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10.09.2017

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The classic Greek Dakos salad with a twist. Broken up, crunchy rusks, plump ripe tomatoes and creamy, salty feta are joined by chunks of baked potato and drenched in a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. Capers and sea fennel (rock samphire) add a little something extra to this gorgeous and filling salad.

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large round wooden chopping board with halved tomatoes and rusks on it is in the top left corner of the photo. To the bottom right is a small white chopping board with slabs of feta on some parchment paper. To the bottom left of the photo a wooden bowl with capers and sea fennel sits on a folded piece of cloth with a typical Greek pattern on it.

Dakos salad is a dish originating from Crete. The classic version has a base of barley rusk (twice baked bread that turns very dry and crunchy), lots of tomato and either feta or soft myzithra cheese. It’s dressed in olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano. Sometimes you might see it with olives too. It’s one of those dishes that is really simple, with few ingredients, yet seriously delicious. The degree of deliciousness largely depends on the quality of these few ingredients, so make sure you use the best tomatoes you can find, and good olive oil. As for the rusks, I don’t know how easy it is to find them overseas, but you can always turn to the internet for the real thing.

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A close view of a halved tomato sitting on a wooden chopping board, among some pieces of barley rusk. Some capers are also scattered around it.

The rusks can be very very tough and even sharp-edged, so people sometimes sprinkle some water over them to soften them a bit. An important thing to keep in mind is that the tomato (at least some of it) should be grated over the rusks, rather than cut into pieces. Personally, after having made this salad at least once a week for the past couple of summers, I find that grating the tomato on a large-holed coarse grater provides enough moisture to soften the rusks. Combined of course with a fairly generous amount of olive oil. In the beginning, I was chopping my tomatoes, going a bit crazy with the oil, and still having to drizzle water over the rusks. This made for a few soggy bits and a pretty heavy salad. Then I thought I would try grating some of the tomatoes. Wow. I would have never imagined such a huge difference with this one detail. I don’t know why it works, but I don’t need nearly enough oil, I don’t use any water, and I can eat a couple of huge bowlfuls of the stuff without feeling like I’ve eaten rocks later on. If you check the classic recipes they do mention grating tomatoes. Obviously they knew what they were talking about. Duh.

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A close view of the small wooden bowl of capers and sea fennel, half visible. The bowl is sitting on a piece of cloth with a typical Greek pattern in blue and white colours.

So that was a brief description of the classic dakos. As I said, it’s a veeery frequent addition to my weekly menu during the summer. I think I can safely say it’s one of the few things I actually like about this time of year (yeah, you probably know by now I’m a winter person).

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A close view of the small white bread board with some slabs of feta lying on a piece of brown parchment paper. Some dried oregano is sprinkled over the top.

I decided however to share a slight variation of this with you guys today; a baked potato dakos. One day last year I fancied a dakos but I’d run out of rusks (the horror!). I did have a baked potato which had been cooked in the slow cooker (best ever way to make baked potatoes!), just sitting in the fridge. I thought I would try substituting the rusks with the potato. It was actually really good! But you know what? Why choose between the two if you don’t have to? So, soon after that, when I’d replenished my rusk supplies, I tried combining both in the salad. Yes. It works really well.

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: The salad without the feta on a metalic plate in the centre of the photo, sitting on a wooden surface. Around it are the slabs of feta cheese (top right), some tomato (top left) and some capers and sea fennel (bottom right).

I added a few ingredients that you may or may not come across when it comes to dakos recipes. Red wine vinegar is one of them, which I absolutely adore with the potato and feta. Then I thought I might add some capers and some sea fennel (aka rock samphire or crithmum) which is a wild plant that grows near the sea and is kept in brine. These additions complement the salad really well. You could add olives too if you like them. I hate them so they’re coming nowhere near my salad!

Baked Potato Dakos Salad, with Barley Rusks, Tomato and Feta www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A very close view of the prepared salad with droplets of olive oil visible on the crumbled feta. Under that are the pieces of potato, tomato and rusks, and on top of the feta are scattered pieces of sea fennel, some capers and some oregano.

Hopefully you can still get your hands on some good, ripe, juicy tomatoes, in order to try this baked potato dakos salad. It’s a meal in itself, so you could have it for dinner with a nice glass of chilled white wine or a cold beer. Ah, heaven.

Ingredients

140gr approx. (1 medium) baked potato, skin on (or off, it’s up to you), cut into chunks

100gr barley or other type of rusk, broken into large bite sized chunks

250gr ripe tomatos, stems removed

100gr feta cheese

1 Tbs capers

1 small handful sea fennel (rock samphire), rinsed lightly under the tap if preserved in brine

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp salt, plus extra if needed

2 Tbs olive oil, good quality

1 Tbs vinegar plus more to serve if desired

Step 1

Put the potato chunks into a bowl then add the rusk pieces on top.

Step 2

Grate most of the tomatoes over the rusks so that the juices fall on them. Cut the rest into pieces and add them to the bowl.

Step 3

Crumble the feta over the tomato and sprinkle the capers and sea fennel on the salad.

Step 4

Add oregano, salt (how much depends on the saltiness of your feta), olive oil and vinegar. Toss gently, adjust salt and vinegar if desired and enjoy.

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