It’s a coincidence that Andronico’s is a Greek name (Greek American guy, actually) and that the recipe below is for a Greek-style pasta salad. Andronico’s has been in the news a lot lately because they were on the verge of going under and then purchased by an investor and “saved.” I should explain here, for those of you who didn’t grow up in the Gourmet Ghetto, that Andronico’s is the latest iteration of a grocery store chain in the Bay Area that used to be called Park ‘n’ Shop, although the Gourmet Ghetto Andronico’s, the one my mother lives in (or at least spends 20% of her week in — check with your tax accountant if she can deduct that) used to be the Co-op Market. The Co-op was a sort of hippy collective, unique to Berkeley in the 1960s and 70s but upscale, overpriced Andronico’s is much more in keeping with what the area is about now.
Can you tell I have a love/hate thing with Andronico’s? Love the assortment of weird, gourmet foods for sale. Hate that the tuna salad costs $7.99 per pound (who buys tuna salad anyway? — my Dad — that’s another story.). But the deli sandwiches are fantastic , the people who work there are mostly awesome — at this point they are like family (see above “living in Andronico’s”), and my Chicago-based nephews have spent so much of their summer and winter vacations there they would be devastated if our store closed — much like you would feel if your favorite summer camp were demolished.
So let’s hear it for Andronico’s. They have lots to offer. This salad, for instance, was not only inspired by the expensive one they had for sale in the deli case, it wouldn’t have been possible without their olive bar’s, adorable, and succulent (and convenient) pitted Nicoise olives ($9.99/lb. but it doesn’t take many) and the barrel-aged goat and sheep feta that I bet you can’t find many places. That was spendy too but I only used about $2 worth in this salad, which serves several.
Cool Greek Pasta Salad
1 lb. box of pasta — I used rainbow fusilli — cooked al dente
4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons good red vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion (chopped small as you can get it)
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup pitted olives (Kalamata, Nicoise or similar tart olive)
1/2 cup or more crumbled good feta cheese
Salt, pepper and dill to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add chopped onion and pepper. Allow to macerate for a moment before adding olive oil.
Stir in pasta.
Finish with olives, feta and dill.
Serve either warm or cold. If serving cold, add chopped cucumbers and tomatoes for a more traditional Greek salad experience. I left them out because I want to keep this salad fresh in the fridge for a few days and eat it during the heat wave, and tomatoes and cukes go limp and can’t be stored for long.