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Greek Village Vegetable Stacks

Serves 4 servings

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • 1-pound brick of Greek feta cheese, drained
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber (the one wrapped in plastic)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
PREPARATION

Carefully slice the brick of feta into 12 slices, 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick each. Use a cheese wire or some dental floss to cut the cheese if it crumbles too easily when using a knife. Next, trim off both ends of the bell pepper and pull out the seeds and membranes. Thinly slice the pepper into 12 pieces, 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Slice the cucumber even thinner, into 1/8-inch thick rounds.

Trim the ends off the onion as you did the pepper. Cut the outer layer of skin off, then trim one side with a shallow cut so that the whole onion sits stable on its side. Thinly slice the onion as you did the pepper, into 12 pieces. Slice the tomatoes in the same fashion as the onion, trimming off one side to stabilize it before slicing it across. Cut the tomatoes a little thicker, 6 slices per tomato. Season the tomatoes with a little coarse salt.

Strip the oregano leaves off the stems by holding stems at the top and gently pulling backward. Pile up the leaves on your cutting board and combine with the parsley leaves. Finely chop both, milling them together. To the chopped herbs, add the zest of the lemon. Trim the ends of the lemon and wedge it; reserve wedges. To the herb and lemon zest combination, add lots of fresh, coarse, black pepper -- at least a full teaspoon and up to 2. Mix it in with your fingertips.

Arrange the cheese slices in a single layer on your work surface and scatter the herb mixture over the cheese slices.

Pour a puddle of EVOO on each plate or on a serving paltter. Assemble stacks of Greek salad like this: sliced tomato, sliced onion, a layer of thin slices of cucumber, a slice of bell pepper, a slice of herb-crusted feta. Repeat twice. Each stack will have 3 layers, making a tower of Greek salad for each portion. Garnish each plate or the serving platter with olives and wedges of lemon.

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