Serving
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Soviet Shopska Salad
Balkan Region
  -   Shopska Salata
Serves:
Effort:
Time:
Preprep:  
6 salad  
**
2+ hrs  
Most
This salad recipe was composed (along with several others that didn't catch on) in the 1960s by Balkantourist in Bulgaria. It quickly spread through the entire Soviet Balkan region, though with various proportions of the ingredients. It appears to be a variation on Bulgarian Shopska which it has pretty much replace, even in Bulgaria. It is also known as "Bulgarian salad". Note that I have two very authoritative recipes with no cucumbers.



6
1/3
1-1/4
12
6
3
------
1/4
1/4
2-1/2
2-1/2
------
10
oz
t
#
oz
oz
T
---
t
t
T
T
---
oz
Cucumbers (1)
Salt
Tomatoes, ripe
Sweet Peppers (2)
Onions
Parsley
-- Dressing
Salt
Pepper
Oil (3)
Wine Vinegar (4)
-- Garnish
Sirene Cheese (5)

Make:   -   (2+ hrs - 35 min work)
  1. If you have small unwaxed CUCUMBERS, cut in quarters lengthwise and slice fairly thin crosswise. If standard waxed green blimps, peel, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed mass. Cut halves lengthwise into narrow strips and slice fairly thin crosswise.
  2. In a non-reactive bowl, tumble Cucumbers with 1/2 t Salt and let sit for at least 1/2 hour, preferably longer, tumbling occasionally. Rinse and drain very well in a strainer (this is to keep the salad from getting watery).
  3. Dice TOMATOES about 1/2 inch. Drain well (drink the juice with a little salt).
  4. Blast PEPPERS black with your propane torch (see Note-2). Brush off the skins. Stem and seed them, and cut into narrow strips about 3/4 inch long.
  5. Chop ONIONS fine. Chop PARSLEY fine. Mix with Peppers.
  6. Mix all Salad Items together well and chill thoroughly before serving.
  7. At serving time, mix Oil, Vinegar, Salt and Pepper in a small jar, shake it vigorously and stir it into the salad. Note: not much salt is needed because there is a little in the cucumbers and a fair amount in the Sirene cheese.
  8. Drain Sirene Cheese well and grate for garnish. Handle it gently or it will mush together. Top individual servings with the cheese (be generous here). Note: If serving buffet style in a big bowl, crumble the Sirene rather than grating it so it will be more durable and mix it in.
NOTES:
  1. Cucumbers:   If possible use Persian or European cucumbers that don't need to be peeled or seeded. If all you can get are standard green blimps, you need to peel and seed them. For details see our Cucumbers page.
  2. Sweet Peppers:   Light green Hungarian peppers were probably originally used, but today both green and red Bell Peppers are widely used. Some recipes call for them raw, but others call for them to be roasted and the skins brushed off. My skinning method leaves them almost raw, which is the way I like them. My opinion is that skinning them this way improves both texture and flavor.
  3. Oil:   While most recipes these days call for olive oil, some Bulgarian sources say the only way to achieve authentic flavor is with sunflower seed oil. This goes rancid quickly, so I rarely have it on hand and use instead pure olive oil (not virgin).
  4. Vinegar:   Recipes are all over the map here, from "a few drops" to twice as much as the oil. Here in California we like our dressings fairly tart, thus the equal amounts. Use your own best judgement here.
  5. Sirene Cheese:   This cheese is sold as "Bulgarian Feta" in North America, but in the EU, Greece has a monopoly on the word "Feta", so it is called "Bulgarian White Cheese" among other names. Easily available Turkish "White Cheese" is considered a much better substitute than Greek feta for this recipe.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar="as required tt=to taste
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