Recipe by Chef Cristian Pietoso
It was the summer of 2010, August to be exact, my wife Amanda and I decided to go to Greece for our honeymoon (I had always wanted to go there). We left Cincinnati on a beautiful day and we finally arrived in Athens on an even more beautiful day. We spent a couple of days there and finally we loaded our few items ( pre kids, now it takes an army to carry all the equipment ) and jumped on a boat to Santorini, a tiny, spectacular island in the Greek archipelago.
The boat ride was ” endless”, it actually took almost as long as the flight from home to Greece…Even though it was slow it was nice, it was sunny, breezy and occasional splashes of salty water made the boat trip less of a burden. We arrived at destination and we rented a car (cash, everything in Greece is dealt cash…). It was a tiny tiny Hyundai with no AC, and it was scorching hot, on top of it my wife was pregnant with our first daughter Ilaria.
We booked the first night on a family ran hotel in the inland, a grandma’s cooked meal, a little pool right next to the dining room was perfect for me.
Then we slept in the room for the first night and that changed everything (at least for my pregnant wife), a bed on the mezzanine with a 80 degree angle latter that was 2 feet wide was not enough for her. The next morning we changed hotel to another one very close to it but a bit higher up the hill.
It was called Maison des Lys.
There we experienced the true Greek salad the way the Greek Gods have meant it to be, OMG. From then on we almost exclusively ate Greek salad with occasional fresh, I mean fresh seafood treats, like octopus or branzino. I knew that upon return to the restaurant I HAD to share that salad to our guest, so I went to my friend Gus Miller (owner of Batsakes Hat Shop right around my restaurant ), a wonderful cheerful Greek man that had given me some true greek oregano in the past, and again he gave me more. I know you might say “it’s an Italian restaurant with a Greek salad on the menu”, but what the hell, it’s awesome and I wanted to share it.
The flavors, with the exclusion of the feta cheese are true to the Greeks as they are to the Italians, so we decided to serve it and we are since 2010.
We only serve in the summer when tomatoes are at best, so we hope you will enjoy it .
Here is the recipe for four people:
2 pints of red and yellow tomatoes, sweet and ripe
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
4 oz of kalamata olives (we use Gaeta)
1 Seedless cucumber
2 oz of great quality extra virgin olive oil
2 oz of red wine vinegar
A chunk of feta (up to you how much)
A sprinkle of Greek dry oregano
And lots of bread to go with it .
Just cut everything to the size of your liking except the olives, and drizzle with the oil and vinegar.
Enjoy it! Bravo!