Dakos has become a bit of an obsession of mine and from ordering some bad and good ones and also making some bad and good ones I am getting a feel for the key points of this salad.
The dakos are a rusk made from wheat, barley or rye. I find that the darker the better flavour however sometimes they take a lot to soften. I can make this salad early in the day and the dakos will still have crunch in the evening or into the next day as leftovers even. The tomatoes need to be the very best quality juicy, summer ones bursting with flavour. I have hunted high and low though the islands for pickled caper leaves and finally found some in Patmos but obviously they are optional. They pickle them in a brine that is less salty and vinegary than capers and they are more delicate caper flavoured. That said the salad still needs the punch of the salty capers to balance all the flavours. I suspect you could replace the dakos with oven baked sourdough or Turkish bread – the taste of the dakos are great but it’s the texture of soft and crunchy that you are looking for. If you made it with other types of bread I would make it all at once and serve immediately.
Dakos to cover the bottom of a platter (about 3 pieces each for a hearty salad)
2 large very ripe best quality tomatoes finely chopped.
1 Lebanese cucumber finely chopped into the same sized pieces
½ red capsicum also chopped to same size
¼ red onion finely chopped generous handful of dry black olives
small handful of capers
caper leaves to cover salad (optional but great if you are lucky enough!)
crumbled feta or manouri cheese for the top.
Red wine vinegar
Spread the dakos on a platter. I have found its best to pour over some olive oil…more than a sprinkle but not too much and then more vinegar than oil to start the softening process. You want the rusks to be soft with some crunchy edges and not tooth breakers.
Top with the chopped tomatoes and leave for at least a few hours and up to a day for super dry rusks, in the fridge, which will allow the juices from the tomatoes to permeate the dakos.
When ready to serve top with cucumber, then capsicum, then onion. Sprinkle with capers , olives and caper leaves and dress with more vinegar and oil. (Go light with this and put oil and vinegar on table for adjustments if necessary.) Then top with cheese. Serve immediately.