In Greek cuisine, dips are often referred to as a salad. This salad contains a most unusual main ingredient, one that is abundant, isn’t expensive, available everywhere and it’s a surprising taste sensation.
Want to surprise guests at your next dinner? Serve them some Parsley salad and see if they can guess what it’s made from! This salad is a specialty from the island of Syros. My first visit to Syros was in the early 90’s and this island is near Athens, it can be reached by plane or ferry boat and upon arriving into the main port of Ermoupoli, one is amazed at how big the main hora (town) is.
Homer mentions Syros in the Odyssey as “Syrii” and archaelogical findings on from the island date back to around 2800 BC. From looking at the size of Ermoupoli, it’s easy to fathom that this island and port was an important naval hub. Venetians once controlled the island, Turks conquered her but the island remained protected by France and the Vatican, what with it’s significant Catholic population.
Today, Syros has an equal amount of Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. Syros is the capital and administrative center for the Prefecture of the Cyclades. Many ferry boats stop off on this island and even if one isn’t paying a visit to Syros, the ferry boats are inundated with salesmen offering the passengers the local specialties of Loukoumia flavoured with rosewater (Loukoumia me Triantafyllo) and “halvadopites”, a nougat sandwiched between two thin wafers that taste much like an ice cream cone.
The focus of today’s post is however Syros’ Parsley Salad. I’ve known of this dip for awhile and I was skeptical of it’s taste until trying it just last year. Take a chance like I did and you will be rewarded with a delicious spread that’s perfect for Crostini or crusty bread, served as an hors d’oeuvres or a meze with a crisp, dry wine with some acidity or an Ouzo or Tsipouro.
To make this delicious dip, one only need a food processor, some day-old bread, garlic, capers, lemon juice, seasoning and for my own little twist, I added some almonds into the mix.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab a bunch of parsley and try out this whimsical dip. I’m making another batch today!
Parsley Salad (Μαϊντανοσαλάτα-Σύρου)
1 large bunch (or about 2 cups of fresh parsley)
1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. of capers, drained
2 cups of crumbled day-old bread
approx. 3/4 to 1 cup extra–virgin olive oil
(depending on the consistency you like)
1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 to 1Â lemon
salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, add your chopped onion, garlic, parsley, capersÂ and process into a puree. Now add your bread, the juice of 1/2 a lemon andÂ and process until the mixture is amalgamated.
- Now slowly add your stream of olive oil until you achieve an smooth mixture that holds together. (The amount of olive oil used depends on the consistency you prefer and on how absorbant your bread is)
- Add more lemon juice according to taste, process. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve at room temperature on Crostini, toasted pita bread or rustic bread.
NOTE: Sometimes I have parsley from my garden with thin, tender stems. This part of the parsley is often ignored or tossed when there is some great flavour to be had. Tender, thin parsley stems can be used in this mixture.
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