Saturday, July 27, 2013

Classic Shopska Salata

I first had this salad at the Hotel Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria a long, long time ago when Bulgaria was still under Communist rule and no one in the country could (or would) give an American change when purchasing any sort of item.  You had to make sure that you carried around small bills and a lot of coin in order to not get stiffed.  This salad, however, certainly made the trip worthwhile.  Very simple with fresh ingredients, it's a staple in Bulgaria and surrounding regions.  Similar to Horiatiki, it distinguishes itself with a shower of finely crumbled Bulgarian feta instead of slices or cubes.

Makes about 4 side servings

1 long thin English cucumber
1/2 of a large red onion
1/2 of a large green bell pepper
2 large, very ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
4 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese

Half peel the cucumber by paring every 1/4 inch or so to create a striped pattern and then slice into 1/2 inch rounds.  Toss them into a medium bowl.
Chop the onion and bell pepper into a 1/2 inch dice and add them to the bowl along with the olives and parsley.
Whisk the oil and vinegar together and add it to the mix. Toss the vegetables until they are coated with the dressing.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Now place the salad into an appropriate size serving bowl and shower the top with the feta.  Chill before serving.

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