Octopus or Fish Pie

Adapted from The Foods of the Greek Islands

The filling of this delicious pie from Cephalonia is unusual. The salty taste of seafood is complemented by the fresh flavor of zucchini, tomatoes, onions and garlic. The pie needs long, slow baking so that the rice can absorb the moisture in the filling and cook. The result is unbelievable. Octopus pies, a typical Lenten dish, are also prepared on Lesbos and other islands of the Aegean, but I love this particular version because of the special fragrance the cinnamon gives it.

This is a large pie, but any leftovers keep well for about 3 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months, wrapped in aluminum foil and sealed in a zipperlock bag.

Octopus-PIE-triple-Sw

I often make it into small individual pies, especially if I use our homemade phyllo. Leftover, charcoal-grilled octopus can also be used in the stuffing, and a bay leaf at the bottom of the pan makes the pies fragrant.

 

Makes 10 to 12 servings    (more…)

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Read More

Charcoal-Grilled Octopus, Marinated

Octopus-Grilled-Sw

20-Octopus-grill-S

This is a much anticipated dish, part of the various, seasonal meze we serve during the welcome dinner for our Kea Artisanal guests. It is quite easy to prepare, as you can blanch the octopus and keep in the marinade for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Just before serving heat the broiler or fire the BBQ and grill briefly over very high heat, just to caramelize the skin.

 

Serves 6-8 as meze  (more…)

Read More

Tarama Spread (Taramosalata) or Smoked Herring (Rengosalata)

Fortunately, now we can get good quality carp roe –a far cry from the salty and tasteless, red-dyed one– so you can choose to make either taramosalata, or the more smoky-pungent rengosalata, using herring eggs, if you find them, or just the smoked fillets for the spread.

Taramosalata-served2-Sw

Herring-Tarama-Sw

Mine is not pink, but light green, as I use almost the entire, juicy scallions from my garden. The recipe evolved from my mother’s rengosalata –smoked herring or kipper spread– the meze she always served on Kathari Deftera (clean Monday), instead of the more common taramosalata.

An official holiday, Clean Monday marks the end of the Carnival and the beginning of spring. It is probably the continuation of ancient pagan feasts that have been incorporated to the Christian tradition. People eat outdoors —even if the moving feast happens on a cold February day— they fly kites, consume lots of wine and ouzo, and dance until sunset.  See MORE here, and also in my previous post about some of the food I had prepared, and if you like, read a more extensive account about the customs and roots of this unusual Greek feast, and also about the lunch I had organized at the Oxford Symposium inspired by Kathari Deftera.

Taramosalata-ingredients-Sw

(more…)

Read More

Marinated Sardines, Anchovies or Mackerel Fillets

Sardines & bread1 SUse my recipe for marinating the oily fish as a base, adding your favorite herbs or substituting scallions for the garlic. Let the fish ‘cook’ in the marinade for a few hours or overnight, or even better make it a full day in advance.

Sardines SServe on slices of crusty or toasted bread, as part of a meze spread, or take my lead and serve as main course, complementing greens, vegetables, beans or grain dishes – Sardeles Marinates is extremely versatile and easy to pair.

SERVES 4-6
(more…)

Read More

Chard Leaves Stuffed with Fish, Rice, Vegetables and Herbs

The garden offers me plenty of large chard leaves in different colors, all through May, and it is so easy to roll them into large bundles without the need to blanch them first. Make the dish at least a day in advance and let cool completely before refrigerating; then reheat briefly or just bring to room temperature and serve with yogurt or with skordalia (garlic sauce).

6-chard-dolma-cooked-1-small

Serves 6 (more…)

Read More

Shrimp Saganaki with Greens, Scallions, Herbs, and Feta

I tasted the tomato-less version of saganaki in Chalkidiki, in northern Greece, many years ago. It was prepared with the local mussels which were wonderful. But in my kitchen in Athens, as I was trying the recipe, I had to use frozen mussel since fresh ones were not readily available then, and the result wasn’t great. I decided to substitute shrimp for the mussel and I loved the dish, so I included it in my first book The Foods of Greece (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1993).

Shrimp-Saganaki-Sw

In my original recipe I gave the option of mussels or shrimp, but over the years I have decided that the shrimp’s sweetness is perfectly balanced with the lemony sauce, the herbs and the briny feta. It is a matter of taste, of course, but I definitely prefer shrimp for this soupy saganaki.

shrimp-greens-bread-a

Serves 3-4
(more…)

Read More