Tomato & Cretan Mizithra Salad
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Tomato & Cretan Mizithra Salad

During a long, lazy trip to Crete I discovered Mizithra…and devoured masses of it. Mizithra is a type of fresh, soft cheese that originates from Crete, is very similar to cottage cheese with its production resembling that of Italian ricotta. Mizithra has a creamy, full texture that melts in the mouth and tastes slightly sweet so pairs perfectly with ripe, juicy tomatoes. This salad is just what I needed on a hot summer’s day, with my mind on Mediterranean escapes.

Known as a “whey cheese”, Mizithra is fairly simple to make; the whey from previous cheese cheese is used and provide the acidity to curdle fresh milk – in the case of this cheese a combination of sheep and goat’s milk. It is produced in three different types; Mizithra, the fresh form is soft and sweet, Xynomizithra is the sour type, and the hard and most aged form is called Anthotyros.  

If you can’t get hold of Mizithra then you could substitute with ricotta salata, mascarpone or feta, but bear in mind that the texture of feta is slighlty different to fresh Mizithra.

Tomato & Cretan Mizithra Salad

Tomato & Cretan Mizithra Salad

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Course: LunchCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

This salad is just the ticket on a hot summer’s day, juicy tomatoes pair perfectly with this soft, creamy Cretan cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber

  • 2 large very ripe heirloom or beef tomatoes

  • 1 red pepper

  • 6 Kalamata olives, stones squeezed out

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 tsp capers, crushed

  • 1 preserved lemon, rind only, cut into thin slithers

  • olive oil

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 200 g fresh Mizithra cheese

  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped

Directions

  • Chop the cucumber in half lengthways and deseed it. Using a vegetable peeler, peel lengths of cucumber skin away to make a stripy pattern on the skin. This is complete unnecessary of course but it looks nice and makes the cucumber tough.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes, deseed and slice the pepper thinly, halve and finely slice the red onion and add everything to a large salad bowl along with the cucumber.
  • Add the de-stoned olives, crushed capers, a good glug of olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and almost all of the chopped mint (leave a bit of mint aside for garnishing). Toss gently.
  • Crumble over the fresh mizithra cheese and garnish with the remains mint leaves and another little drizzle of oil. Serve with toasted pitta bread, great also with grilled fish and meat.

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