Sometimes the best recipes are those you throw together without much thought; with little effort; but with utterly delicious results. Those recipes you enjoy regularly but think maybe they’re too simple, too humble to share with others. For instance, this stand-by salad was my lunch today:
Seems ordinary, right? And you’re likely asking what makes it great? For one, all those bright, shiny red cherry tomatoes that dot the salad are straight from our garden. I planted them in June–knowing full well we’d be in Greece all summer–so we’d enjoy them once we returned in September. Well, it’s mid October and they are still growing full force … and the kids love to pick them!
What else sets this salad apart? Well I’d go with these Cretan Rusk “croutons.” I love to throw them into traditional Greek bread salads, like Mirmizeli from Kalymnos that boasts fresh tomatoes, Feta, onion and of course rusks. But they also add some “umpf” to lettuce, cabbage, or any salad you throw together … not to mention they are healthier than your standard crouton.
You don’t need a recipe to put this salad together but I’ll indulge you with one anyway … the amounts of course are up to you. And if you can’t get to a Greek market to pick up some crispy Cretan rusks ( I go with these), you can try your hand at making your own using a recipe such as Aglaia Kremezi’s for Cretan Barley Rusks in her book Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, which I also discuss here.
Arugula, Spinach, Cherry Tomato, Gorgonzola Salad with Cretan Rusk Croutons
Handful baby arugula
Handful baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the Cretan rusk into crouton-like pieces (I say using your hands is your best bet here). Place the pieces of rusk in a small bowl and sprinkle with some water to soften. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside for up to 15 minutes.
Toss the arugula, spinach leaves, tomatoes and Gorgonzola together. Add the rusks and mix gently. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.