I cook a lot. I love to try new recipes, I like a challenge in the kitchen, and as a result, I rarely repeat myself. Honestly, this is mostly because I can hardly remember what I've made in the past. But there are a few recipes that I come back to again and again. When I saw the beautiful red romaine in my box last week, I knew it was time to make this salad, again.
My boyfriend (now husband of 26 years) and I traveled to Greece when we were 22. It was a very romantic trip, neither of us had ever been to Europe and we crisscrossed the entire continent with everything we had in unweildly backpacks. Greece was the midpoint of our 6-month journey and while there, we hopped from one island to the next staying as cheaply as possible for two months, even living in a cave on a beach in an effort to stretch our rapidly dwindling funds. The food on the islands was delicious and remarkably the same in every bistro. The classics - moussaka, pastisio, and spanakopita were always accompanied by a salad. There are exactly two kinds of salad in Greece, Horiatiki and Maroulosalata. Horiatiki, (chopped tomato, cucumber, feta, etc) is by far the more popular and the one that diners across then US bastardize. Let it be known that there is NO lettuce in a traditional Horiatiki. Maroulosalata is a romaine salad - lettuce providing the foundation of the dish. It makes use of typical greek ingredients, most of which I usually have in the fridge. The sweetness of romaine and dill is combined with the saltiness of feta and the sour note of a lemon vinaigrette. It goes with just about everything, and it's made even more special with our red romaine. When it comes to feta, I adore the creamy French variety, but for this salad you need feta that crumbles. If you happen to be bringing it to a barbecue this summer, dress and salt right before serving.
1 heart of romaine
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped or picked into small pieces
4 scallions, white and light green bit, chopped
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
4 tbsp oil oil
Slice the romaine into ribbons. Sprinkle with feta, then scallion, then fresh dill. Combine lemon juice with olive oil and salt in a small container and shake to emulsify. Dress the salad and sprinkle lemon zest and salt lightly across the top.