Vasilli’s Mushrooms With Ouzo

Photo courtesy of Mike of www.fun2fly.com
Photo courtesy of Mike of www.fun2fly.com

This dish comes from  one of the most striking areas of Greece and we’re not talking about a Greek island or drop-dead gorgeous beach. I’m speaking of the Vikos Gorge, located in the northwestern province of Epirus.

Photo Courtesy of Jan Bergtun
Photo Courtesy of Jan Bergtun

The first time I passed through this part of Greece was in 1988, on my way to the island of Corfu, on the Ionian coast. I recall roads that hugged steep cliffs, a region lush in green and forests, a dramatic vista of Greek nature. The Vikos Gorge lies in the North Pindos mountains and the area is called Zagori and the some-forty villages are called “Zagorohoria”.

img_0268The Vikos gorge attracts Greek and foreign hikers and of partiular focus today are those who have an interest in hunting for wild mushrooms. I recently watched and enjoyed an Australian-produced series called “Feast Greece” and in one episode, the Vikos Gorge and the Zagorohoria were featured.

img_3239A cooking segment was also inclueded in the segment which featured this meze of mushrooms. Vassilis Katsoupas returned to his home of Epirus after coming to Canada to study and attain his MBA from York University. Some twenty odd years in Canada were enough for him and at long last, he’s back in the Zagori Gorge, providing educational and culinary treks seeking mild mushrooms.

Vasilli also owns & operates a taverna called “Kanella & Garifalo” (Cinnamon & Clove) and that is where many weary and hungry hikers can stop off to relax, enjoy and dine on a menu made solely from local ingredients.

img_3257This dish is inspired by Vassili’s mushroom dish. I used a combo of white button mushrooms, Cremini and King Oysters. This is a sample dish to prepare and the addition of Ouzo (anise-flavoured Greek aperatif) is subtle. If you cannot find Ouzo, anise seeds, Pernod or some Sambuca will do the trick!

Before I get to the recipe, I’m sending this dish out to Mary of the blog, “En Direct D’Athenes”. Mary is a French woman who’s resettled in Athens. Her blog is in French but with the help of online translation services and French school teachings here in Canada, I can read and enjoy Mary’s wonderful dishes.

img_3268Mary’s blog proves that food transcends borders and language, the senses we all rely upon to enjoy food being the only language. Please do visit Mary’s blog. She has a Google translator on her site and she would be delighted to hear from you in either French, Greek or English.

Vasilli’s Mushrooms With Ouzoimg_3258

(one appetizer portion)

About 2 cups of assorted mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter

4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 shot of Ouzo

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup of creme fraiche

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a large skillet or cast-iron pan, add your olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add your mushrooms and toss to coat them well. Season with a little salt and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes (add some more oil if needed).
  2. Cover, reduce to medium and allow to simmer and release their juices for another 5-7 minutes. Add the Ouzo, stir in and reduce for about a minute.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low, add your creme fraiche and and stir in to heat through and coat your mushrooms. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add the chopped fresh parsley.
  4. Serve warm as an appeetizer/meze with some toasted homemade bread.

NOTE: Can’t find creme fraiche in your neck of the woods, this recipe has come in handy many times.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009 – 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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62 Comments for “Vasilli’s Mushrooms With Ouzo”

says:

This is making me hungry! Great flavors going on here.. i remember another time where u had used ouzo..

lovely pics.

says:

Those mushrooms look amazing as does the view. I can’t quite imagine what they will taste like though. I have never had ouzo before.

says:

If I had to make a list of my “Last Meal” wishes, this would be on it. Spectacular. Look at those mushrooms, would ya? I’ve got a bottle of Pastis that is nearly full. I’m making this.
LL
P.S. Love the photos of the gorge.

says:

This has to be one of the best recipes I’ve look at in a while. Anything with mushrooms as the main ingredient is always a favorite of mine.

says:

Make mine a meal size portion, please! It looks gorgeous. I love all things mushroom, and the combination of flavors sounds inviting. Off to buy some Ouzo!

says:

damn those mushrooms look good, and that part of greece looks gorgeous.

made your gigantes again tonight, this time with some hot and sweet red peppers added in… love that dish in all its variations!

says:

These king oyster mushrooms are something Peter! I have never visited Zagorohoria, but I would really like to go some day. It looks fantastic.

says:

MMMMMM….This dish looks as I would make it but now it is more interesting with the Ouzo!! Sometimes, I add medium sherry!!

says:

Hi! Just found you. What a gorgeous blog, all these photos, I love to see places I will probably never see!And the food, these mushrooms look just gorgeous!AND delicious!

says:

Strikingly beautiful area in Greece that I’d never heard of. Such a fascinating country of geographic contrasts…and, of course, the mushrooms look wonderful.

says:

Peter, thanks for the beautiful tour. I always learn so much when I visit. The mushroom dish is outstanding and who could resist the addition of creme fraiche as well. Wonderful Post!

says:

I loved hiking through this area of Greece. We hiked to a monastery in the Vikos Canyon which will always be a highlight of my trip.It is where I also tried a feta cheese pancake that was my best food memory as well.

says:

Peter, you’ll not believe this. Maria, the other girl from our blog, is in Vikos and Zagoroxoria that week. She’ll return on Thursday, bringing photos and recipes (I hope).
Zagoroxoria is one of the most beautiful places in Greece (I’ve been there many times), fantastic scenery indeed!!!

The creamy mushrooms look very very tasty!!!

says:

I always enjoy your photos. But these mushrooms are the absolute best. I mean this dish you can literally put on top of any meal. Cremem fraiche is one of my most fav ways to dress up a meal. Rather kick up.

says:

Terrible! So creamy and so perfect. I easily can imagine the flavors.
It is a pleasure to discover you are a greek cook-“bloggeur”. Here you are in my favorites. “See” you soon!

says:

Oh Peter…I am the biggest mushroom lover and this recipe is drool worthy. They look absolutely fantastic!

says:

The pictures – amazing – the mushrooms even more amazing – together, I can’t imagine anything more seductive.

says:

That looks delightfully simple to prepare and sounds like a real treat for any mushroom lover. I wish I could get my hands on an interesting variety of fresh mushrooms–I’d be all over this one! One of these days…

says:

I love mushrooms (and YUM by the way), but for once, you killed me with non-food posts. I love the beauty of nature even *more* than food, and the gorge looks spectacular. It’s one of those things, I know from experience in vast spaces, where I bet that the scope of it cannot be properly conveyed in most photos. Awesome.

says:

I don’t know what is enticing me more… the scenery and photos or mushrooms sauteed with cream… Oh my, oh my, oh my… how these do send me!

says:

Bonjour du Tarn en France, je découvre ton blog par Mary d’Athènes. Tes recettes sont si dépaysantes, ça fait du bien de lire d’autres saveurs. Bon blog est superbe. Bonne Journée.

says:

A delicious recipe and beautiful photos. Glad to have found your blog via En-direct-dathenes. I shall try your recipe, using the local southern French aniseed pastis.

says:

I love this so much, Peter! If we hadn’t already packed all our booze away (we’re moving), I’d make them today!

says:

Ooooh mushrooms plus Ouzo!!
Wow – That does look good, but then everything you cook looks good. I will have to try this!

says:

You know, I just happen to have some Ouzo sitting all alone in the cupboard. Poor little Ouzo … I should take it out and have it make friends with the mushrooms sitting in my fridge! Great recipe! Thanks for the heads up regarding Mary’s blog.

says:

can you believe I used to hate mushrooms when I was a kid? I have no idea exactly when the shift occurred, but my perception of them went from utter dislike to a borderline obsession. beautiful dish Peter!

says:

Vikos and Zagorohoria and indeed very beautiful. We visited Varoulko a few years ago and the cuisine is excellent.

says:

Thanks for this recipe I wil test it out at the week-end. I had something similar at my nephews restaurant in Yorkshire, UK he had added some Stilton cheese to the sauce which was made with white wine not Ouzo

Ange Kenos

says:

We come from “around the corner”, from a small village where no one lives any more. But my late yia yia used to make a version of this very similar. She used as much garlic but she added more ouzo or home made tsipouro when ouzo was not available. The cream was made fresh by her as well. Mmmmmmmm