Back in 2010 I had the pleasure of visiting Crete for the first time and specifically the Hania region. Crete is Greece’s largest island and it also boasts of being home to the original Mediterranean diet.
Cretans are fiercely proud of their culture and they are set in their ways – including their diet of hearty vegetarian meals, lots of olive oil, fruits, legumes, nuts and meat, fish and seafood are eaten sparingly.
They also love cheese (as do all Greeks) and today I am going to share the recipe for Haniotiko (from Hania) Boureki. The word Boureki comes from Ottoman times and in northern Greece and the Balkans it refers to a phyllo pie.
In Crete, the term Boureki is referred to this layered potato and zucchini dish with hints of mint, slight sweetness from the zucchini that’s balanced by the tart cheese. I should add that it is also often made with phyllo as well.
The cheese used in Crete to make Boureki is a young, tart mizithra and it’s hard to find in other parts of Greece. No worries, a combo of ricotta and Feta cheese will give you the flavour you’re looking for and you won’t have to visit Crete (unless you want to). I am leading a tour of Santorini and Crete this September…care to join?
This recipe is great room temp or even served the next day. I like thin slices of potatoes and zucchini so I use a mandolin. Not mandatory but recommended. Serve this an an appetizer (as I did for my Cretan Supper Club) or as a meal portion with a salad. God bless the Cretans.
2-3 Tbsp. of room temperature butter
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
2 cups of ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. of all purpose flour
2 cups (plus 1/2 cup for topping) of crumbled Feta cheese
ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped mint (2 Tbsp. of dried)
approx. 6 medium sized Yukon Gold (yellow potatoes)
approx. 6 long slender zucchinis
3-4 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- Take a 12″ x 9″ deep rectangular baking dish and grease with butter. Next, into a food processor add the milk, ricotta, flour and blend until incorporated – set aside.
- Peel your potatoes, rinse your zucchini then thinly slice using a mandoline and reserve in two piles.
- Begin assembling your Boureki by covering the bottom of your vessel with slightly overlapping slices of potato. Spoon over some of the ricotta/milk mixture over the potatoes followed by a sprinkle of black pepper, mint and Feta.
- Now lay a layer of zucchini slices (slightly overlapping each other) followed by spooning ricotta/milk mixture, then black pepper, mint and Feta.
- Continue to alternately layer (potato and zucchini) until you’ve completed 2 layers of zucchini and 3 layers of potato. Push down on the boureki so as to compact it and make it even.
- Pour the remaining ricotta/milk mixture over the boureki and you may add some more zucchini slices for decor. Top with crumbled Feta and sesame seeds.
- Pre-heat your oven to 375F and cover your boureki with foil and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, bake uncovered for another 30 minutes until golden and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
- Serve with a Mediterra Xerolithia white from Crete.
. All rights reserved.