September 26, 2012 |

Greek Salad

By Jeremy White

Dining trends come and go. One day all the rage is about Thai influences, then our palates are on to hot sauces. But Mediterranean fare is never far from the spotlight thanks to its enviable combination of bold flavors and big health benefits. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to offer your customers a Greek salad or Greek pizza to satisfy their appetites for all things Mediterranean.

A good entry point to work Greek-inspired dishes onto your menu is your salad category. Greek salads are easy and inexpensive to prepare. They’re also loaded with flavors that work well together and with pizza, which makes a basic Greek salad (see accompanying recipe) a wonderful warm up act for your traditional or specialty pizzas.

As a bundling suggestion for a lunch special, considering offering a Greek salad, two pesto breadsticks and slice (or a hoagie or warm grinder) at one price. For a dinner special, a great entrée to use with the salad and breadsticks would be a tri-colored, cheese-filled tortellini with a pesto cream sauce.

In regards to the dressing, a Greek salad will work with many options, from a simple oil and vinegar combination to a Ranch. There likely are at least one or two good pairings to be found in the lineup of house made or bottled dressings you already offer. If not, consider adding an Italian Pesto through your distributor or even making a simple concoction in house.

While one Greek salad will fit nicely within the repertoire of most pizzerias, chances are there aren’t room for two on the menu. Don’t go stir crazy and push your luck by adding a second if the first moves well. Instead, consider adding a Greek pizza to round out your Mediterranean offerings. Putting one together is a snap. Go light on the tomato sauce and use fresh mozzarella and provolone as your cheeses, topped with a little feta. As for toppings, use olives, capers, eggplant, tomato, artichokes, spinach and onions. You can even add seafood, such as shrimp or clams, to round it out.

Greek Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

1 red onion, cut into small rings

6 ounces Kalamata olives, pitted

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, sliced

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

6 pepperoncini, whole

1 teaspoon oregano, chopped

ground black pepper, to taste

In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce, onion, olives, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, pepperoncini and oregano. Top with ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside, covered, in cooler.

To serve, place salad in chilled bowl and top with requested dressing.