Monday, April 17, 2006

The Rye Rusk Salad

We greeks love our rusks. Rye, barley or wheat, it is an old fashioned way to preserve your leaftover bread. Back in the days when women baked their bread once a week, the leftover would be cut in slices and put in the oven in very low temp, till it dried, then the new loaves would be made. The rusks would be kept in air tight containers to be used in various ways.

My favourite is in a salad.

I say piss off croutons compared to rye or barley rusks! The texture is so much more real. But you have to follow a few steps, or else you might be in need of a dentist sooner than you want ;)

So you take the rusks under running water just for a few seconds. You do not want to soak them too much! You just want to make them crispy but not as hard. Then you cut them with your hands in rough pieces and place them in a bowl.

A pinch of salt, and a few tsp's of virgin olive oil later, you need to begin adding the rest:

2 very ripe tomatoes, a small cucumber, a small handful of fresh oregano, a few olives, a bit of red onion, and you have a very satisfying dinner now the weather becomes warmer! You have to cut the tomatoes on the bowl, so that any juice runs down to the rusks and soaks them more.Then you add the cucumber, then the oregano, then the olives.

Each forkful will give you a piece of tomato, and then at the end, a piece of the rusk, soaked in the tomato juice and with the taste of the olive oil so prominent and dominant, that will make you moan. The fresh oregano will give you an unexpected aroma and if your olives are like mine, the extra vinegar kick will be just what maked the difference!

And now I am on olives, here is a tip for you. When you buy olives, prefer the ones that are not in olive oil. Then take them home, take a vase with a tight lid, put in it some water, some vinegar, (the ratio should be from 1/3 to 1/2, depending how much you love vinegar) and a couple of handfuls of coarse sea salt (depending on how big your vase is). This will give an extra kick to your olives and will also preserve them for the next generations ;)

I am going to try and give you the greek orthodox easter culinary tour this week. Lots of traditional stuff, with recipes, pictures and the story beyond. Easter is the greatest celebration for the Christian Orthodox, and as each holiday, has a lot attached to it with the region's culinary habbits. I just hope I will have the time!