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.



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.




Serves 3-4


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Beets and Greens with Skordalia (garlic sauce)

This garlic-scented combination of beets and greens, or green beans is served on many islands during the spring Lent, before Easter and all-through the summer. On other occasions, you will find it accompanying fried salt cod, fried anchovies or other humble fish. The skordalia (garlic sauce) in this particular version can be quite mild and creamy, like garlicky mashed potatoes, or more pungent, to your taste.

See also the unusual Pelion skordalia with unripe grapes or verjuice.



Serve the salad as a first course or as a side dish with grilled or fried fish.

Adapted from The Foods of the Greek Islands (Houghton Mifflin)



Makes 4-6 servings




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Clean Monday: an Unusual Greek Vegetarian Feast

The few tourists visiting the Acropolis on a Monday morning, late February or early Mars are surprised to see a steady flow of people, young and old, walking up towards Philopappou Hill, across from the Parthenon. 





Braving the chill and occasional light rain, these locals seemed to head to a common destination for an outdoor lunch, carrying not just bags brimming with food but also multi-colored kites. They were Athenians who liked to keep tradition and celebrate Kathari Deftera (Clean Monday), the first day of Lent, out of doors. As is the custom, on this day people gather on this historic hill to eat, drink, fly kites and dance to the tunes of live bands provided by the city’s municipality. (more…)


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