Monday, April 22, 2013

The Great Greek Salad Debate

Last Saturday night, J. and I had a deep discussion on a topic of utmost importance: What goes in a Greek salad?

The Greek salad I have come to know has lettuce, feta cheese, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Bonus points for roasted red peppers, or regular bell peppers.  Meats, such as grilled chicken or lamb are optional.  My experience is based on New Jersey diners (many of which, are owned by Greek immigrants).

According to J, peperoncini is a key element to the Greek salad.  He bases his Greek salad experience   from a place called The Parthenon in Western Massachusetts, where he grew up. To me, this was preposterous.  Peperoncini is a product of Italy.  Why would you put it in a Greek salad? But J. insisted that because The Parthenon had peperoncini in their Greek salad, it was not optional.  

So in order to resolve this debate, I did what I do with any other heated dispute we have: I looked it up on Wikipedia. It turns out we were both right.  Or maybe we were both wrong.  According to Wikipedia,

 Lettuce, tomatoes, feta, and olives are the most standard elements in an American-style 'Greek salad', but cucumbers, peperoncini, bell peppers, onions, radishesdolmades, anchovies/sardines and pickled hot peppers are common. 

And if it was on Wikipedia, it had to be true, right?

Bell peppers and peperoncini are both common elements.  But really, it seems, as long as you have the core ingredients, that is lettuce, cheese, olives, and tomatoes, then you have a Greek salad. 

Here is what we put in a Greek salad:

Core ingredients:

Leafy greens (baby spinach or mixed salad greens, which ever we have on hand)
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese

Optional ingredients:

Roasted red peppers
Bell peppers
Peperoncini (I don't care what J. says, I still think these are optional)
Sliced red onion
Carrots (not traditional but we always seem to have them)

Question of the Week:

What do you put in a Greek salad?


MP said...

Many times they also include anchovies. Not that I like those so much, but they are frequently there (in Greek-owned restaurants in Brooklyn/Queens/LI).

MP said...

I happened to remember because I used to pick them off the salad!

Rose said...

I'm with you on this one!