Dakos - Bread Salad (Greece)

Most food on Santorini requires the local volcanic soil or crystal blue waters to make it special. While we could make tomatokeftedes, the deep-fried fritters fueled by the phenomenal local tomatoes, so perfect in the volcanic soil, you can’t get Santorini tomatoes where you are, so it would be a pale imitation at best.

 

Therefore, we’re going with something simple, that you can make with ingredients from your local supermarket.  Dakos is translated as “bread salad” but I prefer to think of it as a cheesy Greek bruschetta. 

 

Officially, these are made with barley rusks, which are twice-cooked bread rounds that are approximately as hard as rock. By letting them soak up the tomato juice and olive oil of the marinade, you make the rusks edible. So that’s one way of going, but my version is a pansy American attempt, mainly because I can’t get barley rusks anywhere and I live in a major metropolitan area in the 21st century: I’m guessing if I can’t get ‘em, you can’t get ‘em either.

 

So yes, this is absolutely not actual dakos. But you know what? It’s amazing. My new favorite thing. It made me love feta for the first time in my life. Eat. It.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices of good, rustic country crusty bread

  • 4 ripe tomatoes - use heirloom if you can

  • 4 tbsp feta cheese - if you can do 2 tbsp feta, 2 tsp mzithra, even better

  • 4 tsp olive oil

  • 2 tsp oregano (Greek or Turkish, not Mexican - there is a difference)

  • salt and pepper to taste

 

STEPS

  1. Chop the tomatoes. Some recipes call for grating them, but I find that unless you have perfect summer tomatoes, grating loses too much texture and leads to an unsavory mushiness. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl.

  2. Mix with cheese, olive oil and oregano. Let sit for five minutes for flavors to meld.

  3. Toast the bread to a golden brown.

  4. While still hot - which is not at all canon, but I love what the warmth of the bread does to the tomatoes and cheese - top the slices with the mixture.

  5. Let sit on the bread for a few minutes so the juices soak in. Salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Enjoy!

 

Recipe by Drew Vahrenkamp

NB: The picture does NOT match the recipe.  The picture is of ACTUAL dakos, courtesy of wikipedia user Frente.  I only remember to take a picture of what I'm cooking something like 20% of the time, which leaves me frantically scrambling and searching the internet like a college freshman.  Anyway, you'll note the barley rusk on this picture.  Frente also used olives, which you are welcome and encouraged to do - I am weird (as noted in Episode 3: The Statue of Zeus): I don't like olives though I love olive oil.  But do as you will.

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