Seven years ago, seems like a lifetime ago, my husband and I spent the last 1/3 of our honeymoon in Santorini, Greece. We experienced a little bit of culture shock with the language, coming from France and Italy, to something completely unfamiliar. On our first day we landed at our hotel and they told us our room was very far from being ready for us. So, we did what anyone would do in Greece at lunch time, we went to eat Greek salad and chicken souvlaki.
I should mention that my husband was a waiter in a Greek restaurant for 5 years and Greek food was at the top of our list as our “favourite” cuisine. I love the simplicity and freshness of the more simple dishes. They are rustic, delicious and really hard to mess up when made at home.
We spent the first few weeks of our honeymoon in France and then Italy. I absolutely love Italian food but after spending so much time there and eating out every day, I could honestly say I was starting to get tired of pizza, pasta, breads and feeling so heavy all the time. In Greece, we ate chicken souvlaki in a pita with Greek salad every single day and we felt really satisfied. It was deathly hot while we were there so this could be the reason why chicken souvlaki on a pita (and a massive, $2 can of beer) was our daily lunch of choice.
The Greek salad was very typical to what you would find here, in Canada, except the Feta cheese wasn’t crumbled and incorporated with the dressing, which I noticed is how most do it here. Instead, the Feta cheese was served in a solid block on top of our salad. When we first received our salad served this way, our initial reaction was “why the heck didn’t they crumble the feta cheese”. As we ate it, however, we quickly came to the realization that a solid block of feta cheese on top of the Greek salad advanced its rustic appeal and was also fun to eat! So, now, this is how I do it at home, and, when we order Greek salad, I now ask the question, “why did they crumble the feta cheese?” Answer, it’s WAY more fun to eat it that way. A very simple example of why travel and eating could be so interesting and insightful. A simple change in the serving method and it has completely changed the way I look at Greek salad. Maybe this isn’t a big deal to you (although I think it might be because why else would you take the time to read all of this if you didn’t like Greek salad), however we eat a ridiculous amount of Greek Salad so you can see why this was so fascinating to us.
Moving on, I am sure a lot of you have made Greek salad before but I also realized that the dressing for a Greek salad are extremely similar to the marinade for the chicken souvlaki. And, so here we have a little time saver/hack, whatever you want to call it, that will make life easier. Making the marinade, and then reserving some for your salad (in a little mason jar) and adding the rest to your chicken as the marinade will save you an entire step! I used Liberterre boneless chicken thighs for my souvlaki because I find them very flavourful and juicy. Make sure you discard the marinade that has touched any raw chicken.
I hope you enjoy this really easy recipe and use it to your advantage and make your dinner prep a lot easier! Enjoy!
- For the Garlicky Marinade + dressing:
- (Makes 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons white wine
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Chicken:
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half lengthwise
For the Salad:
- 6 small tomatoes, cut into wedges (2 cups)
- 1 small red onion, sliced thin
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced into thin half moons
- 1 red/yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- ¾ cups pitted kalamata olives
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- 6 pita breads cut into large triangles
- Tzatziki sauce
- In medium bowl, add in all of the marinade/dressing ingredients and whisk until combined and the oil has emulsified. Transfer ½ cup of the marinade to a small mason jar and refrigerate.
- Place chicken in the bowl with the remaining marinade/dressing. Toss chicken to coat evenly, cover, and refrigerate to marinate for about 1 hour, tossing occasionally.
- Skewer chicken pieces on 8 to 12 skewers. Discard used marinade.
- Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on grill pan) until grill lines form and internal temperature registers 165° F on instant read thermometer, turning evenly to cook on all sides, about 5-6 minutes total. (Adjust temperature of grill if necessary). Remove chicken to a serving platter and let rest 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, briefly grill pitas and keep warm.
- Just before serving, prepare the salad: Chop the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and pepper. Add the olives and place the block of feta cheese on top. Drizzle with reserved dressing, saving a portion to pour over your chicken skewers that have just been grilled. Toss the salad and enjoy with your chicken souvlaki and warmed pita bread.