblige.

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