Growing up in a family with 21 first cousins and all but 5 of them within a 3 year age range made family my best friends, more like sisters. We ate a lot of meals together. My cousin Erna had a lot of food allergies and we teased her mercilessly.
In my parents house there were certain mezze always on the table. My sisters and I delighted in biting the bottoms off of Greek Pepperoncinis and letting the sharp vinegar dribble down our chins before we consumed the peppers. Poor Erna would have none of the pepperoncinis and I always think of her reluctance when I make this salad.
Now they sell pepperoncinis julienned in jars. Very convenient for salads, and great in sandwiches. Try some in your Tuna salad or in a Turkey Sandwich.
This salad is all about the contrasts; crisp textured lettuce with creamy feta, and green fresh flavor with salty lemon flavor. Serve it with Shabbat lunch, a big buffet party, a light dinner, its just wonderful.
2 romaine lettuce hearts washed and dried
3 cups washed and dried baby lettuces
1 small box of grape or cherry tomatoes
3 fresh Persian cucumbers
½ cup of deli sliced pepperoncinis in a jar
1 charred red pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup of red onion, finely minced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
7 ounces of feta cheese
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Stack up the romaine leaves and slice them across in one quarter to one half inch ribbons. Toss the romaine with the baby lettuce together in a bowl. Place the lettuce in the refrigerator to crisp, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Slice the tomatoes in half unless they are really tiny. Wash the cucumbers, dry them, and cut them in ½ dice. Chop the pepperoncinis into smaller pieces. Julienne the red pepper and then dice it. You can leave the olives whole or cut them up. Crumble the Feta cheese. I buy Bulgarian style feta imported from Israel (kosher).
Take the lettuce out of the refrigerator and add the rest of the ingredients to the salad. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper together. Add sparingly to the salad and toss gently. Don’t overdress the salad.