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June 2012

Minty “Mushy” English Peas

Mushy Minty English Peas


Mushy peas are a traditional side dish to the British classic - Fish & Chips. I was recently in London for the Queen’s Jubilee and stayed at the incredibly beautiful Corinthia Hotel (Click here for hotel link). It is truly one of London’s best properties. The hotel’s restaurant, The Northall, features "traditional British fare focusing on seasonal produce supplied by artisanal producers from around the British Isles."  Without hesitation, I chose the Deep Fried Haddock in Beer Batter, chips and “proper mushy peas”.  My version of mushy peas may not be “proper”, but they are delicious. Bright, vibrant green with just a hint of mint, they’re great with fish or chicken. Use caution when pulsing with the food processor, you want them coarsely mashed, not pureed. 

Download Minty Mushy English Peas recipe

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound frozen peas, not thawed

2 cups chopped Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 Sea Salt and pepper

1. Bring broth, peas, lettuce, mint, butter, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until peas are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Transfer to food processor, add lemon juice, and pulse until coarsely mashed, about ten 1-second pulses Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.

 

The Northall restaurant at the Corinthia Hotel -

The-Northall restaurant1


Barbecue Grilled Whole Red Snapper With Citrus Vinaigrette

Whole red snapper grilled

There is nothing like ordering fresh fish at a sea side tavern in Greece. It’s one of the quintessential experiences when visiting the Greek Isles. My friend Rich Campbell, who has uncanny knack for finding incredible places to eat, introduced me to a wonderful spot in Oia on Santorini called Taverna Katina in the quaint Ammoudi Port. It’s simple, casual dining at its best. Mrs Katina oversees everything and beams with pride as guests enjoy her authentic Greek dishes. If you visit, be sure to try her tomatokeftedes (tomato balls) – a house specialty. They offer the freshest fish, which you can choose from the display case inside the restaurant. We opted for local snapper - served whole with simple lemon and olive oil dressing on the side - and it was some of the best I’ve ever had.  If a trip to Greece isn’t in your near future, you can grill fresh snapper in your own backyard. Grilling a whole fish (head and all) delivers a richer, deeper flavor than grilling boneless fillets. If your fish are a little larger (between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds), simply grill them a minute or two longer on each side.

Download Grilled Red Snapper recipe

2 whole red snappers (about 1 1/2 pounds each), scaled, gutted, and skin slashed on both sides

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Greek)

Vegetable oil for cooking grate

Citrus Vinaigrette:

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon table salt

Ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1. Whisk oil, juices, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper together in medium bowl. Whisk in oregano and parsley; set aside and serve with fish.

2. Heat grill with all burners set to high and lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. Leave all burners on high.

3. Rub fish with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper on outside as well as inside of each fish.

4. Lightly dip small wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe grill rack. Place fish on grill. Grill, covered, until side of fish facing charcoal is browned and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Gently turn fish over using two spatulas and cook until flesh is no longer translucent at center and skin on both sides of each fish is blistered and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes more. (To check for doneness, peek into slashed flesh or into interior through opened bottom area of each fish to see that flesh is no longer translucent.) Use two metal spatulas to transfer fish to platter and serve with citrus vinaigrette.

Filleting Grilled Whole Fish:

1. Using sharp knife, make vertical cut just behind head from top of fish to belly. Make another cut along top of fish from head to tail.

2. Use spatula to lift meat from bones, starting at head end and running spatula over bones to lift out fillet. Repeat on other side of fish. Discard head and skeleton.

Fish grilling 

Snapper cut1 

Oia Port
Katina Taverna

 


Traditional Greek Country Salad Santorini-Style

Greek Salad Santorini


The most traditional Greek salad recipe, and the kind of Greek salad you will usually encounter in Greece, does not typically include lettuce, but is more a bowl of raw chunky vegetables with a little olive oil and lemon juice. The flavors of this dish just get better and you can store leftovers and use with grilled meats or in sandwiches made with pita pockets. The rich, zesty vinaigrette gets great authentic flavor from the fresh oregano, and is further enhanced by the fresh mint and parsley. Marinating the onion and cucumber slices in the vinaigrette helps tone down the raw onion in the salad. 

Download Traditional Santorini Greek Country Salad recipe

Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium clove garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 teaspoon)

6 tablespoons olive oil

 

Salad:

1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)

3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves

10 large kalamata olives, each olive pitted and quartered lengthwise

6 oz. Mt. Vikos® Feta Cheese, or best feta you can find

1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano

Olive oil for drizzle

 

1. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in large bowl until combined. Add onion and cucumber and toss; let stand to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, parsley and mint to bowl with onions and cucumbers; toss to coat with dressing.

3. Transfer salad to wide, shallow serving bowl or platter; sprinkle olives and feta over salad. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano. Serve immediately.

 


Authentic Greek Tzatziki

Tzatziki

I have just returned from an incredible week sailing the Aegean on the luxurious Seabourn Quest. (http://www.seabourn.com) It’s truly a wonderful way travel and I highly recommend the experience. A week of Mediterranean cuisine will undoubtedly influence the next few posts on this blog. I’ll start will some of the incredible dips and appetizers that are found on nearly all menus in Greece and Turkey. Tzatziki, one of the most common, is perfect for spring and summer and can be served as a dip with pita bread, or as a sauce for grilled meat or vegetables.

Greek Tzatziki

Greek yogurt here is key; don’t substitute regular plain yogurt or the sauce will be very watery. FAGE Total Classic Greek yogurt is the most widely available brand in this country. You can also make your own Greek-style thickened yogurt (see procedure below) to use in place of the Greek yogurt.

Download Greek Tzatziki recipe

1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded

1 ¼ cups plain Greek whole-milk yogurt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves and/or dill leaves

2 small garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press

Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Sea salt and pepper

1. Shred the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater.

2. Whisk the yogurt, oil, herbs, and garlic together in a medium bowl. Stir in the cucumbers and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Makes about 2 cups