What makes this salad difficult is finding the right ingredients. Your tomatoes need to be perfectly ripe, your olive oil needs to be the best and your black olives cannot come out of a can. Kalamatas are preferable, but I have gotten away with Nicoise. In Greece you can order either a tomato-cucumber salad (Anguro-Tomata) or Greek village salad (Horiatiki). The difference is that the latter has cheese and olives, but other than that they are the same.
Greek Village Salad a.k.a The Greek Salad
2-3 super ripe tomatoes cut into eights
½ an English or seedless cucumber halved, then sliced
½ small red onion sliced
4 oz Feta either crumbled or in a large slice on top (omit Feta to make this a vegan entree or side)
10-15 Kalamata olives, depending on your taste and the size of the olives.*
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup vinegar (I like a lot of vinegar which will add to the
dipping experience which is described below)
1 tsp Greek or Mexican oregano
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, black olives, salt, pepper, ½ of the oregano, olive oil and vinegar to a serving bowl and toss. Top with feta and add the remaining oregano on top.
*My grandmother also will include thinly slices light green peppers if they are available.
Serves four as a side or 2 as a main.
Serve with crusty bread, which you can dip in the juices that collect in the bottom of the bowl. This is not rude and considered proper form at the dinner table. In fact we frequently eat out of the same bowl and don’t bother to serve the salad on individual plates.
For a variety of bargain-priced, quality feta, olive oil, olives and oregano, go to Titan Foods in Astoria (http://www.titanfood.com/). When I lived in Miami I used to ship from them and even with the shipping included it was still cheaper than buying local. If you are feeling adventurous and want to try other Greek products, feel free to email me for other recommendations on what to buy.