Travelling through the Greek islands is like being transported to a completely different world and even a different time. There is literally everything. The Mediterranean blue waters,
the mountain views,
roads that divide the old and the new,
and 500 years plus olive groves with Roman ruins scattered around.
Corfu has to be one of my favourite islands. At every turn there is something to contemplate. The history and mix of nature and civilization is a perfect blend. It is no wonder this environment has some of the most inspired food I have ever had. All the ingredients are simple and fresh. When you eat, it feels like every ingredient was cared for and the sun, sea, and soil definitely help give the ingredients their amazing flavours.
Mezze was one of those dishes that I fell in love with. I admit, after hiking through the mountains and swimming in the sea that I was in a certain state of mind but when someone puts a dish like this in front of you with a mountain top view, you can’t help but be impressed.
I took note of this dish because I know I could literally eat like this every day and not grow tired of it. Mezze simply means an appetizer or little snack. There are many ways you can put one of these little plates together but I wanted to recreate what I had. To do this I simply needed the following:
Because I don’t have the luxury of the peppers, I found some local sweet banana peppers (make sure they are not the spicy variety) and with a bit of sea salt and olive oil, I grilled them in a cast iron grill until they were slightly charred and tender or, to make things easy, you can roast them.
The Loukaniko was slightly more challenging to find. It is a bit different than other pork sausages because it is flavoured with orange peel and fennel. If you can’t find these, try locating a meat shop or specialty sausage maker in your area and see if they have any citrus inspired sausages. Once you have them, slice them length-wise and throw them on the grill. There isn’t really a rule when it comes to mezze. Just provide a nice arrangement of fresh appetizers.
Finally, the saganaki cheese. This is a salty, sheep’s milk cheese that is becoming more popular in North America. Sometimes it is breaded but with a non-stick pan, you can fry it for about 2 minutes on each side to get a golden colour. No coating needed, just natural, delicious cheese. It is quite salty so a squeeze of lemon goes really well. This fried cheese uses one of two kinds of cheese, kefalograviera or kefalotyri. A good alternative to this is halloumi cheese.
We finished of our snack at the top of Paleokastritsa with a cup of Greek coffee and today, I return to my memories from the comfort of my home.