A Cretan dákos is a traditional Greek meze appetizer that consists of a soaked barley rusk topped with olive oil, chopped tomatoes, feta cheese, herbs and the oh-so-omnipresent Kalamata olive. We don’t have barley rusks here in the US (maybe something to import in our next round of goodies?!), but you can substitute it with leftover bread that you can dry further in the oven until it becomes hard.
It's a very satisfying experience to eat a dákos: it’s crunchy, juicy, salty, flavorful and very healthy, especially if you can find the barley rusks that are full of fiber. Here is the easy and versatile recipe to help you mark the end of the Greek summer; I've given the ingredients for my own solo lunch but you can easily multiply to serve several people at a lunch or dinner.
Ingredients for Cretan dakos
1 barley rusk or 1-2 slices of dried, toasted French bread
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you like cheese)
Quickly pass your barley rusk under running water. Skip that step if you are using your dried bread.
Chop the tomatoes and keep the juices.
Put your rusk or bread at the bottom of a plate or salad bowl.
Top with half the olive oil.
Top with the chopped tomatoes and spread evenly so that the juices will be absorbed by the bread or rusk.
Top with the feta cheese, the herbs, the rest of the olive oil and garnish with a sprig of sea fennel. Enjoy!
Let your dákos sit for a little, the more the juices penetrate the bread the more tasty it becomes. For an extra touch of color, garnish with a sprig of sea fennel.
As an alternative, break up your rusk or dried bread and put the pieces at the bottom of your salad bowl when you make a Real Greek Salad. Then enjoy all the concentrated flavor in every bite of that bread!
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