When I saw them on a menu at my favorite Greek Restaurant, “Dakos” were an appetizer listed that really intimidated me. “What in the world are dakos?, I thought. Could it be a Greek word for goat brains, bird wings, or rotten cheese? Is it a meat, a vegetable, or a dessert? What did the word “dakos” mean? I was intrigued and intimidated by dakos at the same time. I decided to be brave and order the dakos that night. Turns out, dakos are a light meal or appetizer popular on the island of Crete that is similar to what we call bruschetta. Not only is this a favorite starter in Greece, it turns out to be a favorite of mine as well. This recipe is meat-free, uses fresh vegetables, olive oil and bread- just like you would expect from the traditional Cretan diet. Traditionally, dakos are made with a thick crispy barley rusk, but you can use any crusty thick bread that you think you would enjoy. Dakos are very good with a glass of chilled Greek white wine such as Retsina. I know that the name may turn you away, but once you try dakos, you may even prefer them over the normal bruschetta you are used to. I learned not to judge a dish by its name, and I am now excited to try other things I would typically steer away from. Here is a quick and delicious recipe for dakos that you can easily make in the comfort of your own home.
Greek Dakos (or Greek Bruschetta)
1 large loaf crusty bread (or barley rusks)
3 large Roma tomatoes
1 jar capers rinsed and drained
Half a cup of feta cheese (or more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Fresh Oregano leaves
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Rinse and dice 3 large Roma tomatoes and then set aside. Warm or toast a loaf of your favorite crusty bread (or barley rusks) in 350 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes. Set loaf of bread on a large plate and while still warm, top bread with the diced roma tomatoes. Sprinkle with feta cheese and freshly ground pepper. Mix capers, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Spoon over the dakos. Garnish with chopped fresh oregano leaves and enjoy with a glass of white wine.