Another island in the Cyclades of Greece is Tinos. Tinos is the island just before reaching party-central Mykonos.
The contrast in vacationers that attend both islands is that of the late nights of Mykonos, loud thumping Techno & House and all-nighters and the more normal Tinos with vacationers seeking the beach, idlyllic town life, a fine taverna and it’s popular religious attraction of Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary).
One of the holiest days in the Greek-Orthodox calendar is August 15th and many pilgrims visit Tinos to crawl up it’s long incline of steps in hopes of being one of the blessed with a miracle from the icon of Panagia.
Tinos is also famous for it’s artichokes and in keeping with the Greeks’ natural ingenuity, taverna owners have come up with creative ways to showcase this local produce in an array of dishes.
I found an interesting recipe from Diane Kochilias who has written many cookbooks on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine.
She describes this dish as being inspired by the taverna owners’ many renditions of their Artichoke pie. The Greek island of Kefallonia (on the Ionian side of Greece) also has their own Artichoke pie but we’ll chat about that another time.
This dish stood out for me because one of the main ingredients here is bread slices. I have a feeling the origins of this dish are very peasant and in keeping with the Greek tradition of stretching your ingredients to utmost limit.
I’m sure day-old bread was used to make Artichoke Pie (you can too) but I’ve found that lighter, less dense bread works best here for absorbing moisture and flavour in the end result.
This dish is easy, great offering for a buffet, part of a light lunch or serve a wedge as a snack. It also came in handy as I was able to use up a jar of artichokes staring at me in the fridge and it hit the spot for wanting a light lunch with a salad on the side.
Artichoke Pie (Î¤Î±Î²ÎµÏÎ½Î¯ÏƒÎ¹Î± Î±Î³ÎºÎ¹Î½Î±ÏÏŒÏ€Î¹Ï„Î± Ï„Î·Ï‚ Î¤Î®Î½Î¿Ï…)
a buttered 13X9X2″ bakiing dish
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large loaf of rustic bread, crust removed & cut into thick slices
2 tsp. of fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
approx. dozen artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces (poached if fresh, I used jarred)
1 1/2 grated Graviera cheese (Gruyere is fine)
3 cups of Bechamel Sauce (or 1/2 of my recipe)
thyme sprigs for garnish
- Melt the olive oil in a large skillet and add your onions and garlic and saute over medium-low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add your fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool and set aside.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Now make your Bechamel sauce as per my instructions with the 1 cup of grated Graviera and set aside and keep warm.
- Spoon some Bechamel Sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and lay your first layer of bread slices. Now spoon half of your sauteed onions over the bread, followed by half the artichoke pieces, some Bechamel sauce and some grated cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order.
- Bake until tender and the top is golden-brown, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, slice into portioned squares and serve.
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