Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Shopska Salad

Shopska salad is a traditional Bulgarian dish that is popular in the Balkans. It is a fresh, flavorful, and colorful salad that consists of chopped vegetables, mainly tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, combined with the characteristic Bulgarian cheese called sirene. The dish is simple yet delicious, offering perfect flavors and textures.

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Shopska Salad Preparation time

Approximately 15 minutes

Ingredients (for four people)

  • 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes (approximately 400g)
  • 2 long cucumbers (approximately 300g)
  • 1 green bell pepper (approximately 150g)
  • 1 red bell pepper (approximately 150g)
  • 1 small red onion (approximately 100g)
  • 200g sirene cheese (or feta cheese as a substitute)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Method to prepare the Shopska Salad

  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Peel the onion.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into small wedges or bite-sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.
  3. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds or half-moons and add them to the bowl.
  4. Remove the seeds and white membranes from the bell peppers, cut them into thin strips, and add to the bowl.
  5. Thinly slice the red onion and add it to the salad.
  6. Crumble the sirene cheese over the vegetables or cut it into small cubes.
  7. Whisk together the sunflower oil and red wine vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.
  9. Serve immediately, or let it rest for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Tips and Tricks

  • For a more authentic taste, use Bulgarian sirene cheese. You can use feta cheese as a substitute if it’s unavailable.
  • Use ripe, high-quality tomatoes to ensure the best flavor for your salad.
  • The salad is best served cold, so consider chilling the vegetables in the refrigerator before preparing the salad.
  • Add a little heat, include a finely chopped chili pepper, or sprinkle some paprika.

Storage Suggestions

Shopska salad is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. The vegetables may release some liquid during storage, and the flavors might intensify. It is not recommended to freeze Shopska Salad due to the high water content of the vegetables.

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