I was inspired to make a Greek Salad for dinner tonight. Mostly because when I grabbed that beautiful loaf of crunchy & chewy bread from Sullivan Street Bakery, I immediately tried to think of ways to use it. And I recently saw an episode of Jamie Oliver's show "Jamie does" (where he travels to countries around the UK and explores food) - he was in Greece, and did his version of a Greek salad. Into the salad: chunks of bread. I've never done that before, but I knew I needed to try it.
Usually my Greek salad just has all the usual suspects: red onion, feta cheese, pepper, cucumber, kalamata olives, etc. And everything is chopped to roughly the same size. Now when I say 'chopped' I do not mean cute little bits where you can get some of everything on one little fork. Heck no, this is a mouthy and mouthful of a salad - big, honkin' chunks that you have to bite into and really savor. This time around, thanks to Jamie, I added not only the bread, but some fresh dill. And instead of red wine vinegar, I found some amazing Zinfandel Vinegar that was just a beautiful accent to the dish. So here's the way I made it tonight for dinner. Note, this easily could serve 3-4 people (I have 2 full dishes of this left in the fridge for lunch tomorrow...and let me tell you, it's going to be even BETTER after sitting overnight!).
4 thick slices of good, crunchy-crust bread, cut up into pieces
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 English cucumber (with the skin), chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup whole & pitted kalamata olives
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 small handful of fresh dill, torn apart by hand
Salt & pepper
Zinfandel Vinegar (red wine vinegar is perfect as well)
1 block (about a cup) of good Feta cheese, broken apart by hand
In a large bowl, toss in the bread chunks, peppers, cucumber, onion, olives, tomatoes, dill and some salt & pepper. Give it a toss to mix things together (honestly, best and easiest way to mix something like this is with your two clean hands - so get in there!). Olive oil and vinegar are completely to taste - so start by adding maybe 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar, mix, taste, and add more if you need. I tend to go a little heavy on the vinegar because it tastes so darn good. And remember, that bread is going to start soaking up the oil & vinegar, so don't be afraid of it. But don't over-dress - you don't want a pool of olive oil at the bottom of the bowl. Also taste to check balance of salt & pepper - add more if necessary.
Break feta up over top, mix it in gently so that it doesn't all mush up together. Grab big handfuls and plop them into the center of a plate. Sprinkle a little fresh dill and drizzle a touch of olive oil over the top to finish.