In summertime, salads are a staple in my house. Sometimes we pile several onto a plate and call it dinner. When we do, this tomato, feta and olive salad (or a close approximation) is often front and center.
Tomato, feta, and olive salad is deceptively simple; a few fresh ingredients in just the right proportions, tossed together with a light vinaigrette. The salad is exceptional when you use excellent tomatoes, the best “hard” feta you can find (so you can cut it without the cheese dissolving or crumbling much) and good Kalamata olives. Like myGrandpa’s Greek Salad, this one is a seasonal dish. It works best when tomatoes are in season in your area.
Still, when I got a hankering for it last week, I managed to find mixed color cherry tomatoes in the market that looked and tasted pretty good. In my experience, the yellow and dark cherry tomatoes have been reasonably sweet this year, even when they are shipped from a distance. While farmer’s market/ CSA produce is my ideal, sometimes getting everything from a local source is not possible, especially in these transitional months. I have sworn off the winter tomatoes that look red but always disappoint when you bite or slice into them, but I don’t dismiss out-of-hand using tomatoes grown in warmer climates to our south that come my way a few weeks before local tomatoes appear here in the mid-Atlantic.
Feta can be made with cow’s, sheep or goat’s milk. For this salad, I prefer sheep’s milk feta, which is tangier taste than the cow’s milk version. Kalamata olives are the almond-shaped dark ones, typically packed in oil or vinegar. They have a distinct and delightful rich taste, often described as fruity. In combination with the limited seasonings and good tomatoes, the feta and olives turn this salad into a colorful Mediterranean delight.
Paired with crusty bread, an orzo or pasta salad, perhaps a cold soup or a green salad (maybe kale, dates and walnuts) and a lovely cold drink, you’ve got a summertime dinner that’s light, yet filling.
Today, I’m posting this here and also on Never Enough Thyme, the blog of my Progressive Eatspal, Lana. As she recuperates from surgery, several of her blogger friends are helping Lana out by contributing to Never Enough Time. Cooking is love in my book – this post is my virtual get well card, sent with hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Lana is a lovely Southern lady, whose family and background form the basis for much of her cooking and many of her blogposts. I know you’ll enjoy her blog, so do check it out.
Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad
Servings – 4 Cost – $8
- 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- ½ cup cubed feta cheese
- ½ cup minced flat parsley
- ¼ cup chopped scallions, green and white part
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (lighter in color and taste than “regular” red balsamic)
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Small ramekin with fork or jar with cap for mixing oil and vinegar
- Prepare the vegetables. Cube the feta and halve the pitted olives.
- Mix the vegetables, cheese and olives.
- Mix the oil and vinegar, then pour over the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ideally, refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld.