Today in Greece, it’s one of the biggest celebrations of food, it’sÂ Â “Tsiknopempti” or literally, “burnt Thursday”.
In Greece, they are well into Carnival celebrations. The most well known city for Carnival celebrations takes place in Patra but there are other cities & towns with their own unique, most interesting and often hilarious ways of celebrating the pagan rituals just before Lent.
Take a look at this report on the Carnival in Patra from the Travel Channel UK———>Carnival in Patra
Now back to Tsiknopempti. The compound word was given to this day from the very evident of smell of roasting meat on this Thursday. Although Greeks are huge om grilling and roasting their meats, you’ll find the majority packed in tavernas where platters upon platters of meat are served to the waiting mouths of hungry Carnival revellers.
Over here in Canada, it is too cold to be grilling outside or to be sitting “al fresco” enjoying a feast of endless platters of meats in the terrace of a taverna.
Therefore, one has to adapt to one’s surroundings and make do.
The subject – lamb. The inspiration -Michael Psilakis. The occasion – Tsiknopempti.
For those not in the know, Michael Psilakis isÂ the chef and part-owner of Anthos and Kefi in Mahattan, New York. Last year I had the pleasure of dining at Kefi and I enjoyed Michael’s twists & turns with Greek food.
This dish probably was something he would have offered at the more upscale Anthos. It’s not that it’s a complicated dish but there are some extra-steps required to pull this dish off with panache.
I highly recommend roasting the garlic (integral part of the dish’s flavour) and for that perfect pink lamb, a meat thermometer here is your friend.
As a pairing with this visually attractive and delicious dish, I whipped up a spin on my Potatoes and Feta “au gratin”. I toned down the dish, omitting the rosemary and olives and just went for potatoes, Bechamel and Feta.
The star here was the rack of lamb and I was looking for a creamy, warm pairing to complement the lamb and it’s bold flavours.
The third component to the dish was some blanced green beans that got tossed in some the extra paste that was made for the lamb’s sun-dried tomato and garlic crust.
I brought the whole dish together with the serving of an Alpha Estate Xinomavro. Xinomavro grapes are an indigenous Greek varietal Alpha Estate’s winery is located in my parents’ municipality of Amynteon, Florinis.
Got a hot date coming up? Perhaps you want to treat your significant other, husband or wife a feast of the Greek Gods? This could be your dish.
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