I crave this salad all summer long. My first real deal, completely authentic Greek Salad experience occurred in 2009 when Gavin and I traveled to Crete. We stayed just outside Chania, a small town on the northern coast. Chania is stunningly beautiful. Hot sunshine, turquoise waters, rugged mountains, ancient ruins, a beautiful Venetian harbor and incredible food.
We stayed in a little self-catering apartment complex complete with an on site taverna. We ate in other tavernas in Old Town Chania, but the food in that little restaurant was just as good, if not better. We always started our meal with a small bowl of tzatziki and a few nibbles. This was followed by grilled chicken or lamb souvlaki, served with pita bread and a very delicious potato salad heavily dressed in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
What really stands out in my memory is the Greek Salad I had for lunch. It was unlike any Greek Salad I’ve ever eaten. The salad was full of locally grown, sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes and cucumbers. Thankfully, there was not a trace of cheap iceberg lettuce. The meaty, deep purple kalamata olives added a rich fruitiness. The salad was dressed with a local Cretan extra virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and a generous pinch of dried oregano. The salad was topped with a large slab of creamy, tangy feta cheese. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten and I’ve been obsessed with re-creating it ever since.