This food hack was originally posted on July 25, 2012, but was re-published with a video.
Ancient Greece is known for wars of literally epic proportions, colossal monsters, god-human copulating, and of course heroes with bodies sculpted out of marble. Oh and it’s also known for being the birthplace of many things like the marathon, the Olympics, democracy, philosophy, mathematics, tragedy, comedy, and whatever else is in Wikipedia.
Nowadays and to us here on the opposite side of the world, Greece is known for its beautiful beaches, healthy and hearty cuisine, hot male models, God of War, and its alphabet contributing to fraternities and sororities all over the world. (Let’s be optimistic and completely overlook their economic crisis, ok?)
Then there’s Cyma, the restaurant that popularized Greek cuisine (with debatable authenticity) to our tropical shores.
Besides good Greek food and screaming waiters waving fiery plates, Cyma is known for mammoth-sized servings and wallet-weeping prices. For example, their famous salad, Roka Salata originally costs a whopping P330 for a “solo” serving. “To share” would cost P495, and a Family-sized bowl is P690. They forgot to include an arm and a leg while they were at it.
Perhaps this glorious salad directly comes from Mount Olympus and is prepared by the goddess of the harvest.
Being that we are of humble origins and we haven’t found a way to create a plant that constantly bears P1000 bills for fruit in order for us to partake in a complete meal at Cyma, we decided to take a crack at that blessed salad to start us off. And boy, did we come up with something revolutionary!
Humility aside, we honestly got a 100% Hackability on this one. Fine, maybe 99% if Cyma gets their ingredients from some obscure, expensive, and hipster supplier (or Mount Olympus). Luckily for you and me, the ingredients here came from regular, local groceries.
So, consider this an invitation to partake in showing the gods that you can prepare a perfectly perfect salad without offering the season’s harvest at an ancient temple. With a recipe like this, we imagine a shudder going through the Olympus’ kitchens as mortals successfully recreate this godly dish in their own kitchens.
Cyma Roka Salata
Serves: 2-3 people
Active time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup arugula
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 cup candied walnuts
2-3 tbsp Greek vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Walnut Praline/Candied Walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
For the candied walnuts, melt sugar in a pan, heat until it caramelizes.
Turn off fire and toss in walnuts.
Transfer to a foiled tray.
Cool and break into pieces.
Store in an air tight container.
To make the Greek vinaigrette, whisk together all of the ingredients until well incorporated.
Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
To assemble, put arugula and chopped lettuce in a bowl.
Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Sprinkle with the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes.
Transfer to a plate and top with shaved parmesan cheese.
Note: Chop lettuce prior to serving, never do it in earlier or in advance to avoid discoloration.