What's your favorite Greek dish - and recipe?
My favorite is a gyro, but it was no ordinary gyro, and I can 't come even remotely close to duplicating the best one I'd ever had. It was in a mom and pop restaurant called, "House of Souvlaki." It was way back in the the early 1980's in college in Illinois. It has since folded and no one appears to know what happened to the Greek family who ran it.
What made it different was that they didn't use those horrible dry pita breads or worse, pita pockets. After much research on the internet, I think what they used was some sort of "Lavosh bread," which is very hard to find in this part of the country.
Theirs contained a garlicky brown sauce with onions and chunks of tomato (no cukes, no Tzatkik). I've tried to emulate it for eons and can't come even close other than cheating and using "Cavenders" greek seasoning and making a standard brown sauce. The gyro itself was almost a foot long, burrito shaped, wrapped in white paper which the owner would show you how to tear it off as you ate.
I never been able to copy it or find out what kind of regional "Greek" cooking it was.
I wish someone could help me out with a comparable recipe. Good luck!
I love Alevropita: Feta Tart. Great with drinks, great start for a less-heavy dinner.
6 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. vodka (if you like ouzo or retsina flavor you can use it; I don't happen to like them much)
1&1/4 cups sifted ap flour
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. baking powder
10 ounces Greek Feta, crumbled
2 T. unsalted butter, softened
Heat oven to 500. Put an 18x13x1" sheet into oven for ten minutes. Whisk together 2 T. oil, vodka, egg, and 1 cup water. In sep. bowl whisk flour, salt and baking powder. Combine wet and dry and whisk til smooth. Brush remainder of oil onto pan and add batter, smoothing out to cover pan evenly and fully. Evenly crumble feta over, and dot or drizzle with butter. Bake about 20 minutes, rotating if needed to ensure even browning. Should be crunchy!
These are good:
2 large eggplants
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored, rough-chopped
1 jalapeno, ditto
1 c. flat leaf parsley leaves
2 T. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste.
Toasted pita for serving
Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat gas grill or oven to highest possible heat. Grill or roast the eggplants, turning, until charred and soft, maybe 9-10 minutes. Let cool; peel and scoop out seeds. Chop eggplants and drain in strainer, 1/2 hour.
Heat 1/4 c. oil in med. skillet, med. high. Add pepper and cook 10 minutes; add jalapeno and let go 5 more minutes. Transfer to processor with eggplant, rest of oil and vinegar, parsley, etc. and process; texture should be somewhat chunky. Taste for salt to correct, and serve with the pita. i would walk over the barbeque barefoot for a dinner of this and lamb roasted with red wine and kalamatas and oregano.
Also a little off-thread: you can slice eggplant 1/4" thick, score and salt and drain, dry off and "sandwich" two slices with a paste made of romano cheese, egg, and some oregano. I haven't done it but I think some feta creamed into the paste would be tasty. Anyway, flour, egg, crumb, and saute until golden brown. We like these with olive-oil stewed tomatoes and onions. Enjoy.
Here's the moussaka recipe I like best. It's an Emeril recipe:
Even though I love lamb, I prefer to use all beef in this dish. It doesn't overpower the bechamel, which is my favorite part! I also go much lighter on the oil than Emeril calls for.
From Cyprus rather than Greece - afelia.
Small cubes of pork are marinaded in red wine and crushed coriander for several hours. Pork is the dried off and lightly fried to brown. Marinade and a little water goes back with the pork . Lid on and it simmers for around an hour.
I'd usually serve that with a pourgouri pilaff.
I love Greek food.
Saganaki: fried cheese
Tsatsiki: yogurt and cucumber salad
Melitzanosalata: eggplant salad of chopped grilled eggplant with tomato, onion, yogurt, etc.
Tiropetes and all the savory phyllo pastries
Garithes Youvetsi: shrimp baked in a sweet tomato sauce with feta cheese
My favorite memory : from a tiny shop in Athens, a slab of warm bougatsa, a sweet phyllo pastry filled with semolina custard.
Avgolemono. It's the only Greek dish I make, and I have no idea if the chicken with orzo (or rice) soup popular here is even remotely authentic. Over the years what I make has also come to incorporate elements from regional variations found in Iranian (Persian) and Georgian cooking, so mine is most certainly *not* authentic. I'm house-sitting for a friend at the moment, but can dig up a recipe in a few days if you like...
Okay, this isn't really an exact recipe, but you can't screw it up.
Hortopita (greens pie)
1 package phyllo, thawed (about 20 sheets)
1 lb spinach (FRESH) or some other green, such as kale, chard, dandelion greens or a mixture
1 bunch dill (medium to large), chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
about 1/2 cup Greek olive oil (may need more)
about 6 oz (or less) feta, preferably sheep milk feta, crumbled
Preheat oven to about 360-375 F. Grease a large baking sheet with a little olive oil. Wilt the spinach, scallions, and dill together in a skillet or microwave until they give up their moisture, then drain in a collander, squeezing a bit with a towel to remove moisture. Let cool. Remove a single sheet of phyllo, place on baking sheet and brush with the oil. Be generous, but don't let the oil puddle. Repeat with 9 more sheets. Spread greens mixture over phyllo, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then dot with cheese. Cover with a sheet of phyllo, brushing with oil and tucking under the sides of the bottom layer just to enclose filling. Top with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with oil. Score pie into serving pieces (square or diagonal) with a very sharp knife, but don't cut all the way thru bottom. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden.
Sorry so late responding. ZenSojourner is correct--the oil is from Greece. And I have to confess, I use it only because the Greek woman who gave me the recipe said to do so. I imagine you could use any EVOO you like that isn't bitter. Since you use so much of it in this dish the taste really matters a lot, so taste it first.
My favorite is Mayiritsa which is a Greek Easter soup. I'm not Greek, but have Greek friends who make this every Greek Easter. It uses all the organ meats (liver, heart, lungs, and other organ meats) along with onion, dill, romain lettuce, rice, green onion, lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper and simmer for a few hours.
Before serving you add the Avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce).
I wait all year for this and wish I had a recipe written down, but I don't.
A variant of this popped up recently. I tried it (with these modifications) and boy does it taste Greek, just like in a lower-class Athens neighborhood.
GREEN BEANS IN OLIVE OIL
1 lb fresh green beans
1/2 C choppen onions
3/4 C olive oil (I used this amount, but half as much would work, I believe.)
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic
11 oz. (2 small cans) low-salt V8
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
Heat olive oil, add onions and garlic, and fry until yellow. Add beans, salt and pepper, and fry gently 10 min. stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and V8. Cook gently uncovered until beans have absorbed sauce and are tender. Season to taste.
Serve room temp. or cold. Can be made a day in advance. Serves 4 as veg.