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Chopped Greek Salad with Garlic Croutons

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Serves six to eight.

  • To learn more, read:
    Chopped Salads
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 79

Bread salads are famous in both Italy (panzanella) and the Middle East (fattoush). Sometimes the bread component is mixed in ahead to soak up the vegetable juices; other times, the bread is added at the last moment, so it keeps some of its texture, as in this recipe.

For the garlic croutons:
  • 3 cups 3/4-inch bread cubes (cut from day-old sturdy bread with crusts removed)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red- or white-wine vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. mashed oil-packed anchovies (2 to 4 fillets), or to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To assemble
  • 4 cups gently packed baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 3 medium firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup meaty black olives, preferably Cerignola or Kalamata, pitted and quartered
  • 8 oz. firm feta, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
Make the garlic croutons:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat until the garlic just begins to color, 3 to 5 min. Be careful the garlic doesn’t burn or it will become bitter. Pour the oil through a strainer onto the bread cubes. Toss until the cubes are evenly coated with oil (discard the garlic). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toast the bread in the oven, flipping occasionally, until it’s nicely golden on all sides, about 12 min. The croutons should be toasty on the surface but still somewhat soft in the middle. Return them to the large bowl and, while still warm, toss them with parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and a few grinds of pepper

Make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, shallots, mustard, oregano, and anchovies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 10 min. to let the flavors blend.

Assemble the salad:

Lay the arugula on a large platter and artfully arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, and croutons in stripes or piles on top of the arugula. Whisk the dressing to recombine and serve it in a pitcher. Encourage guests to spoon elements of the salad onto their plates and drizzle on some of the dressing. Or drizzle the dressing over the salad platter just before serving. You may not need all of the dressing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 390; Fat (g): fat g 33; Fat Calories (kcal): 290; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 21; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1270; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 35; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I arranged this salad on a large square platter, and a guest said it looked as though it had been prepared by a high-end caterer. This is an attractive and tasty dish, though I found the dressing a little flat. Next time, I might substitute lemon juice for the vinegar, as suggested. The croutons are to die for! All in all, a keeper.

Great flavor and a really pretty arrangement. I made this alongside the Tuscan Poached Eggs from this site and it was a flavorful, healthy, and fresh dinner combo. The only thing I did differently was to use less dressing (I always do, though.)

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