Dakos: The Mediterranean Salad of Crete

I discovered this simple, yet so delicious, salad while visiting Crete several years ago. I knew right away I would be making it when I got home. It’s a beautiful salad to make in the summer when tomatoes are bursting with flavor. The base of the salad is a thick, crunchy barley bread called rusks. Traditional Dakos are made with 100% barley rusks which you can order online or at a European market. If these are not available, substitute a rye crisp like Wasa, Ryvita or Finn Crisp. Barley rusks are double baked making them hard and crunchy so you need to quickly pass them under running water to slightly soften them before topping them with the ingredients. Each rusk gets a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some finely chopped tomato, feta cheese, Greek olives and a sprinkle of fresh oregano or basil. Although not traditional, I will often make a quick cherry tomato sauce if I’m making these outside of the garden fresh tomato season.

Dakos: Mediterranean Salad of Crete

Ingredients

4 Barley rusks or a crisp flat bread like Wasa or Finn Crisp

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup Greek olives, sliced in half

Fresh oregano or basil, chopped

Directions

  1. Pass the barley rusk under running water (very quickly because you don’t want to soften them too much) and place them on a salad plate. If using a crisp flatbread, skip this step.
  2. Drizzle each rusk with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Evenly divide the tomatoes on top of each rusk. Top with crumbled feta cheese and olives.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh oregano or basil.

For a more detailed description of Dakos and other authentic Greek recipes, check out Olive Tomato.

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