Braised Greens and Potatoes with Lemon and Fennel (Yahnera)

In Crete, sweet and tart greens–tender pea shoots, sow thistle, wild spinach, sorrel, wild leeks—and if available tender fava pods, sweet peas, or a couple of artichokes bottoms and their peeled stems are all braised together with lots of wild fennel fronds. Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives zest to the stew. The potatoes taste wonderful as they soak up the aromatic juices.

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Makes 4 servings (more…)

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Spicy Sausage with Quince (or apples) and Red Peppers

I am using tart quince with plenty of sweet peppers to complement the strong flavor of spicy Kean sausage. Quince and tart Granny Smith apples are, besides pumpkin, the only new interesting fruit that I can use as vegetables on the dead season, before the local cabbages and the fresh wild greens are harvested.

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Serve with crusty bread or with rice or bulgur pilaf. (more…)

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Patates Riganates – Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Oregano

Adapted from Foods of the Greek Islands (Houghton Mifflin)

Few people can resist these potatoes, which are capable of stealing the show from any food they accompany, even from the lamb —so make sure you have plenty for seconds. Although it is served all over Greece, this dish is particularly good on islands like Naxos, or here on Kea, where the local potatoes have exceptional flavor.

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On the special days when a leg of lamb or a chicken is roasted, the potatoes may also be cooked in its juices. If you want to cook this dish using small potatoes there is no need to peel them, but I suggest that you halve them, because they taste best when they can absorb the sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (more…)

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Nettle Soup with Mushrooms and Yogurt

Traditional nettle soup from the north of Greece is thick and creamy with a fair amount of toasted flour to make it a nourishing winter dish. I prefer this much lighter first course which can be served cold in the summer, if you keep wilted nettles in your freezer, as I do. If nettles are not available, make the soup with just the outer leaves of Romaine lettuce, some spinach leaves, and plenty of parsley.

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Serves 4-6 (more…)

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Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Gemistes)

Kaliope Delios, who, together with her husband, owns the tavern Castro in Avgonyma, Chios, makes delicious stuffed tomatoes. She uses plenty of wild fennel, together with fresh mint from her garden to flavor the simple rice stuffing. Since wild fennel is not readily available in the US, I substituted fennel bulb and dill, and the result was very good. Arborio rice is a good substitute for the common, medium grain Greek rice used in all sorts of stuffings. Prepare domates gemistes a day in advance and keep in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature before serving.
Fragrant and sweet, these stuffed tomatoes are delicious when accompanied by feta cheese and fresh crusty bread.

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TO SERVE 6 (more…)

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