I got to spend last night with the lovely lady spouses of NAS Kingsville (no males yet!) and, once again, we all brought buffet-style appetizers. There are usually a lot of dessert options at these events – and one fabulous baker in particular - so I didn’t want to go down that route. I needed something that was zesty and an easy party finger food. With that in mind, I created an appetizer salad that incorporated some of my best-loved foods.
Greek Salad in Cucumber Cups
True Greek salad doesn’t include any lettuce, so the transition to a bite-sized cup was easy. And since cucumber is a main ingredient in Greek salads, and because they are strudy enough to carve, it made the perfect edible container for my appetizer. The dressing should be made a few hours in advance so that the flavors can truly marry.
For the dressing:
- 1/2 teaspoon jarred, finely minced garlic or 1 fresh garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1-1 1/2 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1/4 tespoons dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing, in a food precessor or with a whisk, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Blend thoroughly to combine. Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending. Refrigerate for a few hours.
For the salad:
- 2 English (seedless) cucumbers
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 green pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, finely diced
- 1/4 cup mild banana peppers, diced
- 4 ounces feta cheese block, crumbled
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the cucumber cups, cut the narrow ends of the cucumbers off and discard. With a vegetable peeler, peel strips of the skin off all the way around the cucumber to create a stripe effect. Cut the cucumber into abnout 3/4 inch rounds. Spoon out the inside of each cup with a melon baller (or one of your small measuring spoons) and discard the inside of each cup. Be careful to not break through the bottom or sides of the cups.
For the salad, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour enough dressing over the salad mixture to lightly coat all the vegetables and stir to mix. Spoon a bit of the dressed salad mixture into each cucumber cup. Serve cool or at room temperature.
This is a very simple salad but the cucumber cups really make an impressive presentation. The recipe above made about 20 cucumber cups but you could easily halve or double it, or omit any ingredient to accomodate your guests. The dressing is better-than-bottled without being overpowering, and the colors and textures of the salad are bright and varied. This is an hors d’oeuvre that I will absolutely be making again – and hope you try too! Enjoy…
Im gonna make this one for our culinary subject (hope so!) it sounds really good and the presentation in the picture is so appetizing!!! yum! yum! cant wait to do that! =)