What is the last time you had Greek salad? Personally, I have forgotten about it for a while, probably in an unconscious attempt to block out the memories of many bad Greek salads I was served in the 90's. There was always too much lettuce, well, it was mainly lettuce, cleverly covered up with a layer of diced tomatoes and cucumbers, bad olives and poor quality feta. The original version does not include lettuce and it's beauty comes from simplicity and great quality of ingredients. Use ripe heirloom tomatoes, good olives and authentic Greek feta and you no longer need to top everything with vinaigrette. The only adjustment I made was adding crushed chili instead or oregano.
Recipe: Greek salad
a handful of good, ripe tomatoes, you can use different types
1/2 of cucumber
a handful of Greek olives
1/3 of red onion
thick slice of Greek feta
1/2 tsp. of crushed chillies
Cut tomatoes into slices or quarters, depending on their sizes. Slice cucumber and onion.
Arrange all the ingredients on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili.
You can serve it as a meal with grilled pita or as a side salad.
Cucamelons, also known as mouse melons, Mexican miniature watermelons or Mexican sour cucumbers, look like tiny watermalons (and you know that I love all things tiny, see: baby eggplants) and taste like cucumbers with a hint of lime. In spite of appearances, they have not been created by a crazy gardener - cucamelons are native to Mexico and Central America. Oh, and they are also delicious!
Rotolo di pasta - pasta roll, in my case cut into small pieces and baked with tangy tomato sauce. Hearty casseroles make you think of chilly autumn evenings, but the filling of ewe feta with freshly chopped cilantro and mint definitely tastes like summer.
I used Scotch bonnet pepper to make the sauce. It's fairly hot - according to Scoville scale, which compares the capsaicin concentration in chili peppers, it's on a par with habanero. Those who can sense more than just a fire in their moth claim that its taste is very deep and distinctive. This time I didn't want a very pungent and overpowering sauce, so instead of chopping the pepper, I added the whole thing to the simmering sauce. It resulted in nice, slightly smoky flavour. Give it a try!
Recipe: Herby feta pasta rotolo
Serves: 2 rather hungry people
5 fresh lasagne sheets
one tbsp. of olive oil
ground parmesan, to taste
Place the filling on lasagne sheets, roll and cut into small pieces.
You might need to slightly cook lasagne sheets first, depending on how soft they are.
Spread the sauce on the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Top with pasta rolls.
Bake at 180C for about 35-40 minutes.
Before serving, top with grated parmesan.
400 g of ewe feta
one tbsp. of crème fraîche
2 tbsp. of chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. of chopped mint
Combine all the ingredients of the filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Recipe: Tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
one small onion, diced
Scotch bonnet pepper, whole
5 large tomatoes - scalded, peeled and diced
one tsp. of sugar
a pinch of sea salt
one tbsp. of olive oil
In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden.
Add tomatoes and whole Scotch bonnet pepper, season with sugar, salt.
Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.