This is the salad that people actually request that I make -- I don't get requests for anything else from anyone (except from my husband and son) -- but it's really simple. There's no need to emulsify the dressing. If you're in a real hurry, you can even just toss everything together then serve (or serve after a a bit of time in the fridge while you do other things).
In honor of the new spring season, I'm sharing the recipe with everyone on the world wide web so you can make it and wow your friends and family during get-togethers. I think it's a great idea to allow the flavors to blend in the fridge for a bit, and an even better idea to marinate the red onion in the dressing while you prepare the rest of the veggies. That way, the acidity mellows out any bitterness in the onion.
I usually get my ingredients from the local Trader Joe's, which carries organic Persian cucumbers and organic Roma tomatoes in one-pound packages. Very convenient. By the way, Persian cucumbers have thicker skin and are smaller and crispier than regular cucumbers. These characteristics make them the perfect candidate for the lovely, tart dressing.
Note: You can easily give this salad an antipasto flavor by adding pepperoncinis, salami, and/or pepperoni slices. Maybe also some grated Parmesan. I've done that before and it tastes delicious. If you're making this for a party that includes a mix of vegetarians and omnivores, you can leave the cured meats on the side for those guests who want it. You can also leave the cheese on the side for any vegan or dairy-intolerants guests.
- 1/2 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar [I add an extra splash since I like my dressings very tart]
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 lb (5-6 pieces) Persian cucumbers, sliced in 1/4" rounds
- 1 lb (5-6 pieces) Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 4 oz. Feta cheese [I use the Mediterranean feta from TJ's, extra herbs that way]
- 1 4-oz. can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
Whisk olive oil, vinegar, spices, and salt and pepper in a small bowl until blended. Slice onion and allow to marinate in the dressing while cutting the other vegetables. Add cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and cheese, and toss to coat evenly. Optional: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.