The Bounty of One Hundred Metres and PrassotiganiaSep 23rd, 2009 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Cheese, Greek, Greek Wine, Herbs, Meze, Olive Oil, Pork, Recipes
One thing I was determined to do during this past vacation in Greece was to bring my camera everywhere (almost everywhere) I go. There were many times when I regretted not bringing my camera. That perfect photo, the surprise moment that needed to be captured or, just for the sake of taking photos.
Mission accomplished…I took around 3400 photos, had to buy two more memory cards for my camera and I’m very happy with the outcome. On my very first day upon arriving in Greece (after a good night sleep) I took a walk into the nearby town of Nea Kallikratia.
On my way into town I noticed that there were quite a few plants/trees that were useful for the kitchen. Greece is blessed when it comes to food items. During my walk to town, look at what grew at the side of the road, within a mere 100 metres:
Olives are abundant in Halkidiki
By late August/early September, the walnuts fall from the tree and one can collect as many as you can carry.
Fig trees. Fig trees are everywhere.The figs are ripe for the picking by mid-August. Nothing like a tree-ripened fig.
Although these look like raspberries they are not. These are unripened blackberries and when they are ready, boy are they sweet.
Purslane (pig-weed) is everywhere. Purslane is slighty tangy and it’s a wonderful addition to a salad.
Bay (Laurel) trees abound everywhere. Each year my family picks and dries some leaves to take back to Canada.
Rosemary flourishes in this area. Rosemary grows very often near the sea. Many homes have hedges made of rosemary to line the perimeter of their property.
Grape vine leaves are for the taking. It’s with these leaves that Dolmades are made from.
Prickly pear fruit grow alongside of the main road and they also grow out of rocky crags at the nearby shore.
All this vegetation within 100 metres…not bad eh?
Upon my arrival into town, I hoped into an internet cafe and I received an email from a good friend who had bought be a new cell phone (with my same number) as last year my older phone was stolen.
My friend was going on holidays and that meant I had to go to Thessaloniki to pick-up the phone…unless I wanted to wait another two weeks when my friend returned from vacation.
So off I went to Thessaloniki and as my friend finished work at 2:30pm, I had some time to kill. What would I do with a few hours in the city? Visit the city’s main market, Kapani.
The array of fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood would delight anyone with some experience in a kitchen and like every year I visit Greece, the leeks are still the best I’ve seen. Long white stalks are what you’re looking for when buying leeks.
Here in Canada, the weather has changed. It’s now officially autumn and although we’re in a mild spell, the cooler temps and heartier dishes draw near.
Today, I would like to share a “tigania” dish…a generic term in Greece that brands these dishes where pieces of meat get fried-up with the addition of aromatics, wine and simmered until the meat becomes fork-tender. The Greek taverna is loaded with such dishes in the cooler months, carafes of wine are ordered and as for recipes…every Greek taverna must have their very own take on Tigania.
Here, we have “prasso-tigania”. Prasso is the Greek word for leeks, very much in season in Greece and here in Canada and I think this is a wonderful dish for September.
Prassotigania involves little effort, the ingredient list is short and the flavour? Always big when it comes to the dishes I present. Pieces of pork are lightly browned, the skillet is de-glazed with white wine and stock, the pork returns to the party and hangs out until fork-tender.
Half-way through, you add your sliced leeks and in another small skillet, dredge some cubes of “Kefalograviera” cheese and lightly fry them until golden brown. When the Prassotigania is ready, sprinkle some Boukovo, some dried Greek oregano and throw in your fried cubes of Kefalograviera cheese.
Serve with some good crusty bread (for mopping the delicious sauce), some rice or potatoes and a seasonal salad.
Prassotigania (Î ÏÎ±ÏƒÎ¿Ï„Î·Î³Î±Î½Î¹Î¬)
(serve as part of array of appetizers for 4)
1 lb. of lean pork, cut into bite-sized cubes
2 leeks, tops trimmed, sand and grit rinsed away, chopped into rings
1/3 cup olive oil + some oil for frying
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil for finishing
1 heaping Tbsp. of dried Greek oregano
1 tsp. of Boukovo (dried chilli flakes)
squeeze of lemon juice
300 gr. of Kefalograviera cheese, cubed
(or another firm, white sheep’s milk cheese)
- Wash and pat-dry your pork, Cut into cubes and season with saltÂ and pepper. Pre-heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Brown off your cubes of pork (in batches if necessary) and reserve.
- Now pour in your white wine and with a wooden spoon, scrape off the brown bits as your are de-glazing the pan. Add your pork back into the skillet along with the stock and olive oil bring back to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the meat for another 20 minutes.
- Add your chopped leeks and stir in. Place the cover back on and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the leeks have cooked and your pork is fork tender.
- While your Prassotigania is cooking, cut your Kefalograviera into cubes and lightly dredge them in flour. Place some oil in another skillet and fry over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. Reserve on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
- When your Prassotigania is ready, take off the heat and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Boukovo and some dried Greek oregano. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Add the cubes of fried Kefalograviera and serve with crusty bread, some rice or potatoes and a dry Greek wine, like the Domaine Gerovassiliou White, with Assyrtiko and Malagouzia grapes.
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or atÂ 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.
Â© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis
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© 2009, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. 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.