Special Request: J's Pitaria house salad is beautiful, simple

Special Request: J's Pitaria house salad is beautiful, simple

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Q • The house salad at J’s Pitaria isn’t a greens salad but a great combination of chunky diced tomatoes, peppers and red onion with feta cheese and fresh parsley. Would they share the recipe? — Bill Lamberton, Princeton Heights

A • When J’s Pitaria opened its second restaurant in South County late last year, owners Josi and Zamir Jahić added several new menu items, including salads and soups, to the Mediterranean menu of appetizers, gyros, sandwiches, pita, Mediterranean pie, desserts and more. As a note to our readers, the new salads and soups are available only at the South County location, which has a much larger kitchen than their original shop on Gravois in the Bevo neighborhood. 

J’s version of this classic Bosnian Sŏpska Salada is striking in its composition and color. “I searched for these deep glass bowls just for the look, and found them at Home Goods,” Josi Jahić says. “My mother made a salad similar to this when I was growing up. There are many versions of Sŏpska Salada, but this is the one we developed for our menu.”

The dressing, a slow pour of extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the bowl and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon, gets mixed in the bowl as the salad is eaten. “We use a Greek feta for this salad. As the feta mixes in with the tomatoes and cucumbers, it provides the just enough saltiness to the salad,” Josi says.

The tomatoes, red and ripe, are hand-selected by Josi’s husband, Zamir Jahić. “We don’t bring in cases of tomatoes from a large supplier,” he says. “We look for the best quality and buy fresh from local markets.”

Freshness and foods made from scratch are hallmarks of J’s cuisine. Zamir Jahić is the cook. He also bakes the fresh somun bread they serve each morning. The bright and airy space also features a small market with coffees, jams, chocolates and Bosnian specialties such as ajvar, a roasted red pepper spread.

The South County location offers three large salads — a donor salad (with gyros meat), a beautiful falafel salad and a Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken. The house salad featured today is on the side salad menu, along with a cucumber and yogurt salad and a fresh shredded cabbage salad.

Be sure to save room for traditional Mediterranean and Bosnian desserts, including baklava, apple pita and cupavci, a filled sponge cake wrapped in chocolate and covered in fine coconut.

J’s Pitaria Mediterranean Cuisine South County

91 Concord Plaza Shopping Center

314-270-8005; jspitaria.com

Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@post-dispatch.com.

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