I like to feature local, good quality, readily available ingredients, and I use fresh herbs and nuts a lot. I happily cook everything but my primary focus is on vegetables, legumes, and marine proteins.
I mingle with spices, condiments, and even techniques, from other countries, but the foundation is obviously Greek cuisine.
I recycle ingredients, try to minimize food waste, and never choose shortcuts that compromise flavour.
Finally, I attribute a huge part of the pleasure of eating to proper seasoning. I believe we should try to enjoy humble ingredients more often. Everything can taste well and keep our stomachs satisfied if it is properly seasoned.
Below you can scroll through some indicative dishes that hopefully highlight the above.
Pot Vegetable Medley
An adaptation of a traditional Greek dish, "Tourlou", which features various chopped vegetables cooked slowly in a fragrant fresh tomato sauce, where red curry paste adds an oriental flavour twist.
The kernel is a mix of yoghurt and katiki (a creamy cheese), with an addition of a garlicky almond pesto. Fresh thyme leaves are the perfect granish.
Grilled Shrimps with Avocado and Tomato water
If the shrimp is fresh, very little needs to be done to make it delicious. Simply grilled, with creamy avocado, fresh basil leaves, and a fragrant tomato water to tie everything together. And of course salt flakes to perfect the seasoning.
A great example of a deliciously light plate of food suitable for the hot Greek weather.
Pies are quite the signature of Greek cuisine. Spinach and cheese fillings being the most common by far.
Here though there is a surprising celery filling, with many other delicious things and even dried chilli flakes to funk things up. And of course it could not be missing the sprinkled nigella seeds, which do a lot more than decorate the crust.
Cod Fillet and Beetroot Puree
Cod, one of my favourite fishes to work with, and the almighty beetroot. But not just. There is beurre noisette, and fresh marjoram leaves to make this seemingly uninteresting dish very playfull.
Sauteed Shrimp with "Almyra"
Almyra is the most amazing indigenous wild weed, appearing in late spring and lasting all summer. It grows close to the sea, and actually tastes as close to the sea as an earth plant can get. The name also implies this connection, "almyro" in Greek means salty.
This pairing with marinated and sautéed shrimp, in the Asian flavour path , is my favorite way to enjoy it.
Salmon Fillet, Sweet Potato Puree, and Lentils
Four ingredients come together in a nutritious and rather uncommon plate of food. There is also pickled cucumber to cut through the rich salmon flesh and the sweet weet potato puree, and sprinkled sumac to bring a lemony, Middle Eastern touch.
Chicken Breast with Potato Mash, and a Saffron Sauce
Yes, it is just chicken and potato, but why is that a bad thing if it is delicious? And with a tasty sauce and the springy feeling of fresh marjoram it can be.
Simplicity rules in cooking, as much as in everything else.
Trout Salad Tartlet
Freshly made mayonnaise, gherkins, spring onion, parsley, trout, and a lovely savoury pastry make this tartlet irresistible.
The mighty fish soup, another signature dish of Greek cuisine. Only here there is fish sauce, and lime juice, and pink peppercorns for an oriental flavour really unforgettable and totally comforting for both cold weather and hot.
Nagia's Smoked Eel Orzo
A tribute to one of the best flavour buds that ever lived, but sadly lived short. There is smoked eel, fennel and ouzo in this very creamy rissotto type orzo, another traditional Greek ingredient, but in this version excitingly and uniquely paired.
Monkfish, Vegetables and Saffron Sauce
Monkfish is readily available during winter in Greece, and it is such a great fish to work with because of its anatomy enabling to easily remove two very fleshy fillets.
A white wine, fish stock and saffron sauce elevates the flavour, and the potatoes and carrots classically and subtly complement the fish.
Monkfish, Brussels Sprouts, Soba Noodles
Monkfish, abundant in the Greek winter seas, but in a Japanese direction here, with a miso glaze on the Brussel sprouts, and the wonderfully pleasing soba noodles, a type of noodles made from buckwheat flour.
Pulled Beef on Smoked Aubergine
A lighter version of the classic Turkish Hunkar Begendi dish, where the eggplant is smoked, and topped with slowly cooked beef in a red sauce packed with spices.
Blanched Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and Cauliflower Salad
Crunchy, healthy and different salad topped with toasted sesame seeds, and dressed with a white balsamic vinegar cream.
Black Eyed Peas and Tuna Salad
A combination of classic Greek ingredients in a nutritious salad. The secret is to properly cook the beans so they retain their shape and crunch, finely chop the vegetables to ensure an even distribution in each bite, and properly season the whole dish before plating. And if there is something a legume salad needs to elevate the flavour apart from salt, it is vinegar!
Thai Bean Sprout Salad
A very easy, very crunchy, and very tasty salad, with a few staple ingredients of Thai cuisine, and fresh bean sprouts, which are very easy to grow home.
Cucumber and Smoked Trout Salad
A full meal salad. Spring onions are helping a lot the pleasure here, as do the smashed peanuts and Nigella seeds, but mostly it is the pungent Asian dressing that makes this exotically irresistible.
I absolutely love cauliflower, although among Greeks it is a bit of a no go. I am pretty sure this is becase it is often mistreated.
In a creamy soup it provides such a warm, earthy taste. Topped with crunchy bacon, mellow chestnuts, and a few drops of the utterly mind blowing truffle oil, it does not get much better than this on a wintery day.
There is so much more than meets the eye in this zucchini slaw. Peppers, raisins, a lot of fresh herbs, but the utter delight comes from what you can actually see. A looooot of toasted pine nuts.
Soba Ramen, String Beans, Shitake Mushrooms
Wonderfully soft soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles). String beans. Shitake mushrooms. Chinese cabbage. Spring onions. And more importantly a dashi broth, this wonderful, subtle Japanese broth from dried fish and seaweed, seasoned with soy sauce. Do you need anything else?
Poached Salmon, Pea Puree, and Beurre Blanc Sauce
There are a few ingredients a really don't mind buying frozen for various reasons. Peas are one of them. And a simple pea puree is a very tasty and healthy accompaniment to a salmon fillet poached in a fragrant stock which is then turned into a white butter sauce.
And why not use Sichuan pepper here to make the seasoning a little funkier?
Lentil Salad on a Sweet Potato Puree
A lentil salad with Greek strong flavours top a smooth sweet potato puree for a great vegetarian dish.
As old school as a Greek dish can get. Traditionally a cold fish and mayonnaise "salad" type of dish, found all over Athenian taverns a few decades ago and in my humble opinion probably originally conceived in order to use left over fish!
But make your own mayo and turn it into a sauce tartare, boil and mash potatoes, cut some fresh, fragrant tomatoes, and top with dried oregano and good quality olive oil and it indeed turns into a delicious, refreshing meal.
Thai Shrimp Soup
Ridiculously easy. Seriously. Provided you have a few long shelf life Asian condiments, fish or shellfish stock (easy to keep in the fridge for months), and a few other standard pantry items you can be eating this incredibly delightful, exotic soup in ten minutes.
A great way to celebrate beetroot season, with a filling of some crunchy, some creamy, some fresh, and some pungent ingredients to complement this sweet , wonderful vegetable.
This presentation would not be complete if I did not include one dish from yet another short lived really great chef, Nikolas, my second teacher. Here it is presented as it was adapted and served in Cucina Caruso's summer restaurant, once upon a time, on the island of Tinos.
I have yet to find a single person who does not love this dish. .
Fresh Mushrooms on a Cauliflower Puree
Another great vegetarian winter dish, with my favourite cauliflower, here mashed, beautiful fresh Shimeji and Shitake mushrooms, very briefly sauteed, and dried oregano to mess things up a bit!
Quinoa, Beetroot "Anthotyro" Medley
When the garden gives you fresh herbs, chop them up, mix them with quinoa, "anthotyro" (a soft but structured white cheese), and beetroot, and dress everything with a lemony vinaigrette.
And believe me you will keep returning here often enough.
Beautiful, alternative way to enjoy the humble zucchini, with a very Greek summery filling and a balsamic dressing.
Pork,Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower
The pork has to be juicy, the sweet potatoes need to caramelize, and the cauliflower puree has to be silky... Do that, and make a killer orange sauce, and 4 humble ingredients turn into an unforgettable plate of food.
Potato Salad with Smoked Tuna
A really wonderful contrast of flavours in this baby potato salad. Smoky from the tuna, pickle - y from the gherkin, sweet from the caramelized onion. Each mouthful is a real delight.
A vegeterian ragout with a variety of mushrooms and other complementary vegetables in a very complex, enriched red wine sauce. I like to pair this with a potato, cauliflower or celeriac puree.
Potato and Spinach Pie
A great filling here, potatoes and spinach being the main elements, but with touches from India, in the form of various spices, and mingled with some more Mediterranean ingredients for an unforgettable flavour.
Braised and Charred Octopus
This juicy, tender octopus that has been braised, marinated, and charred, sits on a silky cauliflower puree and it mingles with a playful leek salsa for a delicious and surprising bite each time.