During the long island feasts, in the wee hours of the morning, as the diners continue to drink, sing, and dance, a tigania is whipped up. It is a tradition that I have found extremely odd when I first encountered it, at a Kean wedding…
In Kea and the other Cycladic islands, during the heart of the winter, when seaside taverns are closed and the cold northern wind vigorously beats the deserted beaches, islanders slaughter their pigs. Pig-slaughtering is still an occasion to gather in this or the other home, eat and drink homemade wine and raki (grappa), while helping divide the meat, make sausages, and prepare the much- valued loza – wine-macerated pork loin which is spiced, inserted into the pork’s large intestine, and smoked for two days. Little trimmings of pork meat are cooked on the spot, or saved for other occasions. They are briefly sautéed in the skillet with wine and sweet spices, to be enjoyed with bread and plenty of wine. The dish is called tigania (tigani is the skillet) and it is served usually as a late night treat, on all sorts of occasions, after the meal and even after the sweets.
During the long Kean dinners, in the wee hours of the morning, as the diners continue to drink, sing, and dance, a tigania is whipped up. It is a tradition that I have found extremely odd when I first encountered it, at a Kean wedding. A waiter brought the pieces of meat to our table, after we had just finished ourgalatomboureko (milk custard). The whole restaurant was reserved for the wedding, but it never occurred to me that tigania was deliberately served, on top of our dessert, after an unbelievably rich meal. So I gave it back to the waiter, protesting that it was some kind of mix up and probably belonged to another table.
The first recipe is a more recent version with tomato, and is based on the tigania my neighbor, Zenobia Stefa, prepares every so often. The second is the older and most common tigania served in island taverns. Since in my house we hardly ever have occasions for a late night snack, I like to serve my tigania with tagliatelle or ziti, or with mashed potatoes, as a main course.
See the Recipe: Tigania & Tomato-less Tigania