Greek Sandwich Salad Style

Recently, I went to dinner with my uncle (known as Uncle), who is Gran Fran's brother. For the most part, I'm a lettuce with olive oil and salt kind of salad girl. Uncle ordered just this as his salad, which floored me. I hadn't realized there maybe a family connection to my style of salad. He told me that he has always eaten his salad this way, and that he thought it did come from his parents. Who knew?!

Warm weather has arrived in San Francisco. You never know how long this nice patch of weather will be in town, so it's fun to pretend like we have seasons and cook like it's going to stay warm for a few months.

This weather puts me in the mood for a good salad. I made a nice roast pork with Greek flavor a few weeks ago, reminiscent of a the Greek sandwich I had in Paris.  Since I have salad on my mind, I decided to take all the Greek sandwich fixings and make a huge salad.

Seeing as I don't usually make fancy salads (except for my salad nicoise) , I really had to think about how to layer everything in. Some special dressing, which includes Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice, added a nice extra kick. It's earthy, sour, salty and just interesting. You can just use oregano here, but I love the unexpected flavor.

You don't have to follow my ingredients exactly, but do put the roast pork, red onions and fried potatoes in the salad as these are the keys to the Greek sandwich-ness of the salad.

Greek Sandwich Salad Style


serves 2

  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
  • 2 potatoes, oven fried (recipe here)
  • 8 slices of Greek roast pork (recipe here)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks
  • 8 to 10 small tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Za'atar spice blend or dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Lay the romaine on a platter, making a mound in the center.
  • Layer on top the red onions, potatoes, tomatoes and red bell peppers, with the pork on top.
  • Put the mayonnaise, olive oil, Za'atar (or oregano) and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix until combined.
  • Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve.

You can put some nice warm pitas out on the table to serve with this great salad.


I Love My Electric Knife

I made two roasts recently (roast pork and roast beef). In the midst of preparation, I came across an America's Test Kitchen review of electric knives. It had been a long time since mine had seen the light of day. I was glad for the timely reminder to get my out of the cabinet.

I'm so happy I did. Check out these slices of meat. They were thinner and more even than I could've managed with my carving knife alone.

Joe (my dad) used to be in charge of the electric knife. I've mentioned before that Gran Fran is anti-sharp anything, and that she doesn't like gizmos or gadgets in her kitchen. The only electronic appliance I ever see her use is her Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Even her coffee is made with a filter set on top of her mug. Needless to say, there was often a lot of drama around Joe using the electric knife. Gran Fran would clear the room of all children and hold her hand to her mouth, cringing all the while Joe was cutting up whatever nice roast they had made for dinner.

Fast forward to present day SF. I called Gran Fran in NY to get her advice on the cooking temperature for the roast beef and mentioned I'd be using my electric knife to slice the roast. After an audible gasp, Gran Fran told me to call her after I had finished slicing the roast so she knew I'd made it out with all of my fingers and limbs intact.

Guess what...I made it out alive, all limbs and digits still adhered to my body, with a perfectly sliced roast on my table.

Roast Pork: Greek Style

It's no secret that I love a good pork roast. The fat. The meat. The flavor.

Recently, I reposted a post from my trip to Paris in 2010. It covered my feeling towards my first (and only) Parisian-style Greek sandwich. It was great. Check out the picture of it (and me) here.

I decided to make a roast that would mimic the flavors of the meat in the Greek sandwich, while still being not too much work. The recipes I found all involved cutting the raw meat into thin slices, marinating them and then quickly panfrying or grilling them. I didn't want to take the time, nor did I have any interest in cutting up raw meat.

My method uses all the same spices, but with way less effort. I simply marinated the whole pork roast in a mix of herbs, spices and vinegar. The end result tasted very close to the real thing, though I know if I'd taken the time to actually slice up the meat and marinate thin slices, they would absorb even more of the great flavor.

I ended up making a Greek Sandwich Salad (read: no bread, but all the other great stuff that was in the original sandwich) with the cooked roast. Using my handy electric knife, I was able to slice the pieces nice and thin, which let the with plenty of delicious pork roast for the week to come.

Greek Spiced Roast Pork


  • 2 pound pork loin roast
  • 2 tablespoons crushed oregano
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold the roast, mix together all the spices and cider vinegar.
  3. Put the roast in the bowl with the spice mixture, turning to coat all sides.
  4. Leave in the marinade for at least thirty minutes and up to overnight. If you are doing a longer marinade time, cover and refrigerate the bowl.
  5. Once the roast is marinated, remove it from the bowl and place on a rack on top of a roasting pan.
  6. Roast for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit for ten minutes before slicing.
  8. Slice thinly (I love to use an electric knife here) and serve!


"Next time you visit, we're going to Ave. A and E. 7 St. for genuine porchetta sandwiches at a place called--what else? Porchetta."

This is from an email from Gran Fran regarding where we can get a good version of the much-loved Porchetta of Northern Italy. We went to Italy for a month in 1989 along with a group from my college. Gran Fran was recently unemployed, and had never been to Italy, so she decided to join us.

We arrived in Rome, got on a tour bus and drove into the Tuscan hills. Our accommodations were thanks to a generous convent who rented rooms out to supplement their Honey production-based income. There are a number of hilarious episodes that I can recall, the best of which involved me and a bunch of other girls, fairly sloshed, raiding the nun's pantry well after midnight. Our take? Those little dry toasts you use instead of crackers. Apparently, this was all we were after, which is funny since there were countless containers of delicious honey everywhere.

Both Gran Fran and I love a good piece of roasted pork skin. When we realized that there was a dedicated Porchetta truck twice a week at the outdoor market, I thought our heads might explode from joy. And, a little later in our stay, we figured out that the local Rosticceria offered a pretty good version on a daily basis, as well.

The greatest part about Porchetta, is it's skin. Crispy and salty, roasted to a perfect potato-chip like crunch, it can't be beat. In NY, Ms. Gran Fran proved that she knows her daughter all to well by requesting extra skin on my serving. The server happily obliged and we were thrilled.

Porchetta NYC is a very small place, with only 6 bar stool seats total inside, and a small enclosed bench area outside. It's totally worth the wait for a seat, if you don't want to eat on the run, especially because you get to enjoy the porchetta aroma while you eat. The potatoes are fantastic, and I believe they were cooked in the drippings from the Porchetta. Joy! Crispy and salty (see my description of the skin above) and a perfect texture to go with the meat.

I ordered the Porchetta plate (no bread for me), which came with some great sauteed greens, Kale, I think. The white beans that came with it weren't really my thing, but they definitely had a nice flavor that cut through some of the saltiness of the meat. Oh and the meat! So good, just like the real thing in Italy. I highly recommend a sojourn downtown to get yourself some of this delicious treat.

If you happen to live here in SF, you can find a very good Porchetta (sandwiches or by the pound) via the Roli Roti truck. You may have to wait up to 45 minutes for your food, but it's totally worth it. Make sure to ask for extra pork skin on your sandwich, and maybe ask them to go light on the onions as they sometimes over power the pork-i-goodness.

I have yet to make my own, but have been told this Mario Batalli Porchetta recipe is the way to go. My brother-in-law and I have been talking for years about attempting this, but haven't done it yet.

We have, however, ordered the following Porchetta from ....Costco! I know, it's crazy, but it was really good. If you're interested in having one for Christmas, order it now, they do run out.

In closing, all I can say is, seek out Porchetta wherever you may live or visit. Drop me a note letting me know where other hidden Porchetta gems may live!