crisp feta, tomato & arugula salad

by Michael on August 19, 2012 · 21 comments

My wife is a good woman. Great wife. Wonderful soul. She would be destined for big things in a different era, one not made like the fabric of today. Rushed and thoroughly ruined. These days are hectic, troubling and, at times, unkind. No, she was meant for an era when things slowed down, people shared in their community and shared their good fortune with others. A time when hard work and honesty were rewarded.  A far cry from these days when people tell tales, slide the truth and offer up illusions in place. She’s kind, generous and real. She is always looking out for others. But mostly looking out for me.

She is my all. Of all everything.

Although I cook she offers up advice and suggestions. Always making sure we have our share of healthy options on the plate. And always, yes always, making sure I make a salad. And enjoy it. Yet, I haven’t. We eat well, but could definitely eat better. Make better choices and soak up all the goodness offered to us. And knowing all the wonderful things I know about my wife, you’d think I would have listened a whole lot sooner. For my own good.

We’ve made a decision. Starting now. Not a diet, nor a fad. A lifestyle change. Enjoy whole foods, wonderful foods. Eat off the land  a little more and celebrate it. Snack better, eat wholesome foods and always enjoy a salad. To start the meal or end it. This isn’t saying we’ll never indulge. We like our occasional baked goods, stiff drink and plate of comfort food. But we’ll be more alert to the choices we make. The food we consume and share with others. And change has to start somewhere.

This salad is everything I wrongly assumed salads couldn’t be. Incredibly vibrant and loaded with great flavours. And the options today are endless. In this case crisp, sautéed feta, fresh garden tomatoes, onions, arugula, cukes, olives and capers. All of that topped with a wonderful vinaigrette that really pulled it all together. One of the best tasting salads I’ve come to eat. And certainly one that I’ve made.

My wife. My dearest wife. I owe a lot to her. Become better because of her.  She always leads the way, tries to be better and do better.  Care for and watch out for me. She helps us enjoy the journey together. And does her best to make it last a bit longer. Better. One memorable event. Starting with one wonderful dish.

From my kitchen to yours,



Crisp Feta, Tomato & Arugula Salad


  • 2 thick feta slices, plus 2 tbsp. feta
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 thin slices of cucumbers
  • handful of arugula
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (or any variety you prefer)
  • 6 pitted green olives
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 fresh oregano sprigs
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of sugar
  • fresh cracked pepper

  1. Using a large fry pan over medium-high heat, add in a small splash of oil and, when hot, place the two thick slices of feta in the pan. Fry for 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on each side.
  2. Place a good handful of arugula leaves across the centre of the plate. Place the golden brown feta over top. Spread out half the onion, 3 slices of cucumbers and a tomato slice over top. Sprinkle the remaining cucumber slice, tomatoes, olives and capers around the plate. Garnish the dish with some basil leaves and an oregano sprig.
  3. Take the minced garlic, coarse salt, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and sugar and put everything in a mason jar. Tightly cover and shake vigorously.  Add in the fresh pepper and refrigerate.
  4. Pour some of the vinaigrette over top of the salad and serve.
  5. Serves 2.




Leave a Comment

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

The Kitchenmaid August 20, 2012 at 4:01 am

Gorgeous salad, gorgeous sentiments. Where can I find a wife like yours? Or where can I learn to become as zen as she sounds?


Jess August 20, 2012 at 5:06 am

Mmm, I love the idea of the crisp feta. I’ve seen it done with other cheeses, but never with feta, and I can imagine it brings so much to this dish. If you’re headed in the direction of more salads, this seems like an inspired place to start!


Jen @ Savory Simple August 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

What a beautiful salad! You and your wife both sound very lucky to have each other :)

Whole foods make me feel so much better, even though I love the other stuff. It’s great to make such a lifestyle change.


Michael August 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thanks Jen! And yes, we are. We’re definitely looking forward to it.


Brian August 20, 2012 at 8:53 am

I love it, my friend! I agree that eating more wholesome is the way to go. My problem is snacks. I need to get better about snacking on healthier foods. But I try to be good about everything else. :-)


Michael August 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thanks Brian! That’s my problem too. I love snacking!! This could be a problem.


marla August 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

Looks beautiful and delicious!! Glad to hear your wife is setting you straight ;)


Bev @ Bev Cooks August 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

I basically just need you to teach me your ways. All of them.


Wendy Lewicki August 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

You don’t make friends with salads. :)


Robin August 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I’ve never thought of enjoying feta this way. Well done!


Lori @ RecipeGirl August 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Well aren’t you just super sweet?! Very pretty post and such nice words for your wife too :)


Heidi @foodiecrush August 21, 2012 at 12:59 am

Whoa. This salad is AMAZING. I can see why you’re making the move to more fresh, wholesome foods if they’re going to look like this. I love the idea of cooking the feta, hadn’t thought of it, but I love haloumi so I’m betting it would be just as delish.


Kiran @ August 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

First timer here. I can’t believe what took me so long :D

Beautiful salad, Michael. And your story about your wife — pure love :)


Denise August 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Mike, I have been a bit of a stranger with regards to leaving comments the past few months. Life has been a whirlwind for us. This post touches me in so many ways. The love and respect you have for your wife is wonderfully humbling. I feel blessed just as you do. Lenny is always telling me the same sweet words, and I have to say, it is nice to hear. I can only imagine how loved your wife feels.

Like you both we are trying to add more of a wholesome “diet” to our lives. We eat well, but could always eat better. Lenny was diagnosed with very high cholesterol, recently, it also runs in his family. Even though we eat a pretty plant heavy diet we are adding more fruits and veggies, as well as cutting out diary. I cannot lie, I do sneak cheese every so often, and have a drop of cream in my coffee. I am going to have to make this salad, minus the cheese, as it sounds delightful. Not to mention … very pretty.

Thank you for provoking wonderful feelings. Your posts always do that to me.


Michael August 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for dropping in Denise! Life has a way of getting busy from time to time. I’m sure you’ll keep Lenny on the right track. We need our wives to do that sometimes.


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) August 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

This is a beautifully written post! What a great tribute to your wife, your love for her is so apparent. And this salad looks amazing! I’ve never thought to saute feta before…

Just discovered your site and can’t wait to stick around and discover more. I, too, am in the restaurant industry (after having recently graduated from culinary school), so its always nice to ‘meet’ someone with similar experiences. Definitely bookmarking this recipe for the future!


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul August 23, 2012 at 2:05 am

What a vibrant, gorgeous and summery salad! And I have to admit that feta looks beautiful all seared like that! And again Mike, your words are just so poetic!


Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings August 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

What a beautiful ode to your wife :) And a beautiful salad to start your new lifestyle change. I want to start the same lifestyle change – eating more wholesome, seasonal foods, but I’d have to convince my husband to join me in the journey! I’ve started with our kids, though. I insist on preparing every meal fresh for them, including my infant’s baby purees!


Gail at 2Create in Color September 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Sauteed feta: that really got my attention! This salad looks fantastic, and although I rarely use salad recipes, this one is Definitely On The List!!! Thanks!


Gail at 2Create in Color September 11, 2012 at 7:01 am

My family and I loved this salad, as I expected! But don’t try to “crisp” feta crumbles — tastes great, looks ridiculous! Here’s a pic:


Laura (Tutti Dolci) September 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Such a vibrant salad and a sweet tribute to your wife (p.s. I adore her ring!).


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