Grilled Boops Boops – Γοπες ψητες

Κυριακή, 8 Απριλίου, 2012

The moon setting in the early hours of Sunday 8th April

Today is another nice spring day in Marathon, and we have grilled boops boops on the menu.

Σημερα ειναι ακομη μια ομορφη ανοιξιατικη μερα στο Μαραθωνα και το μενου εχει γοπες ψητες.

Boops boops

Boops boops is a humble fish. But when it is fresh, it beats the best stale lobster (paraphrasing Feran Adria).

In order to preserve the flavours and the juices of the fresh fish, I will grill it, honouring a centuries old tradition.

Pickled lemons

To add more tradition and locality to the humble meal, I will use the chopped peel of pickled lemons. It adds fantastic complex flavour that combines heavenly with the taste of the fish.

Boops boops with coriander and pickled lemon peel

After chopping the peel, I use it to stuff the belly of the fish, and sprinkle fresh chopped coriander and coarse sea salt over the fish, with a touch of olive oil.

Grilled boops boops (gopes in Greek)

The grilled fish must be crispy outside and moist and juicy inside. This is the essence of grilling fish. I did it the right way, and heaven could not wait.

Deboned and served grilled boops boops

The flesh was moist and firm, but juicy and delicious. Having said that, nothing could beat the skin. Miles and miles above everything else!

Accompany the fish with a glass of “savatiano” white wine, and you will agree with me that gastronomic perfection is not reserved only for royalty or the truly rich.

Ristorante Uliassi – Senigallia, Marche, Italia

Σάββατο, 19 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2009

Ristorante Uliassi is located in the small resort town of Senigallia, on the Adriatic sea, a few kilometers away from Ancona. It comes highly recommended from Michelin Red Guide  (two stars) and the Italian Gastronomic Guide Gambero Rosso.

As I was on my way to Ravenna, I decided to stop by and taste the creations of the chef. I arrived just in time one late summer night, to experience the dying light and the emerging darkness.

dining_balconyMy menu choice was the “Tuto Crudo”, meaning “Raw all the way”. This would highlight the qualities of the ingredients and the synthetic ability of the chef, as his contribution to the dish would be primarily the synthesis of the ingredients.

potatoes_oysterThe first dish was oyster with potatoes and red onion ice cream with a leaf of chocolate.

The oyster was sumptuous in taste, full or aromas and it was perfectly supported by the tasty potatoes and the heavelnly onion ice cream. The leaf of chocolate gave the necessary bitter undertone.

shrimp_foie

The second dish was shrimp with duck foie gras and strawberry paste. The raw shrimp is sweet in its own way, ans the acidity of the straberry supplemented it in a harmonious way, while the foie added the body that seafood does not have.

cod_tripe_sea_urchin_eggsI now come to one of the absolutely fabulous dishes of the evening and my entire life as a food lover. Frozen sea urchin eggs with cod tripe. What a pandemonium of tastes,  aromas and all of them encased on the tender silky texture of the cod tripe!

tagliatelle_di_sepiaWhat followed was another absolute masterpiece, cuttlefish tagliatelle with pesto of nori seaweed. The cuttlefish was tender and tasty, drassed in the incredibly rich in aromas pesto of the nori! Heavenly, heavenly, heavenly!

rossetti

The saga continued with “rossetti” which is some type of scampi with olive oil, scallions and pine kerners. It was the perfect calming down dish, after the wild extravagant taste of the previous dish. Back to “normal”, civilized, food!

scampoWe stayed on the scampi family, the next dish was scampi in their shell, with tamarind. I confess I am crazy for scampi in their shell, with minimal add ons, as you can really taste the sea in all its glory!

lonzino_lecciaThe next dish combined surf and turf, with glorious mouth melting smoked lonzino (a type of cured ham) accompanied by raw leerfish (lecchia), and pears soaked in grapa!

ricciolaAs we approach the end, leerfish is again on the menu, this type with coconut milk and olive oil!

bacalaoThe last dish of the menu was “esquisada di baccala”. Raw cod chunks (salted cod from San Sebastian in the Basque Country, quite possibly the best in the world), with potatoes, pendolini tomatoes and basil.This is a hymn to primary ingredients of the best quality, as the cod’s texture  is supplemented by the sweetness of the potatoes and the incredible acidity of the small tomatoes that have been blessed by the volcanic soil of Vesuvius.

tiramisouThe tirami-sou that followed was deconstructed and absolutely fantastic! The mascarpone was intense and ever present, the cream golden and thick, the chocolate dressed in coffee chunky and bitter! A caramelized wet biscuit on top provided the necessary absorbing agent.No cake needed!

Σημερα θελω να παμε στο Δουραμπεη στο Μικρολιμανο για μεζεδακια και ψαρακια.

Μια παραδοσιακη δυναμη καλου φαγητου, ο Δουραμπεης σημερα προσφερει ενα ομορφα διαμορφωμενο και δροσερο καλοκαιρινο ντεκ.

Το καλοκαιρινο ντεκ

Το καλοκαιρινο ντεκ

Η αρχη εγινε με αχινοσαλατα τελεια και γευστικωτατη.

Αχινοσαλατα

Αχινοσαλατα

Μετα το λουτρο στις αναλαφρες γευσεις ακολουθησε η αρμονια γευσεων απο τους πετροσωληνες.

Πετροσωληνες

Πετροσωληνες

Η σως στους πετροσωληνες ηταν ενα αριστουργημα, αξιζε δεκα φορες και παραπανω η επισκεψη και μονο για αυτη την αρμονια γευσεων!

Καλαμαρι

Καλαμαρι

Για να καταλαβετε την ενταση και τη διαρκεια της γευσης, εντυσα τη ροδελα του καλαμαριου με τη σως και πηγα για μια ακομη φορα στα ουρανια!

Καραβιδοψυχα

Καραβιδοψυχα

Επιτελους! Καραβιδοψυχα υπεροχα τηγανισμενη, με λιγο πιπερακι, χωρις μαγιονεζα!  Πολιτισμος θαλασσινος και αληθινος!

Κατσουλες

Κατσουλες

Κι ερχομαστε στις αδιαμφισβητητες σταρ του τραπεζιου, τις υπεροχες κατσουλες (Xyrichtys novacula), που οσο ομορφες ειναι να τις βλεπεις αλλο τοσο γευστικες ειναι να τις απολαμβανεις τηγανισμενες σε βουτυρο! Ζητησα απο τον σεφ να βαλει βουτυο γιατι αυτο ψαρακι θελει το βουτυρο του!

Τηγανητες Κατσουλες

Τηγανητες Κατσουλες

Δεν το συζητω, μοναδικες γευσεις ελληνικες, η σαρκα του ψαριου αυτου ειναι σαν το μεταξι! Και μοσχοβολα θαλασσα!

Το τηγανισμα ηταν εργο μαεστρου, που ξερει καλα το ψαρι και το τηγανι!

υγ. Στα αγγλικα το ψαρακι λεγεται Pearly razorfish.

Fish and Seafood in the Boqueria Market, Barcelona

Δευτέρα, 6 Απριλίου, 2009

Today I peesent some pictures of fishes and seafood from the Boqueria Market in Barcelona.  

Bacalao (Cod) 

Bacalao

Bacalao

Dorada (Dory)

Dorada

Dorada

Escorpornas (Scorpion)

Escorpona

Escorpona

St Pierre

San Pietro

San Pietro

 Unknown

fish

Rodaballo (Turbot). Note the dark colouring of the fish, especially compared to the ones of the Eastern Mediterranean, which feature pink colours.  

Turbot

Turbot

Tuna 

Tuna

Tuna

Navajas (razor clams). A perfect delicacy, as you can taste it in the food stalls inside the Boqueria, with parsley and garlic.  

Navajas

Navajas

Navajas

Navajas

Navajas

Navajas

Navajas

A rich variety of crabs all over! It is like a dream.

Centollas (spider crabs)

Centollas

Centollas

Necoras (Velvet crabs)

Necoras

Necoras

Buey vivo (edible crab, cancer pagurus)

Bueys

Bueys

Langostas (lobsters)

Langostas

Langostas

Langostinos (king prawns)

Langostinos

Langostinos

Gambas

Gambas

Gambas

Carabineros

Carabineros

Carabineros

Camaros

Camaros

Camaros

Galeras

Galeras

Galeras

Cigalas

shellfish

 

Crabs

Crayfish

Visit to “La Brecha” Fishmarket, Donostia, San Sebastian

Πέμπτη, 28 Αυγούστου, 2008

 
This is a report on a short and late visit to the fishmarket of “La Brecha” in Donostia, San Sebastian. I went there around 1130 hrs by which time most of the seaffod selling stalls were closed! 
The market is large and houses also meats, game and vegetables.
 
Congrio

Congrio

Besugo - Sea Bream
Besugo – Sea Bream

One of the signs of freshness in the squid is the light grey - brown colour of its skin. When it starts turning rosy the freshness is gone.

The squid is not only fresh, but according to the seller it has been caught on hook, not on the nets. As a reult, it costs 50% more than the “ordinary” catch.
Chipiron (detail)

Chipiron (detail)

Cigala (detail)

Cigala (detail)

Carrillera Rape - Monkfish's Cheeks

Carrillera Rape - Monkfish

 One of my favourite dishes in the Basque country, and wherever else I can find them: hake and cod cheeks. The famous “kokotxas!”. Here we also have monkfish cheeks.
Unbelievable instensity of subtle flavour, as long as you know how to cook them! They are so delicate that I always prefer to cook them in very low fire, in order to preserve the flavours and the texture.
Kokotxa Bacalao - Cod's Cheeks

Kokotxa Bacalao - Cod

 
Percebe (detail)

Percebe (detail)

 This is one of the many Spanish mysteries I have not resolved yet.
I have read the stories about extracting them from the rocks, seen the videos, but have not tasted them yet.
Sapito Negro

Sapito Negro

 I am not sure about the translation of this one, is it “catfish”. Whatever it is, it is sold with is liver sticking out. Which means that there must be a dish with it in the Basque country.
I need to do some investigation on this one!
 
Merluza - Hake

Merluza - Hake

 Another of my favourites, the aetherial “merluza”.
Navajas - Razor Clams (detail)

Navajas - Razor Clams (detail)Not ot mention the razor clams.Seller

 

Lubina - Sea bass

Lubina - Sea bass

Rockfish

Rockfish

Wine Bar dei Frescobaldi – Aeroporto di Roma, Fiumicino, Italy

Δευτέρα, 25 Αυγούστου, 2008

 
Genuinely polite service
Genuinely polite service

I believe that civilization is an everyday affair. Of course saying is not practicing. One of the occasions when I felt that practicing is not that difficult, was when I by chance visited the Frescobaldi Wine Bar at Fiumicino.

I had a couple of hours to kill before catching my flight back to Athens. This time is usually spent shopping things I do not need, or being bored to death.

This time I got lucky. I opened my eyes and there it was: an oasis of civilization.

I has the seafood crudo misto and felt that I was by the sea. I accompanied it with a full bodied glass of chardonnay to establish some balance with the strong raw seafood flavours.

 

 Crudo Misto

Crudo Misto

The very nice lady serving me offered me at the end some nice biscottini (cookies) and I washed them down with a divine glass of Grappa di Brunello. There is no better way to prepare yourself for a flight!

Limanaki Tavern, Neos Pyrgos, Evia, Greece

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”.

 

 Ambelofassoula
Ambelofassoula
Nikos will serve you the freshest squid grilled on charcoal. I cannot begin to describe the flavours.
 
 Squid grilled on charcoal

Squid grilled on charcoal

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.

   

  

 Prawns grilled on charcoal

Prawns grilled on charcoal

 What comes naturally next is whole fried little fish, called “atherina”.

 

 Atherina

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.

 

 Grilled Cod
Grilled Cod

Vini da Gigio, Venice

Σάββατο, 23 Αυγούστου, 2008

 
Entrance
Entrance

 I visited “Vini da Gigio” during my last trip to Venice. The location of the restaurant is by a small canal in the area of Canareggio http://www.vinidagigio.com/ and is very easy to find.

 I was attracted by the mixed dish of raw seafood and fish and ordered it straight away. I was not disappointed. I just wanted more!

 

 Misto Crudo

Misto Crudo

 What I ordered next was sweet and tender “Tagliata di tonno”, juicy to the extent that you can smell the sea. Again, I was not disappointed! My expectations were met by the dish. The only comment that I have is that the sesame seeds gave momentarily a bitter taste to the dish.

  

 Tagliata di tonno

Tagliata di tonno

 The variety of cheeses that followed was excellent. 

 

 Cheeses

Cheeses

All in all, a very good place to visit in Venice

Zuberoa Restaurant, Oiarzun, near San Sebastian, Donostia

Κυριακή, 3 Αυγούστου, 2008

My first visit to Zuberoa was on a Monday this summer. The drive from San Sebastian to the village is nice, and you can explore the countryside before going to he restaurant. The fresh clean air can do wonders for your appetite (if you need such a build up).

The facade of Zuberoa

The facade of Zuberoa

The Amuse bouche sequence started with “Creme de foie, and truffle, in a Pedro Jimenez sauce”. Light and tasty.

It continued with “Spider Crab, Bakalao and Potato Chips”. The intensity of the taste in the creamy substance was impressive!

Creme de foie, truffle, Pedro Jimenez

Creme de foie, truffle, Pedro Jimenez

Spider Crab, Bakalao, and Potato Chips

Spider Crab, Bakalao, and Potato Chips

The Gastronomic Menu started with “Lobster carpaccio with ginger flavour, grapefruit and soya”. Of all the dishes I tasted, this was the only one that I would consider in a state of development, or exploration. The balance of the taste was on the sweet side, and this presented a problem for me. I would have preferred it to be more subtle, with nuances of the sweet and bitter coming out of the background here and then, letting the almost liquid lobster to play the first role.

Lobster carpaccio

Lobster carpaccio

Red Shrimp from Palombs, its coral oil and salad. When I saw it for the first time, it reminded me of Gauguin! The taste was equally pleasing, the shrimp resting on ultra tender chunks of pork fat. The dish was so delicious that I had the urge to scoop up the sauce with a bit of bread. I raised my head and looked around. Almost everyone in the nearby tables was doing the same.

Red Shrimp from Palombs

Red Shrimp from Palombs

Curry flavoured sea fruits in their own juice. Another explosion of taste awaited me in this dish. The ingredients were ultra fresh, almost raw, the aroma of the sea coming through every bite.

Sea fruits

Sea fruits

Poached egg, poultry cream, truffle, celery and potato chips. I am a seafood lover, and I must confess that after the sea fruits, the egg had no chance to impress me. It tasted good, but could not provide the complex harmonies of the sea fruits.

Poached egg

Poached egg

White fresh beans with Jabugo ham aroma and sauteed squid. A divine combination, the squid providing the intese flavours, and the beans presenting the smoother side of life.

Beans and squid

Beans and squid

Red tuna fillet, basil flavoured tomato with pistachio oil and balsamico of Modena. The exquisite quality of the tuna demands a dash of cooking over fire. Excellent!

Red Tuna

Red Tuna

Roasted Lamb. I had the menu choice of a roast pigeon or suckling pig, but the Maitr D recommended the roasted lamb. I thank him for that, as it was divine. I must say that a classy lady in the nearby table used her hands to enjoy this dish. Who could blame her?

Roasted Lamb

Roasted Lamb

Plateau du fromage. Unfortunately I have not written them down, theyt are all local, brom The Basque Country and delicious.

Selection of local Cheese

Selection of local Cheese

Following my request, the kind waitress served at the end a spanish digestive, called “Abadia di Cova, Licor de Hierbas”.

Licor de Hierbas

Licor de Hierbas

All in all, I am quite impressed by “Zuberoa”. The food is excellent, the service formal but also human, the price is very reasonable, the overall value for money is top.

Kollias Seafood Tavern in Piraeus, Greece

Κυριακή, 3 Αυγούστου, 2008

Kollias is a tavern in a working class neighbourhood of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece.
 
It may be the best seafood tavern in Greece.
The Entrance Door

The Entrance Door

 
The owner has given the tavern its name, and quite deservedly so. He is always there, meeting the customers, cooking, serving, chatting. He is the heart, the mind, everything.
 
I visited the tavern on a Friday, when thousands of people were departing from the port of Piraeus for their summer holidays. The tavern was open, Kollias was there and so were the customers. The food I was going to taste required a rather strong drinki, so I opted for ouzo from the island of Chios, named “Apalarina”.

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.

 

Asparagus of the Sea

Asparagus of the Sea

The taste of sea prominent, crunchy and enjoyable.

He then served “Stuffed Mushrooms”. They had cheese, shrimps and clams with white wine. Quite tasty.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

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.

"Humble" Katsoules

"Humble" Katsoules

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!!!

"Butterfly" Stiradi

"Butterfly" Stiradi

Overall, if you ever visit Athens, grab a cab and go to Kollias. You will not regret it.

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