Although the ancient Greeks did a lot of impressive things, there’s a good chance they get a bit too much credit for salad. The fact that we call any mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and feta “Greek Salad” is a bit of a misnomer. In reality, some version of this salad is a staple all the way along the Mediterranean, into Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
My guy is Bulgarian, and he’s the one who introduced me to this salad, so at our house, we eat Shopska.
The importance of peak season produce
And as with any regional food, there are regional differences. For example, Greece is famous for its olive oil, Bulgaria is famous for its sunflowers. So, it’s more common to use sunflower oil in that part of the world.
One thing that every region of all the best food countries can agree on is the importance of peak season produce. There are no two ways about it. When you want to make a bangin salad, you need to use the best ingredients you can get. And the best ingredients means the freshest and most in-season ingredients as humanly possible.
Time to bust out the best tomatoes
I’m talking about tomatoes folks, don’t mess around with off-season tomatoes.
Seriously. Just don’t do it. Don’t make this for a Christmas dinner. K?
If you don’t have any Bulgarian recipes in your repertoire yet, Shopska salad (or Shopska Salata) is a great one to start with. The keys to a really good Shopska salad is to use the best tomatoes, the right amount of salt, top with lots of good creamy feta, and eat it right away. I’m not a fan of fridge-cold tomatoes and soggy cucumbers. I really think this salad is best when it’s super fresh.
All you’ve got to do is toss everything together in a large bowl and dive in.
Shopska SaladCourse: SaladCuisine: BulgarianDifficulty: Easy
Shopska salad is a traditional Bulgarian salad that is loaded with the juiciest tomatoes and soft feta.
2-3 large tomatoes, or 500g
1 bell pepper, any colour but green
½ medium red onion
150 grams crumbled or grated feta
4 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
Fresh Parsley (optional)
- Chop up all the veggies into bite sized cubes. Toss with oil and salt, and top with feta and fresh parsley. Serve immedietely.