I’m going to guess that, in the heat of mid summer, spending hours cooking in the kitchen is most likely not that high on your priority list. So, this month, I have brought together some classic tastes of Greece for you in a quick, delicious and satisfying salad for hot summer days. For those of you who are bored with traditional greens and usual salad ingredients, this is a fun twist on Greek salad. It elevates the dish into something far more elegant as well as providing you with a hearty and healthy plate of food.
At Camosun Culinary Arts, we encourage students to explore regional specialties as a base from which to develop ‘West Coast’ versions—ones that tap into our bounty of delicious, local products. Essentially, cuisines around the globe use similar cooking techniques. It’s just the technologies that differ: for example, gas stoves versus an open fire, combination ovens instead of pit cooking or boiling in a pot versus a wooden box, using hot rocks. Irrespective of the cooking tools used, grilling, roasting or boiling foods to an appropriate degree of doneness happens in every culture. The more that our cooks of tomorrow understand those principles, the better they will be able to apply them in creative, exciting ways.
I have been to Greece a number of times. It’s is my favourite Mediterranean destination. Many islands make up the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea of the Eastern Mediterranean, each one offering innumerable choices for travel and exploration. With some of western civilization’s oldest and longest standing culinary traditions, Greek food is ultimately driven by the ingredients of the region.
Technically speaking, the cuisine is relatively simple. but the flavours of the concentrated sun-dried tomatoes and bold Kalamata olives, paired with creamy, salty feta cheese all pulled together by extra virgin olive oil, pungent cracked pepper and bright, fresh basil creates a wonderful harmony of tastes across the palate. Pair this dish with some fresh crusty bread and your favourite glass of wine. Create a little piece of Greco cuisine on our very own paradise island in the Pacific.
Find all of Steven’s contact info on the Camosun Culinary Arts portal listing page here on GoWestShore.
Sun-dried Tomato & Feta Salad with Cucumber Relish
Yield: 6 Servings
180g (1 1/3 cup) Sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 small Cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into small dice
15ml (1 tbsp) Red wine vinegar
5ml (1 tsp) Sugar
Pinch Black pepper, fresh cracked Pinch Sea salt, coarse
90g (6 tbsp) Black Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped finely
300g (10oz) Feta cheese, cut into ‘slabs’
6 leaves Basil, fresh
60ml (4tbsp) Extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine the cucumber, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together and leave to marinate until ready to serve, 30 minutes or longer.
2. Soak tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes then slice as thinly as possible, mix with a little of the olive oil and a pinch black pepper
3. Place a slice of feta on a plate and spoon the cucumber relish over the top.
4. Carefully place the sun-dried tomato ‘salad’ and scatter the chopped olives on top.
5. Finish with a fresh basil leaf, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of coarse sea salt with cracked black pepper