For about twenty years, I have been making this salad, without fail, at least twice a week. First encountered as Шопска салата in Bulgaria, it became a faithful dinner staple and one of the more healthy components of my diet over the years. It’s a simple Greek Salad.
I’m a big fan of salads.
In the summer, it goes without saying, salad are a great lunch and dinner option. You can pre-prepare them, stick them in a glass, take them to work or on a picnic, they’re usually raw, and usually healthy. I have made somewhat more “exotic” salads with previously unknown ingredients but simple is sometimes best. We have a few salads on rotation for that. When I work late, nothing better than texting my boyfriend suggestions like “Lets do gunk salad tonight” – okay, this one isn’t healthy, but we both have an understanding what should go in it. When I get home, the salad is on the coffee table and the TV warmed up, if I’m lucky.
There is no recipe. I just make sure the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper is of decent quality. I use sea salt and freshly ground pepper and a good olive oil, but that’s all matter of personal taste. Ewe cheese, of course. I bought a year-long supply of dried oregano from Greece. So there’s something authentic Greek in the salad, too. The basil is really just for the photo. Bowl from Oriental City (sadly, both long gone now) in Colindale, London.
Recently, we have added tabbouleh to the rota of fail-safe dinner salads. There is a tiny Middle Eastern grocery store by the train station. It sells cheap phone cards and cigarettes and always has bunches of men hanging round outside it. But it gets a delivery of fresh mint and parsley every day at 16.00. And this salad is so tasty… and flat-leaf parsley is so good for you: It contains Vitamins A, C and K, Chlorophyll and flavonoids.
I use this recipe from BBC Good Food but add some cucumber, and when I have them, pomegranate seeds. I faff a lot less with the bulgur though – before I found that the little shop by the station sells more than just phonecards and cigarettes, I grabbed whatever bulgur available in our staunchly German supermarket (it’s medium), mix equal volumes of bulgur and boiling water, bring it to the boil, add another sip of water, stir, then turn the electric stove off and let it sit until I ma ready to use it.