Zambolis apartments

Zambolis apartments
For your holidays in Chania

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Dackos (dakos) (Κρητικός ντάκος - Cretan rusk salad)

This is the healthiest salad snack you can imagine. It has been immortalised all over Greece and is famous for its Hania origins. It is served in practically every single restaurant, taverna, cafe or kafeneio in the province. It is extremely easy to make. I don't know why it's called dackos (or dakos, or dako for that matter); the same name is also used for the troublesome fly that infests olives and ruins olive trees.

Use Cretan rusks (paximadi - παξιμαδι) for this recipe. These are bread slices that have been cooked twice and turned into thick hard dry slices. They keep well in an airtight container. They were probably made originally as a way of preserving bread, which was made by each household: to avoid kneading and cooking bread for the daily meal, a large amount was made and whatever wasn't eaten fresh was baked hard to be eaten later int he week (or month). If you can't get hold of such things, use stale sourdough bread, cut up in thick slices, and toasted or grilled just enough to make it firm. Do NOT use sliced bread, or any other mass produced bread that does not come from a traditional bakery. Only handmade loaves can replace Cretan paximadi rusks.
Take a few rusks and arrange them on a plate. If they are small, leave them as they are. If they are large, break them up into smaller chunks, or slice them in half and serve them individually. Drizzle olive oil over the rusks. Grate a generous amount of fresh tomato over the oil. It's important to pour the oil first, so that the rusks or bread do not become soggy (unless the paximadi is very dry-baked, in which case grate the TOMATO first, and then drizzle the olive oil over it). Top them with a swab of mizithra (ricotta-style cottage cheese - the traditional soft white cheese made in Crete). If you can't get mizithra where you are, use Indian paneer cheese, or Italian ricotta, or grated feta cheese. Sprinkle a little oregano on top. Don't season it with salt, because the cheese is probably loaded with it. Serve it with sliced cucumber and black or green olives. Without the cheese, it makes good lenten fare.

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  1. Hi, can anyone tell me where I can purchase barley rusks. I live in the UK and finding it impossible to locate anyone who will supply me. Thankyou Karen

  2. hi karen - that is a hard one. try the cypriot (greek or turkish) supply shops for a start. they should be able to tell you where they are sold. ask for these by name (paximathi) and tell them you're interested in the ones that aren't sweet (ie, they are like bread) - hope i have been of help

  3. Oooh I love these! Have tried different types (with/without cheese) all over the Chania area. They are like a meal to me. Such a delightful blog! Thanks.

  4. dakos rusks are definitely a wonderful meal - we eat them year round as an afternoon or evening snack, with cheese and olives or tomato and mizithra