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Cretan Dakos Recipe: The Most Traditional Cretan Salad

by Crete Locals

  • Posted 1 year ago

Traditional Cretan Dakos, an effortless and delectable dish, often equated to “Greek bruschetta,” is a common meze or light meal which is part of Traditional Food in Crete. Requiring no cooking and minimal ingredients, this dish is also known as ntakos or koukouvagia, with different regions of Crete often assigning their own unique names to it.

Traditional Cretan Dakos

The main component of Dakos is barley rusks, known locally as kritharokoula, a type of hard, twice-baked bread that is a Cretan speciality. Crete’s rusks are distinct, typically composed of barley flour, or a blend of barley and whole wheat flour. The inclusion of sourdough extends their shelf-life considerably, making them the bread of choice in times past when regular baking wasn’t a feasible option.

The robust rusks necessitate rehydration before use, which can be accomplished either by spraying them with water or by giving them a brief soak. Cretan rusks can easily be found in any local stores in Crete, can be sourced from online Greek food stores, crafted at home, or substituted with a thick slice of grilled or toasted rustic country bread. Regular bread, being significantly softer than rusks, would not require the rehydration process.

Traditional Cretan Food – the healthiest diet in the world

The topping that completes this appetizer comprises olive oil, shredded tomato, and Greek cheese. Aged mizithra is the traditional cheese utilized in Crete for this dish, though crumbled feta cheese can be used as a substitute. The recipe may also include additions such as capers or olives.

Since Greek tomatoes are abundantly juicy due to the ample sunlight, the majority of the liquid is drained off post-grating to avoid sogginess. While it’s essential to soften the rusks for palatability, over-saturation with tomato water should be avoided.

In the same vein as bruschetta, dakos is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. For convenience, the grated tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator a few hours ahead of time, enabling swift assembly of the dakos when desired.


  • 1 large round barley rusk
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons feta cheese, or aged mizithra, crumbled or grated
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Greek oregano

Let’s start cooking!

  1. Assemble all the necessary ingredients.
  2. Either spray the barley rusks with water or give them a brief soak in a bowl of water to hydrate. If your tomatoes are exceptionally juicy, you could also utilize the juice from a freshly grated ripe tomato to moisten the rusks, which can impart a far superior flavour than mere water.
  3. Take one of your tomatoes and split it lengthwise. Grate both halves into a bowl, discarding the skin afterwards.
  4. Dice your second tomato and combine it with the grated one in the bowl. Incorporate olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  5. Use either a fork or your hands to crumble the feta or mizithra cheese.
  6. Layer the rusks with the tomato mixture, then add the crumbled cheese.
  7. Garnish with a handful of olives and a sprinkle of oregano. Drizzle additional olive oil on top, adjusting the quantity to suit your preference.
  8. Allow the preparation to rest for approximately 5 minutes.
  9. Time to dig in and relish your homemade dakos!

Bon Appetit!

Time to dig in and relish your homemade Dakos!

Traditional Cretan Dakos Salad Recipe: Step by Step Guide

Traditional Cretan Dakos Salad Recipe: Step by Step Guide

Alternative Version

Some people enjoy incorporating a few slender slices of bell pepper and/or onion. While these aren’t components of the classic Cretan recipe, they can certainly be included if you prefer.

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