Fish Soup: Between Kakavia and Bouillabaisse

My fish soup, as I learned to make it from my mother, is time consuming, but wonderful, although not really a glorious bouillabaisse.

Its flavor depends on the incredible freshness of the simple fish I use, which in most cases is almost alive when I get it from the caïque, less than a few hours out of the water.

I usually make the broth the day before, refrigerate it, then finish the soup the next day.

 

In kakavia, the traditional fish soup of the Greek fishermen, all kinds of small fish that cannot be sold, the cheapest kinds you find that are not suitable for grilling or frying, are boiled for with plenty of olive oil and a few vegetables and herbs, until the flesh almost falls from the bones and the vegetables are very tender. Then all trhe ingredients of the pot are strained, and fish witrh vegetables served in a platter along with the broth which is dressed with more fruity olive oil and lemon juice. I heard that in Provence the somewhat scarry weevers are considered ideal for the bouillabaisse; we also use them in this simple traditional fish soup. (more…)

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Broccoli and Pepper Gratin with Yogurt and Feta

We love to eat this vegetarian, olive oil gratin all year round, especially these late fall days using locally grown, deliciously tender and flavorful broccoli, and the last long peppers we gather from the garden.

The tanginess of yogurt accentuated by the crumbled feta beautifully complement the sweetness of the broccoli and the peppers.

 

 

Serves 5-6: 12X9-inch (30X20cm) glass casserole (more…)

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Bouyourdi: Grilled Feta, Tomato, and Pepper

Bouyourdi hardly needs a recipe.  One or two slices of good tomato, a lavish slice of Feta cheese and pieces of bell and hot pepper are doused with olive oil, generously sprinkled with oregano and grilled in a very hot oven. Bouyourdi is brought to the table directly in its baking dish, often individual clay pots, and enjoyed with plenty of fresh crusty bread to sop-up the scrumptious oil. Although served as a meze in Greece, it can also be a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish for the whole family …Read more.

 

This very simple, absolutely irresistible meze is a somewhat recent addition to the summer menu of Greek taverns. It probably has its roots in the fried or grilled peppers with batzos – a quite pungent, semi-hard cheese from Thessaly and Macedonia. The irresistible meze was probably first served in Thessaloniki taverns and the surrounding areas, and was eventually adopted by home and restaurant cooks all over Greece.

 

 

Serves 4

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Feta in Phyllo Packages

I first had this clever and simple version of feta package in Eumelia, the Organic Agrotourism Farm in southern Peloponnese. Marilena, the owner, cook, and instructor, served us a large, home-rolled phyllo and feta package, which, as she explained, she prepares in advance, freezes it, and then briefly fries in a hot oil skillet whenever she needs to present a quick snack or meze. Her twist on the common phyllo triangles served at most taverns, is that the thin slices of feta inside the frozen phyllo are adequately heated through as the package is briefly fried, becoming particularly delicious. The soft cheese does not disintegrate inside the crunchy phyllo, as in most versions of the appetizer.

 

Chef Uri Eshet at Kea Retreat serves the packages with sliced figs; you can pair them with other fresh, seasonal fruit and/or with fruit preserves. Drizzle with honey or any syrup, and sprinkled with sesame seeds or nigella, if you like.

 

I bet that this easy, convenient, and delicious morsel, whipped up with commercial phyllo, will become your next favorite appetizer.  The pieces are quite filling, so one per person is enough.

 

To make 9 feta-phyllo packages (more…)

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