What comes to mind when you think Greek salad? I’m sure some variation of the classic “Village Salad” — that super-satisfying mix of tomato, cucumber, onion, olives and feta, dressed with olive oil and a touch of oregano. It’s traditional. And it’s almost everywhere.
In Greek, it’s called “Horiatiki Salata.” But you proably knew that. The ubiquitous salad’s listed that way on more than a few menus.
What you might not know is that there’s another Greek salad. One that’s not as familiar to most non-Greeks, even though it’s really delicious and more refined than the Horiatiki. I happen to love it and serve this elegant little salad with most of my Greek dinners.
And even though I make it year round, spring is the customary time for what is called “Manoulo” salata. The name means romaine — and that’s what this salad is all about. Well, almost.
To very thinly-sliced romaine, you add lots of chopped dill, some chopped scallions, then lightly dress the greens with lemon juice or red wine vinegar and your best olive oil. When I make the salad, I leave out the scallions and add a good handfull of crumbled feta.
It’s light, tangy and just the thing to serve with anything Greek! Especially, grilled octopus, like I did the other night. It’s also a natural with grilled swordfish, chicken, or butterflied leg of lamb. And with another favorite — my grandmother’s Greek meatballs.
Here’s what you’ll need to make enough for four:
2 heads romaine, thinly-sliced
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup olive oil
5 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Ground fresh black pepper to taste
To me this salad is all about personal taste, so adjust the amounts as desired. I happen to like lots of dill, you might want less. Start by adding 1/4 cup and see what you think. Then taste. Taste. Taste.
Some final thoughts — on the feta. Make sure it’s from Greece. You want to find tart-tasting cheese made, in the traditional manner, from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.