I spent a blissful two weeks on the Greek island of Spetses this summer. Every lunch and dinner started with a delicious medley of salads and vegetables that were often my favourite part of the meal. The Greeks do vegetables exceptionally well and without much intervention. The trinity of peppery green olive oil, sea salt and oregano makes plates of boiled wild greens (or horta as it is called in Greece), beetroot, tomatoes and cucumber come alive in a way that tastes so much better than they do in the UK. Ice-cold Mythos beer and stunning views of the Mediterranean sea undoubtedly played a part. But it was these three simple elements of seasoning that I remember the most.
This month’s menu is an ode to Greece and to simple seasoning done well. I’ve shared the recipe for a simple baked fish stuffed with oregano and garlic, and cooked with tomatoes until they turn jammy. A starter or a side (you decide) of courgettes are cut into generous chunks with no need for precision, fried until golden and tossed with a garlicky parsley and pistachio spiked butter. For pudding, a simplified take on Greek baklava. Very much a cheat’s version, my honey pistachio filo rolls can be enjoyed as a sweet finish alongside a cup of a coffee (how we often enjoyed baklava after suppers in Greece) or jazzed up with a spoonful of ice-cream or Greek yogurt and some freshly chopped fruit.
Margaritas are in no way a traditional Greek drink, but we drank a lot of very good ones at the beautiful Hotel Poseidonion bar overlooking the sea. My favourite was a take on a spicy margarita which they served with a black pepper and chilli rim. It’s reignited my love for a spicy rimmed margarita and I’ve been reminded of my obsession with Tajin seasoning. It works particularly well with a frozen mango margarita, too.
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Oregano & Thyme Oven-Baked Sea Bream With Jammy Tomatoes
This is a deliciously simple way to cook fish. The herbs and garlic bring so much flavour to the fish, while the butter keeps it beautifully tender. Make sure you oil the fish all over to ensure crispy skin
Pan-Fried Courgettes With Pistachio Thyme & Parsley Butter
It is the butter that makes this dish. Garlicky, nutty and full of herbs, it brings a real pep to simply pan-fried courgettes.
Honey Pistachio Filo Rolls
Heavily inspired by the delicious baklava eaten on trips to Greece and Turkey, these are a cheat’s baklava of sorts. There is a bit of fiddly work, but the result is worth it.