Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zesty Greek Salad with "Winter" Greek Dressing

The following Greek salad is typical of the style served here in the US, rather than in Greece, with the main difference being the lettuce (it's an American addition that's not normally included in traditional Greek salads).

I call my Greek vinaigrette a "winter" dressing because it's made with dried rather than fresh herbs, so you can make it year-round. If you have fresh herbs available, you can generally substitute for dried herbs by doubling or tripling the quantity (e.g., 1 teaspoon of dried oregano becomes 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped oregano). Rosemary is tricky because of its intense flavor, especially when fresh, so unless you adore its unique flavor then I recommend no more than double the amount if using fresh.

By its very nature, this salad dressing is quite flexible and versatile so feel free to adjust amounts of or even omit certain herbs to suit your taste. In addition to serving it with green salads, my Greek dressing is excellent as a marinade for chicken, fish and other seafood, vegetables, and even chunks of beef or lamb for kabobs. You can also use it to season steamed or grilled vegetables, or drizzle over seared scallops, or toss with cooked pasta.

I did not list amounts for the salad components and you should "customize" the ingredients and quantities for the number of servings you need and for your taste preferences. The anchovies are optional and may be omitted, of course.

Make this salad a meal by topping with grilled or roast chicken or meat, grilled or broiled salmon or tuna steak, or grilled shrimp.

Ingredients for Winter Greek Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Greek oregano if available)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Shake vigorously in a tightly lidded jar OR use stick/immersion blender to mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using. This dressing tends to taste even better the next day because the flavors will continue to develop.

Ingredients for Salad
Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Chopped tomatoes
Thinly sliced cucumber
Sliced sweet or bell peppers
Thinly sliced red onion
Pepperoncini peppers (sliced or whole)
Mediterranean or Kalamata olives
Crumbled Feta cheese
Optional: Anchovy filets

Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Drizzle with some dressing to taste and toss to lightly coat everything. Top with peperoncini, olives, feta cheese & anchovies if desired.

Zestfully yours,

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