What better way to celebrate all the fresh produce we enjoy in the summer than with a tangy Greek vegetable salad? Be sure to select good tomatoes for this dish-NOT the awful salmon colored cardboard kind you find in the grocery most of the year. One more word to the wise: despite its simple name, this dish requires two days to prepare. But it is still REALLY easy, so don't be put off.
Start off with the following ingredients:
1.5 lbs tomatoes (I used Campari…home grown are best)
1 green bell pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup mint leaves
1.5 cups plain ol' yogurt (or 3/4 cup Greek yogurt)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups feta cheese
Special equipment: cheesecloth or a fine strainer, a colander
Day one: Chop the tomatoes and the cucumber and place in a colander. Place the colander in a larger bowl. Sprinkle salt over the veggies and stir 'em up. Place in the fridge overnight. Your goal here is to drain some of the water out of those suckers so that when you make this salad, it doesn't become a watery mess within a few hours and dilute all that creamy dressing you're going to prepare.
Now, take the yogurt and place it gently in the strainer or on the cheesecloth, put the strainer over a bowl, and place it in the fridge as well to drain overnight. If you're using Greek yogurt, you can skip this step. But with regular yogurt, you'll be amazed at how much water comes out! And for God's sake, don't use lowfat.
Day two: Seed the pepper and cut into bite size pieces. Thinly slice the radish and mint leaves, and chop the scallions. Now, combine the pepper, radish, drained tomato and cucumber, and 1/2 the scallions and mint leaves in a bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the feta cheese.
Now, combine the rest of the cheese, mint, and scallions with the olive oil in the food processor. Blend in the yogurt and oregano with short pulses—you want some of the cheese to still be a bit chunky.
Toss the veggies with the dressing to coat thoroughly. Taste it to make sure it doesn't need any salt (it really shouldn't…you used salt to drain the veggies and there is salt in the feta too…but if you must…)
I like to serve it on a bed of lettuce, and grind a bit of black pepper on top. Yum!