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Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips

June 2006
Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips

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Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 4 pita bread rounds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (one-third palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (one-third palmful)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (eyeball it in your palm)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 4 vine-ripe tomatoeshalved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery ribs from the heart, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 red or green bell pepperseeded, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (a few generous handfuls)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt (available in the dairy case)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (two-thirds palmful)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), eyeball it
  • 3/4 pound feta, crumbled
  • 8 jarred pepperoncini (hot peppers)
  • 1 cup pitted calamata olives
  • 8 jarred or store-bought stuffed grape leaves, drained
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Split the pitas open into 8 halves. Lay the bread out on your countertop, insides facing up. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, thyme, oregano and cinnamon. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the split bread. Place the bread on an oven rack and toast until golden and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and tear into jagged pieces about the size of tortilla chips and reserve.
  2. On a large serving platter, combine the tomatoes, half of the cucumber, and the onion, celery, bell pepper and parsley; season with salt and pepper.
  3. To a food processor, add the remaining cucumber, the yogurt, cumin, garlic, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce and a little salt. Process the ingredients, adding the EVOO in a thin stream until smooth; taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings.
  4. Arrange the pita crisps on the salad, then drizzle the dressing all over. Finish off your salad with a pile of the feta, pepperoncini and olives. Serve with the stuffed grape leaves on the side. Opa! (I think thats Greek for Yum-O!)