Τρίτη, 16 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2008
All of a sudden, I decided to post some images of red meats and red meat dishes from Italy. I call this Part 1 as I expect there will be more in the future.
I start by stating that I am not a fan of red meat. In an average place I usually do not order red meat. I prefer to eat vegetables, or chicken, or even better, a nice sald with cheese!
But I am a fan of exceptional red meat and its by products, flavours and colours and juices.
And this is what I will try to post here, the red meat beyond, creations that take the primary material and tranform it to something that is and is not the original. Transformation and transfiguration.
All the items included in thepost are”classics”, ie they have been around for a lond time and are here to stay. No meteorites, no short-lived stars, only treats that cut across the years.
I start with the Emperor of the Italian cured meats: Culatello di Zibello!
This is the storage area where Miriam Leonardi (owner of “Trattoria La Buca” in the small town of Zimbello) keeps her treasures.
When I saw this machine I thought that it only befits the marvelous culatello to have such a beauty for slicing it.
A selection of antipasti from the “Vino e Camino” Ristorante in Bracciano, near Rome.
Sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms offered by Osteria di San Cesario, near Rome.
Παρασκευή, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2008
I have started going to this tavern in 2004. It was colleagues from Thessaloniki who took me there, and started drinking tsipouro from the moment they sat down. Apparently the owner – chef is from the North and serves two types of tsipouro, with and without anise (Pimpinella anisum). But this is not about tsipouro, it is about seafood, so I better get down to it!
Over the four years that I visit the tavern regularly, it has evolved for the better and is now at a level that I can recommend it as one of the best seafood places in Athens, without any doubt.
Its name plays with two greek words, one being “psari” ie fish and the other “ariston” ie best. By combining the two words, the imaginative owners imply that they serve the best fish, “ps-ari-ston”, a word that does not exist in the greek dictionary. But this is not about language, it is about seafood, so I better get down to it!
The inside of the tavern is – on purpose – a kitsch assortment of above average proportions. In a strange way, you have the feeling you are on an island.
The “Psariston” salad is quite fresh and creative, as it has tomatoes, some feta cheese, olive oil, capers, parseley, balsamico and lightly marinated gavros.
The “married fava” dish is also very good, as it combines the “fava” with tomatoes, onions, ans capers.
The octopus dish that came next is another interesting combination: sliced grilled octopus, hot peppers, crushed feta cheese and fresh tomato cubes all in one!
The grilled “chtenia” came next, they were juicy and loaded with flavour! (I cannot translate their name.)
Finally, the medium sized grilled squid was tender and sweet. Perfect!
Practical Info. The tavern is right next to the AB Grocery Store opposite the Olympic Stadium on Kimis Avenue. It is better to call in advance so that they give you instructions, or even better, get a taxi, so that you can enjoy the good ouzo and wine served.
Psariston, Kalavriton 16, Neo Herakleio,
Κυριακή, 24 Αυγούστου, 2008
For those who want to capture the flavours of the Aegean, as fresh as you can get them, the “Limanaki” Tavern in Neos Pyrgos on the northern tip of Evia is the place to go.
The tavern is literally on the small harbour of fishing boats that venture out in the Aegean every day for a catch. The village of Neos Pyrgos is small and its big neighbour, Orei, has all the big fishing boats. Neos Pyrgos has the small ones, and this is why you can eat fish that has been literally hooked, and not caught in the nets.
Limanaki is the favourite place of the fishermen when they return in the morning. You can see them having “tsipouro” (the local grappa, or eau de vie) eight o’clock in the morning, while Nikos, the Limanaki proprietor prepares a nice meze for them.
Enough of all that, lets now get to the food.
In the summer, it is essential to start with ultra tender green beans, called “ambelofassoula”.
After that you can have prawns grilled to perfection, that I suggest you eat without taking the head off. Its full of flavours and deliciously crunchy.
What comes naturally next is whole fried little fish, called “atherina”.
The grilled cod that comes to conclude the set has been caught on hook. The fish is sweet, the flesh is firm and has nothing on it but coarse salt. Just add a little olive oil and lemon and you have it.
Σάββατο, 23 Αυγούστου, 2008
During my last visit to Venice I was lucky to discover “Osteria al Garanghelo” http://www.garanghelo.com/ita-index.htm and enjoyed eating and drinking there. The Osteria is located in the area of Castello, very near the Arsenale, on via Garibaldi.
In spite of the hords of tourists in Venice, the Osteria was also frequented by the locals, which right from the beginning was a very good sign. The sea breeze reaches the Osteria and you can enjoy your lunch or dinner al fresco.
One of the two brothers – owners is Simone, who suggested the dishes that follow.
This is a mixed dish of boiled folpetti (little octopi) and cuttlefish eggs. Delicious! But wait until you see the detail that follows.
Simone took the initative to serve one of the folpetti as it came out of the sea, taking out only the mouth and eyes. He explained to me this is how they eat it in his town on the island of Palestrina, near Venice. I had something similar in Palermo, Sicily, but the octopus was not that little! The Venetian folpetto was a miracle of tastes!
Simone then served the mixed fried seafood, which was perfectly prepared, everything was full of the aromas of the sea and even the squid was tender.
Κυριακή, 3 Αυγούστου, 2008
The first dish was “Asparagus of the Sea”. They come from the island of Lefkada. Incidentally, I saw some ”greens of the sea” similar to them in the fish market in Venice, but do not recall how they are called in Italian.
The taste of sea prominent, crunchy and enjoyable.
He then served “Stuffed Mushrooms”. They had cheese, shrimps and clams with white wine. Quite tasty.
When it came to the fish, the chef recommended “katsoules”, a fish very popular in Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf Islands. They are like flattened red mullets. They are very tasty and juicy, although they are considered to be a humble fish.
To wrap the meal up, the chef brought another “B” fish, from the sea lake of Messolonghi, called “stiradi”.
The fish was grilled in “butterfly” mode, as you can see in the picture. Lightly fatty, juicy, tasty, great choice!!!
Overall, if you ever visit Athens, grab a cab and go to Kollias. You will not regret it.