This is a sophisticated presentation of a Greek salad based on chef Michel Richard’s concept of a Caesar salad rolled and presented in this manner. In this version, cucumbers and red onion are combined with labneh (Greek-style yogurt that has been strained into a ricotta-like consistency) to make a filling that gets rolled up with romaine leaves, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
To make labneh, place Greek-style yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer and let it drain at room temperature for 8 hours. Or it's available at larger grocery stores and at Mediterranean markets.
Make Ahead: The salad needs to be rolled 6 hours ahead of time, but will become soggy if prepared much more ahead of time than that.
- 1 English (seedless, unpeeled) cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, very dark green outer leaves removed (about 24 leaves, plus small inner leaves)
- 1/2 cup labneh
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/3 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted green or black greek olives
- 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Greek extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Combine the cucumbers, onion and salt in a small bowl. Transfer them to a strainer set over a bowl and let them drain for 30 minutes.
Trim the tops of the romaine heads so the leaves have a flat edge. Discard the cores. Separate the leaves, wash them and dry them in a salad spinner. Then lay the leaves flat on paper towels to blot them completely dry. (Damp leaves can make the salad soggy.)
Combine the labneh, 1 cup of feta and the garlic in a food processor; puree until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Transfer the cucumbers and onion to a towel and gently squeeze and excess moisture from them. Stir them into the labneh.
Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a small bowl.
Lay 36-inch lengths of plastic wrap on a clean work surface, overlapping them horizontally to form a 3-foot square. Starting 3 inches in from the edge of the plastic wrap closest to you, use the romaine leaves to form a rectangle that is 6 leaves wide and 4 leaves long, overlapping the leaves a bit. (Top the rectangle randomly with any small inner leaves left over.)
Spoon two parallel, horizontal rows of cucumber mixture onto the rectangle of romaine leaves. Then spread a row of tomatoes and olives below each row of cucumber mixture. (You should have 4 stripes of the mixture now.) Sprinkle the entire surface with oregano and pepper.
Starting at the side closest to you, roll the lettuce leaves over themselves and into a cylinder, like a jelly roll; you can use some of the plastic wrap as a guide to facilitate the rolling (as you would use when rolling a log of compound butter). Do not let the plastic wrap get caught in the lettuce roll. Once the lettuce rows have rolled over themselves into a completed cylinder, fold the piece of plastic wrap that's closest to you over it to cover the cylinder completely. Use your fingertips to tighten the lettuce roll so that most of the air trapped inside is pressed out. Finish rolling with the plastic wrap that's left on the counter. Twist the ends to tighten the roll as though you were wrapping a piece of toffee. Refrigerate the roll for 6 hours.
To serve, use a sharp knife to cut a total of 12 equal-size slices through the plastic wrap, forming salad "medallions," laying two on each individual plate. Use scissors to cut and remove the bands of plastic wrap.
Garnish each portion with a sprinkle of the remaining feta cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Adapted by food writer, former chef and cookbook author David Hagedorn from a recipe by chef Michel Richard.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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