As I’ve written before, the town Nea Kallikratia where our summer home is located is a vibrant tourist and fishing town.
Nea Kallikratia is located about 3o minutes south of Thessaloniki and it’s situated on the Thermaic Gulf. On a clear day one can see clearly across the Gulf and almost touch Mount Olmypus.
With myself being a big lover of seafood, I feel lucky to spend my summers by the sea to feel the warm sun on my body, cool off in warm waters of the sea and take full advantage of the fresh seafood caught daily from these very seas.
As you know, fishermen closely follow the phases of the moon and fish accordingly. In Nea Kallikratia as the sun sets, one can see the fishing boats (Gri-Gri) head out to sea to seek the day’s catch.
At night, one can see the “Gri-Gri” boats lined up as they lay nets to catch their fish. If you take a close look at the night-time photo I took at this beach bar, you can see one row of lights just above the floating torches placed in the sea by the bar. That row of lights above are the “Gri-Gri”…working all night to bring us the freshest fish.
The next day these fish will go out to tavernas, fish mongers and to those few lucky ones that have a close relationship with the fishermen and reap the rewards of such a friendship.
In Nea Kallikratia, the “Laiki” or farmer’s market arrives into town each Tuesday morning. There, townfolk can buy the freshest of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood, plants, nuts, sweets, spices and dry legumes.
I often will buy seafood on the Tuesday morning from the “Laiki” and one the Mediterranean’s tastiest & healthiest fish has to be the sardine.
This past summer, a recipe from one of my favourite Greek chefs, Dina Nikolau was featured in Gastronomos magazine.
It’s a baked fish dish that has many ingredients but is simple to prepare, healthy and “poli nostimo” (very tasty).
The three stars of this dish are the freshest of sardines, capers and mustard which offers up the tartness in the dish and as good thickener for the sauce.
1 1/2 kg. sardines (scaled & gutted)
1 large onion, diced
3-4 scallions, diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. of capers, rinsed & chopped
3 Tbsp. of mustard
1 medium-sized tomato, grated
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. of coarse breadcrumbs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
zest & juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
- Scale, gut and pull the head off your sardines (or have your fishmonger do this for you) then rinse and place the sardines in a baking dish, lining the bottom, side by side.
- In a large pot, add your olive oil over medium heat and add your diced onions and scallions saute for a couple of minutes. Now add the garlic and capers and saute for another minute.
- Add your wine and simmer for another couple of minutes so the alcohol cooks off. Keep on stirring and then add the grated tomato and mustard and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and add the zest & lemon juice and your chopped parsley. Stir to incorporate.
- Pour your sauce mixture over the sardines in the baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs over top.
- Bake for about 5-7 minutes and serve hot with some crusty bread and a salad.
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