Village Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
This is a great dish to showcase Florida tomatoes that are now in season. Out of season, Koutsioukis uses Campari tomatoes. Greek feta can be found in the cheese counters of better supermarkets. Try to find one packaged in brine. If the cheese is not packed in brine and seems dry, refresh it by storing the cheese in salt water with a dash of milk, suggests Koutsioukis. And use a Greek olive oil such as the Cretan, which they sell at Mandolin.
4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
Sea salt, to taste
1 (7-ounce) slab Greek feta, crumbled or cubed
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
Cracked pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Combine all vegetables in a serving bowl. Add salt, remembering that you will be putting salty feta cheese on top. Arrange feta and olives on top of vegetables. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Present the salad to toss with oil and vinegar at the table. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from Ahmet Erkaya and Anastasia Koutsioukis of Mandolin Aegean Bistro.
Per serving: 318 calories (72 percent from fat), 26 g fat (9.6 g saturated, 13.5 g monounsaturated), 44 mg cholesterol, 9.3 g protein, 13.5 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g fiber, 687 mg sodium.