Just like a Caprese salad, a good Greek salad must be made only at the height of summer, when tomatoes are at their peak. To those tomatoes are added crisp and refreshing cucumbers, briny black olives, and just a bit of onion, here quickly pickled to tame its pungency and add pops of acidity to each slice. Then the ultimate topper: slabs of feta instead of crumbles, which allows the diner to eat just as much or as little of the salty cheese as they want in each bite. It’s that kind of detail that makes a Greek salad a true joy to eat, and not a chore to struggle through.
Why It Works
- Topping the salad with slabs of feta, instead of crumbling the cheese and mixing it in, allows diners to control just how much they get in each bite.
- Pitting the olives makes for easier eating at the table.
- A quick soak in red wine vinegar tames onion’s raw pungency and adds a tart pop of flavor to each thin slice.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time:25 minutes
- Total time:25 minutes
- 2 ounces (55g) red onion (1/4 medium 8-ounce onion), thinly sliced pole to pole
- 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
- 12 ounces (340g) mixed ripe tomatoes, cut into slices and chunks (about 2 heaping cups when cut up)
- 12 ounces cucumber (340g; about 2 small cucumbers), peeled (or partially peeled or unpeeled, if you want some of the bitter skin); quartered lengthwise; and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata or other briny black olives (about 1 1/2 ounces; 40g), see note
- 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher or sea salt
- 2 big pinches dried Greek or Mediterranean oregano, divided
- 4 ounces (115g) feta cheese, preferably cut into slabs
In a small bowl, combine onion with vinegar and let soak while you prepare the other ingredients, about 15 minutes. Drain onions, reserving vinegar.
In a salad bowl or large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, olive oil, and about 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the vinegar left over from quick-pickling onion. Season with salt and one large pinch of oregano, toss gently to combine, then adjust to taste with more salt and vinegar, if desired.
Lay slabs of feta on top, sprinkle with remaining pinch of oregano, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve, soaking up juices with bread.
Stainless steel mixing bowls
Pit-in olives are often better-quality than pre-pitted ones; we recommend buying pit-in olives and removing the pits yourself.