Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
 
 
 
 
 
  SAUCE MAGAZINE
|
Oct 24, 2017
|
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
|
SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

Posts Tagged ‘Greek food’

By the Book: À la Grecque, Our Greek Table by Pam Talimanidis

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

BTB_Oct16_Round3_1

 

Thus far in our By the Book challenge, the selected Greek cookbooks have produced delicious Mediterranean dishes, but they were surprisingly lax in their instruction. À la Grecque had its confusing moments, but considering the vagaries of the previous cookbooks, it was downright educational.

This recipe called for saffron, which I always regarded as an unnecessary luxury in my kitchen. But once I bit the bullet and purchased a half-gram from Penzey’s (only $9), I learned a little goes a long way. A wee pinch turned the onion-based sauce a lovely golden hue – and I still have plenty of those delicate red threads to make paella.

Once browned, it only took 20 minutes of braising for the chicken to cook through. The meat fell from the bone when I served it the next day; though to be fair, a rest overnight likely contributed to that tenderness. A quick note: This dish must be served over a base of rice or couscous, which will absorb the salty, schmaltzy sauce.

Skill level: Easy. Most dishes require 10 ingredients or less, and nothing is too difficult to track down.
This book is for: Semi-skilled home cooks who want a taste of Greece without leaving home
Other recipes to try: Mussels with rice and dill, slow-cooked beef with braised eggplant
The verdict: While last week’s lamb shanks were downright decadent, olives and lemon zest brightened up this multidimensional chicken dish. À La Grecque takes the win.

 

BTB_Oct16_Round3_2

 

Braised Chicken with Green Olives, Lemon and Saffron
4 servings

1 lemon
Salt
1 1.6 kg. (3½ lb.) free-range chicken
125 ml (4 oz.) extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
20 threads saffron*
200 g. (7 oz.) green olives, pitted and sliced
500 ml (17 oz.) chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper

• Use a vegetable peeler to peel fine strips of zest from the lemon. Slice the zest into thin julienne strips. Place them in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Add a teaspoon of salt and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and reserve the zest.
• Joint the chicken into thighs, drumsticks and wings and cut each breast in half, keeping it on the bone.
• Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and fry the chicken pieces in batches over a high heat until the skin is crisp and golden. As each batch is browned, transfer to a bowl. If the chicken has a lot of fat, drain some of it away.
• Add the onions to the pan and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften and turn a light golden brown. Add the garlic, saffron and olives and stir. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pan and add the reserved lemon zest and chicken stock.
• Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to the boil. Lower the temperature and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with couscous or Saffron Pilaf.

*Saffron can be found at Penzey’s Spices

Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books

By the Book: “The Islands of Greece” by Rebecca Seal

Friday, September 30th, 2016

093016_btbheader

 

The Islands of Greece: Recipes from Across the Greek Seas is a travelogue of recipes collected by Rebecca Seal. The book offers a wide range of dishes with varying degrees of difficulty and indulgence. Torn between frying cheese in philo dough and making a salad, I opted for Volcanic Lamb with Egg and Lemon Sauce – solely because of the name.

The recipe was incredibly simple and clear, but lacked a few necessary details and had some practical problems. It instructed me to soften onions gently in a wide pan (Over what heat? Until translucent?), then increase the heat (to what?) and brown the lamb. I ended up removing the onions mid-lamb searing so the onions wouldn’t burn. I also used a lot more than five tablespoons water to deglaze the pan. Otherwise, the recipe went off without a hitch. Don’t be afraid to place a Dutch oven full of lamb in the oven without even a little wine to bask in; the shanks produced their own braising liquid of pure savory, fatty goodness. This hands-off recipe produced the richest dish I’ve ever made with a show-stopping silky egg sauce, a pop of fresh thyme and extremely little effort.

Skill level: Intermediate. The recipes are simple, but require some cooking common sense.
This book is for: Cooks who want a culinary tour of Greece from their home kitchens.
Other recipes to try: Cheese pies from Alonissos, chickpea fritters, chicken baked in yoghurt
The Verdict: The Kokkari steak was a tender treat, but it couldn’t beat the miles-deep richness of these roasted lamb shanks.

 

093016_btb

 

Volcanic Lamb with Egg & Lemon Sauce
4 servings

Lamb
1 sliced onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb shanks, weighing 300 g. to 400 g. (10.5 to 14 oz. each)
6 sprigs thyme, plus more to serve
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400 g. (14 oz.) baby new potatoes, in their skins
A little butter

Sauce
1 egg
Juices from the lamb
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste

• Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas 1).
• For the lamb, soften the onion gently in a wide pan with the olive oil. Increase the heat and add the lamb, browning the shanks thoroughly on all sides. Deglaze the pan with 4 to 5 tablespoons water, scraping up any bits that have stuck. Tip the whole lot into an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitting lid and add the thyme, salt and pepper. Place the lid on the dish and put into the oven. Cook 3 hours, or until the meat is falling from the bone.
• Just before the lamb comes out of the oven, boil the new potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain and dry on paper towels then saute gently in the butter over a medium-low heat, until lightly browned all over.
• When the lamb is cooked, spoon off most of the juices from the dish, leaving just enough so the meat doesn’t dry out. Keep it somewhere warm, with the lid on.
• Make the sauce. Beat the egg until creamy. Very slowly drizzle in the hot pan juices, whisking constantly to ensure the egg doesn’t cook and make the sauce lumpy, then add the lemon juice. Pour it all into a clean pan and warm over a very, very gentle heat, but do not bring anywhere close to boiling. If you feel there isn’t enough sauce, add a little stock or even water. You can also add more lemon juice, to taste. Remove from the heat and serve with the lamb, onions and potatoes, scattered with a few thyme leaves.

 

Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grand Books

By the Book: Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors by Erik Cosselmon and Janet Fletcher

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

BTB_Oct16_Round1_1

 

Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors is compilation of dishes from the titular restaurant located in San Francisco. While it was filled with fresh salads and sides, I was after a winning entree.

Most of the meat and fish dishes in the book overwhelmed. Preparing whole fish on a Monday night was out of the question. Proteins lean heavily toward lamb and rabbit, which makes sense for a Greek restaurant, but I don’t eat either. Many require grilling over charcoal, which I don’t have. I settled on a rib-eye. The recipe required only a simple rub, a few minutes on a grill (or in my case, a cast-iron skillet) and a douse in the restaurant’s Kokkari Dressing.

Rich rib-eye is always a winner, but the dressing was the standout here. This lemony, herbaceous, garlicky vinaigrette complimented the meat, cutting through the fatty steak. I normally baste my steaks in butter, but this vinaigrette offered the same rich finishing touch.

Skill level: Intermediate. Recipes are a little complex but doable.
This book is for: People who want light, fresh fare and are willing to work for it.
Other recipes to try: Kokkari Potatoes and Grilled Whole Fish with Kokkari Dressing
The Verdict: Check back soon when Kokkari takes on the next challenger.

 

 

091416_btb

 

Grilled Rib-eye with Kokkari Dressing
4 servings

2 20-oz. bone-in rib-eye steaks, preferably dry-aged, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. Steak Rub (recipe follows)
Kokkari Dressing (recipe follows)
4 lemon halves, each wrapped in cheesecloth

• Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high. Season each steak on both sides with the steak rub, using a total of ½ tablespoon per steak. Massage the seasoning into the steaks well on both sides.
• Grill the steaks on both sides to desired doneness, about 7½ minutes total for medium-rare. Watch for flare-ups from dripping fat, moving the meat away from the heat until the flames die down, if needed. Transfer to a platter, drizzle the steaks with dressing, and serve at once with the lemon.

Steak Rub

½ cup sea salt
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

• In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until the herbs are completely pulverized and the mixture feels like moist sand. You can use the rub immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. For longer keeping, spread the freshly made mixture on a baking sheet and leave it at room temperature until it is completely dried out, a day or more, depending on humidity. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Kokkari Dressing
Makes ½ cup

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. capers, rinsed and minced
2 tsp. minced shallot
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp. chopped fresh oregano
¼ tsp. dried wild Greek oregano, crumbled
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

• In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, capers, shallot, garlic, parsley and fresh oregano. Add the dried oregano and whisk in salt and pepper to taste.

Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books

Meatless Mondays: A Greek free for all

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Chock full of belly dancers and cozy tables, Momos Greek Tavern always proves a fun night on the town. And with such an expansive menu – featuring a bevy of spreads, salads, gyros, and mezes both hot and cold – it’s also a tasty one, not to mention a great place for apprehensive Meatless Monday beginners.

Starting with the Crispy Eggplant Fries (pictured), which melt with the very first bite. Their salty, crispy exterior is the perfect foil for their smooth and creamy interior, making these bite-sized snacks a true upgrade from their tired potato cousin. Served with a tomato-sherry skordalia – a traditional potato purée spread turned a rosy hue thanks to those sweet tomatoes – has a soft, cooling effect when paired with these piping hot fries.

Next up was the Crispy Chickpea and Feta Cakes, a dish I go back for time and time again. These crunchy, garlicky cakes have a sharp bite to them thanks to that crumbly feta cheese baked right inside. Break off a piece with your fork and give it a dunk in the velvety tzatziki, the cool cucumber dip soaked up wonderfully by the dense cake.

Pair your mezes with one of Momo’s spreads. Though up against some pretty stiff competition with the roasted red pepper htipiti and the fava bean hummus, the Melitzanosalata is a lovely choice (It’s also much easier to eat than to pronounce, I promise.). Similar to baba ghanouj, this luscious dip calls for roasted eggplant that gets puréed with extra-virgin olive oil and citrusy lemon juice. Served with a generous portion of pita, you’ll have just enough leftover to scoop up the remaining tzatziki from your chickpea cakes.

There are almost too many vegetarian options to choose from at this Greek eatery, and that’s definitely a good problem to have. Go with as many friends as you can, as the more mouths at the table, the more mezes you’re able to taste. And considering this is Monday, be sure to wash away the work day with one of Momo’s cocktails, aptly named after Greek gods and goddesses.

RSS FEEDS
Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2017, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004