This is a delicious and elegant salad. This salad has that classic Greek salad flavors with some added juiciness from the feta vinaigrette and added texture from the halloumi cheese.
If you are into food blogs, you probably already know about the amazing blog “Adventures in Cooking” by Eva Kasmos Flores. Eva recently traveled to Greece and while she was there, she posted and Snapchatted photos of Greek cats. This sparked a fond memory of when I spent time on the Greek island of Crete.
My mom and I traveled to Greece to meet her then boyfriend Hal after we had just traveled through Asia. The moment we arrived to the cute house in Crete where we planed to spend the week, a cat meandered into the house. She hopped on my bed and started crawling under the covers. I thought it was very cute. She left shortly after and came back an hour later with a newborn kitten in her mouth. She jumped upon the bed and dropped the kitten and then left again. Five hours had passed and still no sign of the mama cat. We were starting to panic at this point and were thinking oh my God, she left us this kitten and she isn’t coming back. My mom emptied one of her herbal tinctures and boiled some water to sterilize a dropper. She sucked up some milk with the dropper and feed the tiny kitten. Finally, the mama cat reappeared with yet another kitten. She did this two more times. Yup, we had a total of four baby kittens and one mama cat living with us during our stay in Crete. We fed the mama cat some fresh liver to give her some strength and also help her to feed the kittens more nutritious milk. The mama cat and baby kittens were a lot healthier by the time we left. We told the people that we rented the house from about the cats and they said they would continue to look after them. I still wonder whatever happened to them.
This salad pairs well with a Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir or some Greek Ouzo.
Greek Salad with Fried Halloumi Cheese Recipe:
- Feta Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 4 Oz. Halloumi Cheese – cut into tiny 1/4 inch cubes
- Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tomatoes – 8 slices thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cucumber – peeled – 24 slices thinly sliced
- 1/2 Red Onion – thinly sliced into 4 rings or to taste
- 10 Oz. Sheep Feta – 4 slices
- Fresh Oregano – to taste
Feta Vinaigrette – 1 Cup
- 1/4 Cup Sheep Feta Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Oregano Pita Chips – (optional)
- 2 or more Pita – cut into 12 wedges
- Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano – minced
Add garlic to a food processor or blender and mince. Measure and add all other ingredients and blend well.
Rinse the halloumi and cut it into tiny 1/4 inch cubes. Dry with paper towel.
Lightly drizzle some olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. I used a cast iron skillet. Some liquid will still come out while cooking, that is fine.
When the oil is hot, add the cubes of halloumi and cook for a few minutes to brown then flip the halloumi cubes with a spatula to brown on the other sides. They don’t need to be browned on all sides, but they should be a nice golden color. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roughly chop the oregano then cut each pita bread into quarters and each quarter into thirds to make 12 triangles. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with olive oil and salt and gently toss. Lay them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with oregano. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until crisp.
While the pita chips are baking, prep all the vegetables.
First lay a tomato slice on a platter, small plate or shallow bowl, then top with 3 slices of cucumber, a piece of feta, a few oregano leaves, a couple rings or more of red onion, 3 more slices of cucumber and a slice of tomato.
Drizzle with the vinaigrette, sprinkle the halloumi on top and around the stacks and sprinkle on some oregano.
If you like kalamata olives you can arrange some around the bottom of the stack.
I like to serve this with my Greek Style Lemon Feta Roasted Potatoes.
Tomatoes are great for the heart due to the extreme antioxidant support, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 that help the reduction of heart disease. They are also high in vitamins A, C, K and potassium. The choline in tomatoes helps assist the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. It also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Tomatoes are high in Lycopene the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell walls, which helps to release the lycopene and is better absorbed by the body with a little bit of fat like olive oil. The Zea-xanthin in them helps filtering harmful ultra-violet rays, which protect eyes from “age-related macular disease.” They are also a powerful blood purifier and great for skin and bone health.
Cucumber are a good source of A and B vitamins that gives you energy and the skin benefits from the really high content of vitamin C which ironically is primarily in the skin of the cucumber. They help eliminate toxins and keep you hydrated with the water content, which is 95% and the dietary fiber aids the digestion and helps with heartburn. They are known to dissolve kidney stones by lowering uric acid levels. There is research in connection with reducing the risk of several cancers due to 3 lignin’s it contains. The juice is beneficial to diabetics due to a hormone it contains that help the cells of the pancreas produce insulin. Cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure so its great for both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.
It is an excellent source of silica, magnesium, and potassium that help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues and is great for you skin, hair and nails.