I love Greece. And I love Greek food…. Maybe because it always reminds me of wonderful summers spend lazying around by the sea, exploring the gorgeous countryside and spending rosy afternoons in a little tavern by the seaside, windswept and salty from being outside all day and then having some retzina and mezze to still our appetite… Ooo, it’s been too long really. So when I got my hands on the beautiful book A la Crecque from Pam Talimanidis I could not resist.
The book shines with beautiful photography both from the delicious dishes but also with some breathtaking landscapes that immediately transport you back to sunny Greece. When looking for some pictures to add to the atmosphere I realized also that it has been 5 years since I last visited Greece! Five years! Well, almost 6 really if I could this year too. Way way too long… When Tom and first met 21 (!) years ago, our very first holiday abroad was spend in Samos. From there we moved on to Lesbos, Zakynthos and some of the other smaller islands. I’m not a big fan of the larger islands like Crete or Rhodos as those are looking more like party islands…. Too old for that!
Our last trip to Greece was in fact to Crete, since the travel agency we had booked with went bankrupt shortly before we were leaving, so we had to improvise and the only thing available at that time was one week to Crete. We figured that it was better then nothing and while certainly not our top pick, we did have a good time. That’s the thing with Greece, it is always relaxing and the sunny laidback scene immediately makes me feel at home…. Sigh… Time for another visit soon!
In the meantime the book from Pam will definitely bring you in the right frame of mind!
As a tradition; the first thing I always order when arriving in Greece is Saganaki cheese; it’s just one of my favorites. So when I saw this Saganaki dish in the book I figured it would be the perfect little dish to try. And it was delicious! Be careful not to overcook the prawns though. While saganaki has kind of become synonymous with this kind of cheese it is actually the word to describe a small shallow pan in which the cheese is often cooked. A saganaki is used for many ovendishes and this is just one of the examples. Highly recommend this delicious little dish! And for more of the real Greek flavors check out the book! A La Grecque by Pa Talimanidis
- 16 king prawns (4 per person)
- 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml white wine
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 200 gr feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat the oven to 200 C (400 F)
- Shell the prawns, leaving the heads and tails intact. With a sharp knife split each prawn across the back and remove the intestinal tract or poopshoot. Sprinkle the prawns lightly with salt.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the prawns in batches and saute on medium high for 2 minutes on each side or until they are pink and starting to turn golden brown. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute until slightly reduced. Remove the prawns from the pan and divide them evenly among 4 saganaki pans or an ovenproof dish.
- Ad the diced tomatoes and basil to the frying pan and season with pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes are warmed through then spoon over the prawns. Add a few pieces of feta to each saganaki, or tuck them in among the prawns if you’re using one large pan. Transfer to the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese begins to soften. Take to the table to serve.
A La Crecque is published by Hardie Grant Books