This is a Cretan salad similar to Italy's panzanella. A hard rusk made from barley flour is softened slightly with water, then piled with tomatoes, oregano, olives, olive oil and feta or mizithra cheese. Capers or caper berries are often added as well.
It's best to make this salad just before serving, although the bread could be toasted in advance.
- 6 slices ciabatta bread (may substitute barley rusk, available at Mediterranean markets)
- 2 pounds Campari tomatoes, peeled, hulled and cut into 1-inch pieces (see NOTE)
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained (may substitute caper berries, cut into quarters)
- 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions (white and light-green parts)
- 1/4 cup chopped dill
- 1/4 cup Greek olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast it until crisp, about 25 minutes. Place one slice on each serving plate and let cool.
Combine 3/4 cup of the tomatoes and the salt in a food processor; puree until smooth. Spoon the pureed tomato over each piece of toasted bread.
Combine the remaining tomatoes, capers, olives, vinegar, scallions, dill, oil and oregano in a mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture over each piece of toast. Top with feta cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Serve right away.
NOTE: To peel tomatoes, use a sharp knife to score a shallow "X" on the bottoms. Drop the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water; leave them there just long enough for the skins to start to separate and curl. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins.
From food writer, former chef and cookbook author David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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