Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grilled salmon with yogurt and tomato sauce

You know how they say that kids don't like fish? I guess I was an exception. I would not eat many other "normal" things, torturing for hours my mom who tried to feed me. But I always loved fish. Growing up in Russia, salmon was probably the first fish I ever tried and the most common on our table. It didn't matter whether it was fried, grilled or most commonly just smoked, it was always a yum-yum :) Later on I tried of course other fish, but salmon always remained my all time favorite!

I know that we Greeks are VERY spoiled when it comes to food (I think most of the people in my office figured that out after the first couple of weeks :P), but I refuse to cook chicken when it is just pouring water while being fried (typical when bought from AH)! That's why I was more than happy to discover that in Holland it is easy to find a good quality fresh salmon. I don't wanna become all negative again, but fish is actually one of the few things that is really worth eating here.

Anyways, I bought nice slices of salmon and was planning to grill them in the oven. But I thought it would be nice to improvise with the topping. So I made tzatziki-like sauce but something was missing. Hmmm, what goes well with yogurt? I guess tomatoes should be nice... Yes, that's it! Tomatoes and thyme! Veeeeery good!


4 large slices salmon

for the topping:

1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a bowl mix all the topping ingredients and set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to mix.
2. On a baking tray place the salmon and pour the yogurt sauce on top. Place in the preheated oven and bake util the fish is cooked through. Turn on the grill at the last 2-3 minutes, to make a crust on top of the sauce. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ladero - Greek oily green beans

Today I went through some of the old posts and I realized that at least every 4th post starts with the words "I haven't been blogging for some time now" or something similar. It becomes annoying!

Anyways, the recipe that I wanna post today is traditional Greek. "Ladero" could be literally translated as "something oily" and it is being cooked all over the country as a main dinner course. Nothing fancy, but very healthy! It contains a generous amount of oil, but it is ALWAYS extra virgin olive oil, which is good for your health when used in moderation, so don't be afraid :)

Even though it is so popular, my mom never cooked it (probably because she grew up in a different country, with different food culture). So, the first time I tried it was actually at the university restaurant back in Thessaloniki. It was a a fixed part of the Wednesday menu, followed by a chocolate mousse! I liked it a lot and after some point started cooking it myself :) Here is one of the multiple versions of this dish. Enjoy!


1kg green beans
2-3 carrots, sliced in circles
2 large onions, diced
3 large, ripe tomatoes, grated
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 cups water
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
2-3 large bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sugar salt and black pepper to taste

1. First prepare the beans. Wash them well and cut off the tips in case they are hard. If the beans are too long cut them in pieces of 4-5cm long. This could the annoying, but this is the only step that requires time, the rest is just piece of cake!

2. In a large pot heat half of the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté on a medium heat until soft (not golden).

3. Add the beans, carrots, peppers and grated tomato, mix well and cook for few minutes, just until the beans turn bright green.

4. Add the tomato puree, water, half of the parsley, bay leaves, oregano and sugar, cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but still crunchy. If necessary add more water to the pot so that the sauce remains liquid.

5. Turn off the heat, add the rest of the parsley and oil, mix well, cover the pot and let it stay for about 15 minutes. Serve along with feta cheese (I prefer with grated Ksyromizithra) and thick slices of fresh bread to dip in the juices.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shrimp "saganaki" - Garides saganaki

More than a month of no blogging! That turns into a bad habit! This time I have a really good excuse though, I was on vacation. I went to my beloved Thessaloniki for 3 weeks, which sounds almost too good to be true. And as always it meant enormous amounts of food being consumed, completely disregarding any humanly possible limits! Well, since we moved to Holland whenever we find good food, we take good care of it :) Surprisingly this time no extra weight gained which probably proves once again that Greek food is awesome for another reason apart from great taste! Love it!

Anyway, I returned a week before my man and was too lazy to cook just for myself, which resulted in eating out every day. On the other hand, on Sunday, when Stratis came back I though it would be nice to cook for a change, if nothing else to make the transition from Greece to Holland easier for him. So I woke up in the morning planning to cook something really really Greek and really really summerish. That's when I came up with the idea of Shrimp "saganaki".

Saganaki is actually a type of small pan with two little handles. However, nowadays the word refers mainly to the type of food cooked in it. For example Feta saganaki is Feta cheese melted in a pan. Shrimp saganaki on the other hand is a delicious dish made with shrimps, feta and either tomato or white wine sauce. Both are truly amazing, but this time I went for the tomato one and it was properly appreciated. For the recipe I used small shrimps but you could use the same proportion of large shrimp as well. In this case you should not peel them in advance.


300 gr small shrimps, peeled
100 gr Greek feta cheese, in bite-size pieces
50 gr Ladotyri cheese, grated (you could use Parmesano-type cheese instead)
4 large ripe tomatoes, grated
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a pan heat the oil and saute the onions, green peppers and garlic until they are soft.
2. Add the grated tomatoes and parsley, season with salt, pepper and oregano andcook until the sauce thickens.
3. Put the shrimps and feta pieces into an ovenproof saganaki pan or a little ceramic pot.
4. Pour the tomato sauce over the shrimp and feta mix and sprinkle with Ladotyri.
5. Place the pan in the oven and bake at 200°C until the Ladotyri makes a crust on top. Serve immediately and enjoy along with some freshly baked bread and ouzo!