God help you if you buy pre-crumbled grocery store feta
August 19, 2015 3:39 PM   Subscribe

“If you wanted to dismiss something, you would say ‘this is horiatiki,’ to mean, this is not good,” says Kremezi. “So for a salad to succeed with that name, it must have been a great salad!” Greek The Salad - Dan Nosowitz on authenticity, history, Greek salad, and the very idea of"American Food" (plus two recipes)
posted by The Whelk (93 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
I AM VERY HUNGRY
posted by poffin boffin at 3:49 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Good feta cheese—Greek, or Bulgarian, made of sheep’s milk, packed in brine. God help you if you buy pre-crumbled grocery store feta.

Man, I love Bulgarian feta.

I've never bought pre-crumbled feta - but not out of some misguided claim to "authenticity." It's just for the simple fact it deprives me of the pleasure of eating a giant slab of feta while standing in front of the fridge.

Don't judge.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:53 PM on August 19, 2015 [34 favorites]


yes, feta should be served in a block, like tofu. You can arrange a salad around it if you want but lets not lie about what we're here for.
posted by The Whelk at 3:55 PM on August 19, 2015 [31 favorites]


If you buy food a given way and like it, it's authentic enough. It's authentic for you. Things change, even food.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Everything goes betta with feta!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Feta from the Greek store, briny and smooth...

::drool::
posted by Splunge at 4:04 PM on August 19, 2015


Greek salads are the best. You cannot beat a great Greek salad, even if the American version is something of a bastardized version; I didn't know about 'horiatiki'!

"A big slab of feta cheese (sheep’s milk only, or if you must, a tiny bit of goat’s milk, says Kremezi), covered in olive oil and dried oregano, was its own dish. Olives, too, were separate. Horiatiki takes all of those disparate meze dishes and combines them into one big salad."

Mmmmm.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:06 PM on August 19, 2015


Yes, I love a good block of feta. But as a person with a full schedule and a limited store of energy sometimes, I am glad to wake up in the morning and quickly make my portable lunch salads with the pre-crumbled stuff.
posted by angeline at 4:08 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been working on losing weight for the last six weeks or so by limiting portions, nearly eliminating bread, and eating more salads. I've learned to make a fantastic Greek salad (like the article says, no olives -- they're pointless with feta). A Greek salad with a fillet of salmon on top is just about the best thing ever.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:08 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Feta is also an important part of a strawberry/balsamic/arugula/walnut salad that you can say is a healthy salad despite the fact that it tastes like candy.
posted by The Whelk at 4:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


“In Greece we never add vinegar. Why do people add vinegar? Tomato is quite sour,” Kremezi says. “Why do they add vinegar, balsamic vinegar, these things? It’s beyond me.” She finds, as well, that olives, being very salty, throw off the balance of the salad. “Feta is already quite salty,” she says. She’s right; I never thought about it, seeing the Greek salad mostly as a salty and acidic kick in the teeth to balance out some greasy pizza, but it is not a particularly well-balanced salad. Kremezi’s version, though, is.

No, author! You are the one who is right! You want a bite of this flavour, a bite of that flavour, a sip of another. The whole meal should be balanced, not each individual item. If the salad is the whole meal, sure, balance the salad. But if it's part of something bigger, you might as well just throw the whole meal in a Vitamix if that's how you're gonna be.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Greek salad instinctively bought. Awaiting further programming.
posted by mrdaneri at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


When someone first told me about this this a week or two ago my immediate protest was "but there's totally an authentic Greek salad; it's called horiatiki salata and my Greek mom makes it all the time!" and I'm really pleased at how quickly the article answered my protests. The late 60's/early 70's were when Mom actually lived in Greece, so of course it would have been trendy and something they would have eaten a lot of! But yes, as a Greek-American, 'Greek salad' means horiatiki salata to me and always has. The recipe in the article is my mom's salad (though she'll add fresh basil because she grows it, and olives because why not), and I had never heard of "Greek dressing" until I was in college.
posted by capricorn at 4:16 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


they used to have these jars of tiny feta cubes in seasoned oil at the SYP and we would get them all the time and finish the cheese before we even got to the checkout line and then fight over who got to have the remaining oil on fresh hot barra gallega in the car ride home

im so hungry that i may be a danger to society omg
posted by poffin boffin at 4:18 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


It’s also found year-round, though to Kremezi, ordering a horiatiki off-season is a clear giveaway that a diner doesn’t know what he or she is doing. “Horiatiki is a summer salad,” she says. “Now, of course, they make it all year round, but if people know their food, they don’t order horiatiki in the winter. In the winter we have the greens salad, mixed greens.”

This reminds me of the look of disgust I got in Italy when I asked why no one had eggplant parmagiana on the menu. I'd been on the lookout in every restaurant. The waitress sneered at me and said "Eggplant is a winter food." She could not have been more disgusted by me. I'm sure having eggplant parm in winter is great for people who live in Italy, but I was there in July and who knows if/when I'll ever go back, so it would have been nice if I could have eaten my favourite Italian food. I'm sure people visiting Greece in the summer feel the same way.

This was just one of the many experiences that convinced me that people in Italy don't like money, cause if they liked money, they could sell eggplant parm to the summer tourists and clean up.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2015


(Two minutes after submitting my comment I remember that Mom & family lived in Greece in the late fifties, but they did spend a fairly touristy summer in Greece after her late-sixties high school graduation, so there you have it.)
posted by capricorn at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2015


PSA: the feta-stuffed mammoth green olives from Costco can fulfill that "Greek salad" urge in a pinch. Just so's you know.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


we never add vinegar. Why do people add vinegar? Tomato is quite sour

I can answer this one for you: in North America our tomatoes are largely shit. In the Mediterranean this may not be the case.
posted by Hoopo at 4:21 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Greek immigrants disproportionately ran both; most New York City diners, for example, are owned by people of Greek descent. Greek immigrants also found notable success in the pizza world. The inventor of Hawaiian pizza is a Greek guy who immigrated to Ontario, and the owner of the famous Mystic Pizza hails from Greece as well.

Hah...I wonder if Greeks beat Italians on this because they're happy to sell people whatever they'll buy while Italians were lecturing customers about how real pizza doesn't have pineapple.

Ok, I'm a little bitter that I didn't get to eat eggplant parm in Italy.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:26 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't know about the "salty kick in the teeth is unbalanced" side of this. I used to live with a Greek woman who showed me how to make horiatiki. She always salted the chopped vegetables, so that they would juice and create their own sort of dressing. She'd add olive oil and pepper to that, toss it all together with some olives, and serve it with a slice of feta on top. Over everything she would sprinkle some oregano.

It's a pretty salty salad this way, but it's very, very good - the mildly salty brine that results brings out a great flavor in the vegetables. It's more than authentic enough in spirit to satisfy me, and it's certainly delicious.
posted by teponaztli at 4:27 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Greek salad instinctively bought. Awaiting further programming.

USE YOUR LIFE SAVINGS TO BUY TONS OF FETA THEN GIVE IT ALL TO GREG_ACE.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


a Lebanese salad called fattoush

best salad that ever was or ever will be
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


11.3 T/Feta Futures/Arrives Seattle 10/1/2015

FOB is yours, Greg_Ace
posted by mrdaneri at 4:34 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised eggplant Parmesan is a winter dish in Italy- eggplant is in season from July to October. I would think that would be the season for eggplant Parmesan.
posted by Anne Neville at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2015


best salad that ever was or ever will be

A salad fpp a day - that's all I ask!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:37 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


SALAD SEPTEMBER.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think it was Chase Jarvis who said "the best Greek salad is the one that's with you."
posted by jason_steakums at 4:39 PM on August 19, 2015


11.3 T/Feta Futures/Arrives Seattle 10/1/2015
FOB is yours, Greg_Ace


Thank you for indulging my fetaish.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:40 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Feta and watermelon. Cube your watermelon and let it sit and drain in a colander for an hour or two or you end up with a watery salad.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know, it is testimony to the massiveness of th dish of sweet potato and onion hash that I just ate that I read this article and am not hungry at all.

My parents love Greek food and American variants, good and bad. Partly because Greek food was the trendy cultured person food when they were young adults, partly because we're from the Chicago area where you can get some really good food and partly because my grandfather was buddies with a bunch of Greek restauranteurs. I have eaten both variants of Greek salad in all qualities. The other thing is that when you retire out to podunk - well, not really podunk, it's quite nice - but let's say you retire out to a place where there's not a lot of cheese variety....well then, if you're my parents you learn to appreciate the pre-crumbled stuff because crumbled feta is better than no goddamn feta at all.
posted by Frowner at 4:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


if you grill the watermelon first then the cheese gets a little melty and then you make crazed dinosaur noises whilst devouring it
posted by poffin boffin at 4:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


OH this is a good thread to ask my stupid not really askme worthy salad question in i bet

oKAY what do you do when you have too much salad dressing on your salad but there is no more naked salad and/or salad ingredients to add that will balance it out? my solution right now is just to lay on the floor and cry about it but i feel certain that there is a better way.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:51 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Look to your left, then your right. All clear? Great. Raise the plate or bowl to your lips and delicately sip at the dressing. Speak of this to nobody.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:53 PM on August 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


I love feta and olive oil but can't bear olives DON'T JUDGE ME so this salad sounds perfect and I shall subscribe to its newsletter.
posted by suelac at 4:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


what do you do when you have too much salad dressing on your salad

Throw it in a colander and let it drain? Drain it into another bowl so you don't lose the dressing entirely. Just in case, you know, a neighbor stops by with a huge dry salad and they need your help, or something.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Feta and watermelon. Cube your watermelon and let it sit and drain in a colander for an hour or two or you end up with a watery salad.

Add mint, pistachios, some Parmesan flakes and a balsamic syrup, trust me on this.
posted by The Whelk at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Throw it in a colander and let it drain?
And then you throw chunks of meat in there and let that sit for a day.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:59 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


last time i just dumped it out on some paper towels and let it sit for like 5 minutes but i guess a colander would be better.

now i have to buy a colander.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


you oven-toast some stale bread and add it to your overdressed salad, approximating the glorious fattoush or panzanella referenced in the article
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:04 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's all 'fattoush, fattoush, fattoush' with you, isn't it?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:11 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can we talk about saganaki? I don't care that it's gimmicky- I love it so.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:13 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I went out and got Black Russian bread for a duck and grilled cheese sandwich so I could use the remains to make the salad described in the article.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


now i have to buy a colander.

I take it you're not much of a pasta eater...
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:19 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The other problem with pre-crumbled supermarket feta is that you get only 6oz for the same price as the 8oz block. Even for mediocre supermarket feta, you might as well get your money's worth!
posted by SansPoint at 5:21 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I only eat cheese on pizza and eggplant parm (apparently both greek dishes), but this post is making me want to try feta.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:24 PM on August 19, 2015


I'm sure having eggplant parm in winter is great for people who live in Italy, but I was there in July and who knows if/when I'll ever go back, so it would have been nice if I could have eaten my favourite Italian food. I'm sure people visiting Greece in the summer feel the same way.

I'm sorry that the waitress sneered at you, that was rude. There is a good reason for not finding eggplant parmigiana in the summer: we Italians cook with fresh local ingredients, almost nothing fresh is imported, especially from a different hemisphere. You will not find a Caprese in the winter but the Melanzane alla Parmigiana should actually be available in late summer or early fall.
posted by francesca too at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can't believe that I, as someone who loves panzanella and bread salads in all their glorious forms and loves Greek salad, never thought to combine the two! Luckily, I have tomatoes, cukes, and oregano in the garden, I'm about to start making a loaf of bread, and have good olive oil, feta, and olives in the kitchen. So dinner time tomorrow me is thankful.
posted by ssg at 5:26 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can we talk about saganaki? I don't care that it's gimmicky- I love it so.

I don't know about gimmicky - it won't win any nutritional awards any time soon, but Greek summer isn't summer unless you've ordered saganaki at least once (yesterday's was very good - salty without being overbearing and a few drops of lemon unleashed its taste). Hello from an Aegean island (at 3:30, yawn)!
posted by ersatz at 5:33 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ok, I'm a little bitter that I didn't get to eat eggplant parm in Italy.
Well, you should have got yourself invited to someone’s home! It is more of a homemade dish than a restaurant dish. Or, depends, what kind of restaurant, family style or fancier level, of course. I’ve no idea why the waitress said it was a winter dish, eggplants are not even in season in winter, only in summer and until autumn. And it can be a bit too hot in July to eat that, not many people would think of ordering it in July. Maybe that’s what she meant... I do hope she didn’t literally sneer at you though.

And no, sorry, but pineapple on a pizza, no. I know Italians go on lecturing too much about food but come on. If you do that to pizza, at least stop calling it pizza. You can’t have it all your way! Tsk! down with culinary colonialism!



Seriously though, the article is wrong, there IS such a thing as authentic food. Greek salad may not be the best example to disprove that.
posted by bitteschoen at 5:36 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


" 'In Greece we never add vinegar. Why do people add vinegar? Tomato is quite sour,' Kremezi says. 'Why do they add vinegar, balsamic vinegar, these things? It’s beyond me.' She finds, as well, that olives, being very salty, throw off the balance of the salad. 'Feta is already quite salty,' she says."

The reason for the vinegar, olives, tons of feta, etc., is that most Americans (myself included) are totally and hopelessly addicted to salt.
posted by blucevalo at 5:53 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we talk about saganaki?

Yes.

Opa!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:02 PM on August 19, 2015


And no, sorry, but pineapple on a pizza, no.

*shrug*

I like pineapple on pizza, authenticity be damned. It's the ham that makes "Hawaiian" pizza disgusting.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Too much dressing, not enough ingredients?

Put everything in a collander or huge sieve, and drain that excess dressing by shaking it out.

The end
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2015


Pineapple on pizza is fine if the ham is replaced with a little bit of crisp bacon, the salt of the bacon, the sweet of the pineapple, and the tang of the tomato really blend wonderfully together.

I am not a crazy person.
posted by The Whelk at 6:06 PM on August 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wouldn't a properly "Hawaiian" pizza involve Spam in some capacity?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:09 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not a crazy person.

If you have to explicitly state so, well....
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:09 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, Whelk, I've had the bacon, and it's okay, but pepperoni goes best with pineapple. Then you have salt and sweet and tang and spice.
posted by Night_owl at 6:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pepperoni is what happens to unloved meat
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Pepperoni is what happens to unloved meat

Your comment displayed all weird for me, but I fixed it and I agree completely.
posted by teponaztli at 6:29 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I cannot find good Greek food in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; well maybe it exists, but everyone tells me about gyro places when I ask and yes, I like gyros, but I want a full Greek meal place. People I've talked to are mostly not aware that it can be a cuisine.

All recommendations welcome, otherwise I might buy just a block of feta and gnaw it in desperation. Which can get expensive.
posted by emjaybee at 6:29 PM on August 19, 2015


Emjaybee, I don't know of one that's a straight up Greek place. There's a few "Mediterranean" places that serve gyros, avgolemono, and spanakopita though.
posted by angeline at 6:42 PM on August 19, 2015


Horiatiki! Oh I have eaten a ferry load of it and I judge my gardening abilities on whether or not I have all the ingredients for fresh xoriatiki in August.

My favorite thing about ordering it in Greece is that even the most corporate of fast food joints makes each salad to order. That means they cut the vegetables fresh for each salad. Love it.

My favorite little cafeteria added a splash of vinegar and water before salting the vegetables. I don't know why. But I loved it.

I wish I could find sheep milk feta around.
posted by annathea at 6:43 PM on August 19, 2015


also, guys, after you eat all these watermelon and feta salads....


you cut up the rinds and pickle them, wait a week or two, then put the shaved pickle watermelon rinds on a grilled blackened chicken sandwich with a spicy mayo or such, maybe even a thickened ranch with cucumber. Throw in some Boston lettuce or thai basil for greens

Trust me.
posted by The Whelk at 6:44 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


> Pineapple on pizza is fine if the ham is replaced with a little bit of crisp bacon, the salt of the bacon, the sweet of the pineapple, and the tang of the tomato really blend wonderfully together.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I will say it again now. A friend and (former) colleague & business partner introduced me to an amazing combination of pizza toppings: pineapple, anchovies, jalapeños. That is a delightful blend of sweet, salty, tangy, spicy.

Also, if you're anything like us, you make up ridiculous portmanteaus for this combination. Pinanchopeño. Anchojalapapple!
posted by cardioid at 6:59 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was just about to suggest my fave combo of ham, pineapple, and jalapenos, I'll have to try the pinanchpeno, cardiod.
posted by 3urypteris at 7:18 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Whelk, please tell me you have some kind of a food or recipe blog, because I wish to subscribe to that blog....
posted by Pink Frost at 7:24 PM on August 19, 2015


pineapple, anchovies, jalapeños.

I usually don't like pineapple on pizza but this combination gave me enough pause to think about it.... and I feel like if the pineapple was in smaller pieces than usual it would be delightful.

Pinanchopeño. Anchojalapapple

This played a non-zero part in my consideration.
posted by flaterik at 7:29 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


In Greece we never add vinegar. Why do people add vinegar? Tomato is quite sour,

I am sorry, but this is wrong. Get some nice vinegar and figure out how much you should be using. You are missing all the goodness of fresh bread dipped into the dressing and leftover bits of onion after everything else is gone.

If anybody wants to discuss this further, I am currently boarding a flight to New York.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:32 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


theoretically juicy tomatoes

Spot on. This is why I hem and haw about ordering previously untried Greek salads. I once waitressed in a place that was fanatical about ingredients, and only offered a Greek salad when tomatoes were in season and good enough to be eaten this way, almost unadorned.

the owner of the famous Mystic Pizza hails from Greece as well

This really isn't something to be proud of.
posted by Miko at 7:55 PM on August 19, 2015


The Whelk, please tell me you have some kind of a food or recipe blog

the recipes are also people
posted by poffin boffin at 7:57 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


My favorite accompaniment to my version of this salad is a whole pan of very well roasted fingerling potato wedges absolutely soaked in lemon juice (like 6 lemons worth per pan at least), olive oil, salt (yes I AM a salt addict), and either a metric ton of pressed garlic or a metric ton of oregano.

(but my true love is Russian black bread)
posted by sallybrown at 7:59 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Funny, my favorite way to make an (American) Greek salad is like the picture in the article (marinate a slab of feta in oil and herbs, drop it on a plate of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions), and not like the actual recipe he gives.

I'm disappointed that the author missed out mentioning Detroit coneys, or the Greek Town pizzas with gyro meat, spinach, and feta.
posted by kanewai at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2015


I find it interesting that after a paragraph talking about how slow Greece was to adopt new world ingredients the author describes an "ancient" greek salad which contains a pepper.
posted by 256 at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Totally going to try that recipe now that tomatoes are somewhat decent, my oregano is overflowing on the porch and the Bulgarian feta down the street is awesome. Where the hell do I get purslane, though?
Unfortunately, that watermelon/feta salad seemed to be everywhere around here a few years ago and I got kind of sick of it. It's like this decade's Cedar-Plank Salmon.
posted by chococat at 8:26 PM on August 19, 2015


I love you all and want to try your salads.
posted by device55 at 9:36 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, that watermelon/feta salad seemed to be everywhere around here a few years ago and I got kind of sick of it. It's like this decade's Cedar-Plank Salmon.

Up the ante with this salad from the Yucatan:

Grilled watermelon and panela

(scroll down, tenth picture)

The Yucatan absorbed a lot of eastern Mediterranean immigrants after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, so who knows - this might even have Greek roots.
posted by kanewai at 10:45 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't there be peas in it?
posted by skyscraper at 11:19 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's a Rajistan watermelon and cumin curry I've been meaning to try but haven't, oh well.

If you like the idea of a candy flavored salad but don't like watermelon, you can replace it with chopped heirloom or otherwise small/cherry tomatoes and put in arguala, feta ( or goat cheese) and walnuts and basil and mint and strawberries (put a little pepper on them) and some cucumber and mix it up with a balsamic syrup mixed with honey. Put in some olives if it's not salty enough, but all that should get it to the "tastes like candy!" Feel of the first. You can also just add sugar, that's allowed.

Or honestly just replace the watermelon with mango, still works ( mango chunks rolled in lime juice and cayenne pepper is so good but that's Neither here not there.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mr Incognito makes what I call a "sucker punch salad": toss quartered tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta, dried oregano, and olive oil, vinegar and olives in a mixing bowl. Place a sheet of toasted bread (slice a round loaf horizontally and bake until all moisture is gone), trimmed so it sits just above the salad in the bowl. When ready to serve, punch the bread into the bowl, so it breaks up nicely. I enjoy the show, and the dinner.
posted by travellingincognito at 5:27 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, that watermelon/feta salad seemed to be everywhere around here a few years ago and I got kind of sick of it. It's like this decade's Cedar-Plank Salmon.

I look forward to the day when balsamic vinegar on fruit falls out of fashion, so I can no longer feel like a rube for not liking it. It's one of those foods that I think I should like, because everyone else I know does and I generally trust their taste, but then I have a bite and think "well, this is okay, I guess" and feel terribly out of step.

A similar thing happened with cranberries. Just recently I realized that I'm under no obligation to ever enjoy cranberry anything, and I'd been trying since about 1997.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:01 AM on August 20, 2015


Are we talking about the real feta cheese bought in mason jars from peasants on the roadside?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:16 AM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I look forward to the day when balsamic vinegar on fruit falls out of fashion, so I can no longer feel like a rube for not liking it.

This is one of those times when the real thing really makes a huge difference. It doesn't work with what passes for balsamic in supermarkets--you need the actual stuff from Modena, thick and syrupy and 15+ years old.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:37 AM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I somehow always assumed that the precrumbled stuff was just the kibble and leftovers from processing and packaging the intact blocks. (With the ghost of Sinclair Lewis standing by going "They've learned nothing. NOTHING."
posted by jfuller at 8:25 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I made this salad last night, using heirloom tomatoes and some stale ciabatta. Possibly too much feta. It was still awesome. We had feta-spinach chicken sausages on the side. NOM.
posted by suelac at 10:42 AM on August 20, 2015


Possibly too much feta

technically impossible.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Huh. This thread gave me a flashback. In my university days, a local bar and grill had something called the "Vyro" on their menu. It was basically a falafel sandwich, but in lieu of the falafel balls it was filled with an obscene amount of feta that had been mashed up with a bit of ranch dressing (IIRC -or something similar) to give it a creamy base to sit in. But they made sure to leave sizeable chunks of feta intact in the mix.

Carry on.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2015


They really should have called it the fetalafel, because the other fillings were the same as their falafel sandwich, but if they had shoved fries in it, it would have been closer to a gyro, which is I guess where they were going with the name.

In any case, it was memorable sandwich-as-feta-delivery-system eating.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2015


I happened to walk by a sweetgreen when they were sampling a watermelon & feta salad and it was an incredibly light and fresh combo: shredded kale, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, mint, feta, sunflower seeds, champagne vinaigrette. I lurve olives and onions of all kinds, but this version didn't need them and I'm not really a seed person but the sunflower seeds really added a creaminess. I just demolished a whole salad.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:33 PM on August 20, 2015


Directly as a result of this thread, I went to the farmer's market last night after work and bought a couple of pounds of amazing heirloom tomatoes. I lost my nerve when it came to the cheese though - there was a vendor selling sheep's milk feta but it was $15 for a small block and I just couldn't. So I bought some boring feta at Trader Joe's instead. It was still amazing with the fresh tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber, though! The lunch leftovers are currently burning a hole in my work fridge - how long till I can have lunch???
posted by lunasol at 7:07 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


FOB is yours, Greg_Ace

Excuse me?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:24 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


C'mon, you know this in your heart of hearts. Don't fight it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:32 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's the ham that makes "Hawaiian" pizza disgusting.

You. You, I like
posted by Hoopo at 11:35 AM on August 25, 2015




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