Grilled Whole Fish in Chili, Garlic, and Mint Sauce

In Jaffa, the picturesque old city next to Tel Aviv, Margaret Tayar has a famous seafood restaurant specializing in Moroccan cuisine prepared in her distinctive way.  Her food –highly spiced and fragrant– is delicious.  She is known for her fish couscous and for her simple and delicious spicy grilled fish.  The recipe is my adaptation of Margaret’s fresh and zesty salsa that so well dresses the charcoal-grilled bream.  Serve with steamed potatoes, zucchini, and carrots.

 

 

Serves 2 (more…)

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Grilled Calamari Stuffed with Olives, Almonds, and Chili

Whenever we get good fresh calamari of any size, Costas, my husband, likes to stuff and grill it over charcoal, or on the portable electric grill. He doesn’t like the feta stuffing served with calamari at most Greek taverns, so he came up with this mixture of olives, almonds and chilies. Calamari is quite filling, so serve with just a green salad.

 

 

Serves 6-8

 

8-10 medium-small calamari (1 ½ -2 pounds), cleaned, bone discarded, heads separated

 

Marinade

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Good pinch Aleppo or Maras pepper, or Pepper Flakes to taste

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Baked Fish with Lemon, Potatoes, and Thyme

I first made it with striped bass –absolutely delicious—then with some small hake, and also with pelagisia tsipoura —wild gilt-head sea bream, called Orata in Italy, and Dorade in France– the exquisite, and most expensive Mediterranean fish. All three versions were great, especially with the thick-skinned, almost sweet lemons from the old lemon trees in our garden, which are of the vintage kind grown also  in Amalfi.

You basically need no recipe if you would like to make it. Bear in mind, though, that using head-on fish is really important as it flavors the sauce and the potatoes beautifully.  Read more HERE.

 

 

Serves 4 (more…)

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Chard Leaves Stuffed with Vegetables, Rice, Herbs and Fish

The garden offers me plenty of large chard leaves, often in different colors, all through May, and it is so easy to roll them into large bundles, preferably without blanching them first.

In my last book I have the vegetarian version of the stuffed leaves, although the original idea came to me from the salt-cod-stuffed lettuce leaves I had many years ago at a tavern near the archaeological site of ancient Corinth.  Here is my adaptation of that recipe.

 

WATCH the video

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Make the dish at least a day in advance and let cool completely before refrigerating; then you can serve it room temperature or reheat briefly reheat it. Accompany with yogurt, labne or with skordalia (garlic sauce).

 

Serves 6 (more…)

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Avgolemono: the Elegant Egg and Lemon Sauce

The most sophisticated of the Greek sauces, avgolemono, a sauce of eggs and lemon juice, seems to have its roots in the Sephardic agristada. It probably came with the Jews who settled in Greece in the 16th century, fleeing from Spain and the Inquisition. Lamb-Avgolemono

Agristada and avgolemono both cleverly use eggs beaten with lemon juice to create an emulsion which thickens the cooking juices, much in the way the French use tangy crème fraîche.

Avgolemono is used with meat, fish, or just with vegetables. Fish soup avgolemono is usually cooked during the cold winter months, and magiritsa, the traditional Easter soup prepared with lamb innards and flavored with scallions and dill, is popular all over Greece. The elegant avgolemono is often abused in restaurants where flour is used to thicken and stabilize it so that it can be endlessly re-heated. It is sometimes called ‘fricassée,’ from the French chicken dish whose white, flour-thickened sauce has neither eggs nor lemons.

Here on Kea I learned to make avgolemono with the winter wild greens that are cooked with pork, while in the spring it complements the local, thorny artichokes that we braise with fresh fava pods and complement with an extra lemony avgolemono made with the wonderful, deep-yellow yolks of my neighbor’s eggs.

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