First, the salad is served on a base made of puff pastry. It will look like a picture frame with the salad greens mounded on top. The dressing is delicious, with the use of three citrus fruits – lemon, orange and grapefruit.
The final touch is making Kopanisti cheese, something found in the Aegean Islands but not sold here in Canada or the US. Inspired by Agalaia Kremezi’s version for homemade Kopanisti, I made my own version based on my taste preferences. You can adjust the taste to your liking but make sure you use Feta and blue cheese and a touch of mint for the back ground.
Festive Salad With Kopanisti Cheese, Walnuts, Green Apples
2 packages of frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in your fridge
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 Tbsp. of cream
4 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup goat’s milk Feta cheese
4 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
1/2 tsp. hand-rubbed dry mint
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. of Tsipouro (raki) without anise (or grappa) or vodka
fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Dressing
1/4 cup of finely diced shallots (or red onions)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. Dijon honey
juice of one lemon
juice of one orange
juice of 1/2 grapefruit
2 Tbsp. Ouzo
approx. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
sea salt to taste
1 cup of mixed salad greens per serving
sliced green apples (tossed in lemon juice to deter browning)
approx. 1 1/2 cups of walnuts
approx. 1 cup of pomegranate seeds
- Pre-heat your oven to 375F. Take your puff pastry out of the fridge and place on your work surface. Cut each sheet into 4 equal squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Now take a take a sharp knife and and “L” in the two opposite corners of each square, a half-inch in from the perimeter (leave about 12 inch in each corner in tact). Now lift the corners of the pastry and cross them over each over and lay on the opposing corner to form an elevated border for your pastry shell. Now poke the middle of each square with a fork (so it doesn’t puff) and bush the edges with egg wash. Place in your pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until just golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- To make your dressing, into a large bowl, add your shallots and vinegar and allow 5 minutes for the vinegar to mellow the shallots. Meanwhile, extract the juices of your lemon, orange and grape fruit. Now add the mustard and honey and whisk in followed by the lemon, orange and grapefruit juices and Ouzo. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and while whisking, slowly add your olive oil until you’ve achieved the consistency you like for your dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
- To make the Kopanisti, finely chop your sun-dried tomatoes and place in a bowl along with the Feta and blue cheese. Mash the cheese with a fork and mix. Now add the mint, Tsipouro and olive oil and mix again. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Rinse and run your salad greens in a salad spinner then place in a large bowl with the green apples. Add some dressing and toss gently with your hands. Add more dressing if needed and toss once again.
- Place your puff pastry shells on each plate and add a mound of dressed greens on top followed by some walnuts, pomegranate seeds and a tablespoon of Kopanisti in the middle and serve.
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