Michael Psilakis, chef and owner of New York restaurants FishTag and Kefi, shared a few things with us in PAEOI #3 including a recipe for a salad he likes to make for himself when he gets home from a long day. He also treated us to an incredible dinner at FishTag which included a Sea Urchin Crudo in Ocean Water and a grilled Branzino stuffed with head cheese and served with King Oyster mushrooms and broccolini. We weren’t able to include his recipe in the magazine, so please enjoy it here. I’ve made it many times already and it’s great.
Warm Feta with Tomato, Olive, and Pepper Salad
This super-easy and fast dish is a play on Saganaki—a typical tavern dish that melts cheese by grilling, broiling, or pan-frying. You could grill a large plank of feta and top it with this salad, but since this is a meze, I don’t want anyone to have to use a fork. Serves 10 to 12 as a meze.
1 small Spanish or sweet onion
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
9 caperberries, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons capers
9 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
9 cracked green olives, pitted and torn
9 Kalamata olives, pitted and torn
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
2 fire-roasted red bell peppers, home-roasted or from a jar, roughly chopped
9 Greek sardines or white anchovies (optional but seriously recommended)
9 small, picked sprigs dill
9 small, picked sprigs parsley
9 leaves basil
1/3 to 1/2 cup Red Wine-Black Pepper Vinaigrette*, or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 warmed or toasted pita breads, cut into wedges
1. Brush the onion slices with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. On a hot grill pan or in a cast-iron skillet, grill until tender and slightly char-marked. Separate into rings.
2. In a large bowl, combine the grilled onion, caperberries, capers, tomatoes, olives, red onion, roasted peppers, anchovies, dill, parsley and basil. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with oregano, and toss until evenly coated.
3. Scatter the feta evenly over the base of an ovenproof baking dish or gratin. In a microwave for 30 seconds, or under a broiler for 3 minutes, warm the feta until slightly softened. Top with the salad and serve with the pita wedges.
*Red Wine Black Pepper Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 small grilled onion
6 leaves basil
1 teaspoon picked thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 small garlic cloves, smashed
2 shallots, thickly sliced
2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine the vinegar, grilled onion, basil, thyme, mustard, garlic, shallots, oregano, salt, and pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper if desired.
You can buy issue #3 to read the rest of Michael’s story as well as the current issue, subscriptions and t-shirts all here at the PAEOI store!