Monday, October 12, 2009

What'choo talkin bout Mr. P?

We know it's the end of tomato season, but since Tarts aren't known for their timing, we just HAD to tell you about this Greek salad from Campanile Restaurant in Los Angeles. We love a good salad, but the Greek versions we've had, are just that...good. It's not often we have one that makes us sit up and say "What'choo talkin' bout, Willis?!" Or in this case, re: Mark Peel, Owner/Executive Chef of Campanile, "What'choo talkin' bout, Mr. P?"

In order to find out what Mr. P is talkin' bout, we bought Mark's new cookbook and we got the Greek Salad low-down from Erica Lins, Chef de Cuisine at Campanile, aka Mrs. E. (Btw - this Tartalini can cook her face off.)

We got a rough sketch of this masterpiece from Erica and decided to give it a go. We eyeballed the measurements, so please forgive us if this is slightly off.

Campanile's Greek Salad - Tartified

1/2 loaf of good quality olive bread
4 Heirloom tomatoes
2 to 3 Persian cucumbers (halved, seeded and sliced at a diagonal)
1/2 a red onion (sliced into quarter moons)
One small block quality feta (not crumbled)
1/2 cup olive oil (if you don't have good quality oil, do 1/2 olive, 1/2 Canola) plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp red wine vinegar, or to taste
One small shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano, plus 1 Tbsp for tomatoes
Kosher Salt

Squeeze of lemon (Our addition)

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Make your olive croutons first; Campanile uses La Brea Bakery's Olive Oval. T
his bread is crazy good and definitely makes the salad unique, but you could buy olive bread from a local bakery or make your own with Kalamata olives.

Don't cut them; Mr. P likes to tear them so they're more rustic.

In a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until crispy. Keep an eye on them...

The only thing that crispy, should be us!

Now, while the croutons are baking, slice your tomatoes. Mrs. E suggests slicing them 1/2 an inch thick, from the top to the base. Spread your tomatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Next, make your oregano vinaigrette. Whisk the oil, red wine vinegar, shallot and oregano together, then salt to taste. We tarted it with a squeeze of lemon as well, because, well, we're Tarts. Now Mrs. E suggests mixing a bit of the dressing with the feta and letting it marinate.

We used a softer feta made from goat's milk, which we felt was too soft and bland. Next time, we'd use a flavorful, firm feta made from sheep's milk or cow's milk. We also used too much dressing on the feta and let it marinate too long, which broke it up too much. You want it to be nice, fluffy crumbles.

Now, slice your tomatoes into big chunks and toss with cucumber and red onion (we didn't use all of the onion) and dress to taste, but go easy. There's already oil on the tomatoes and dressing on the feta. Then crumble the feta on top and sprinkle with croutons.

And whallah!

This salad is so epic, all your friends will be asking you, "what'choo talkin' bout?"

And some of them may never leave. Like this guy.

Seriously, dude. Beat it.

We hope you love this salad as much as we do! If not, well...guess it's diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.


  1. THAT looks amazing! We have to make that!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing Tarts!

  2. that does look amazing!! i'll be expecting that at paul and i's welcome home dinner!!! ;)