Allow your taste buds to slip into holiday mode with these gorgeous Greek recipes, from main dishes to meze.
We have all had eyes on Greece this summer, as temperatures have hit unbearable highs and fires have raged on Rhodes and Corfu. It may, then, just be our taste buds that we indulge with a little trip to those glorious islands this summer – and these recipes have us island hopping across the azure waters of the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas in our minds at least, stopping in at tavernas between dips in the sea. If we close our eyes, we can almost hear the sound of plates smashing and guitars beings strummed while the sea gently laps at the shore. Almost. Now, pass the retsina, while we whip up nine favourite classic Greek dishes.
If we ever spy spanakopita on a menu, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll order it – after all, what’s not to get the mouth watering? The creamy, tangy feta? The good-for-you spinach? Or the lovely crunch of the filo pastry? The good news is twofold: a) buy ready-made pastry and this is easy to make and b) it’s the perfect summer dish to feed a crowd. Get the recipe here.
It is unlikely that many of us feel we really need a recipe in order to knock up a Greek salad. And yet, if you want to recreate the gorgeous and refreshing authentic deal found in every tavernas in every white-washed village on every glorious island, then there are some rules to follow. First, traditionally, in Greece this is served between spring and autumn so that the ingredients are as fresh and seasonal as can be. Second, there is no greenery in sight: the only proper ingredients to use are tomatoes, sliced cucumber, green pepper, sliced red onion, Kalamata olives or green olives and feta cheese, the latter of which should arrive in large slices on top of the salad, not broken into small cubes. As for the dressing, keep it simple: good olive oil and red wine vinegar is all you’ll need. Apart, that is, from a lovely glass of cold Greek wine. Get the recipe here.
Many of us think we know how to knock out a killer moussaka – particularly those of us who lived and entertained through the 1970s or 80s. Why not put your fallback recipe to the test by seeing how it tallies against Greek celebrity chef Akis Petretzikis’ definitive and authentic technique? If it means feasting on moussaka outside on balmy nights, we’ll happily take up the challenge. Watch the video for the recipe here.
Just considering this recipe for Shrimps À La Spetsiota has us lost in reveries of seafront tavernas and the freshest of fresh bounty from the waters. This dish comes courtesy of Estiatoria Milos, a Greek seafood restaurant with branches in Athens, New York, Miami and London. Easy to make, simple and packed full of flavour, we’ll be making this one all summer long. It’s crying out for some extremely cold and extremely crisp white wine to wash it down with. Get the recipe here.
Summer is made for grazing, which explains the abiding appeal of a Greek meze platter (a traditional one features feta, pitta bread, hummus, taramasalata, melitzanosalata, skordalia, olives, domaldes and more). These fantastic fritters would work beautifully added to a platter, or simply as a standalone accompaniment to aperitivo hour. They’re crisp and light – and is there anything more cooling on a hot day than lashings of minty tzatziki? Get the recipe here.
Barbeques are, of course, a perennial staple of the summer. But instead of the usual sausage and burgers, why not branch out with Akis Petretzikis’s recipe for lamb and halloumi skewers with grilled potatoes? A meal in and of themselves, we’d serve this with a big Greek salad and some light red wine. Get the recipe here.
This extremely syrupy walnut cake recipe is spiced with cinnamon and ground cloves. It is made with breadcrumbs rather than flour, some seven eggs, the zest of an orange and a good slug of cognac. Outrageously good. Get the recipe here.
If you can’t wait until dinner time to get your Greek hit, why not knock up a batch of these wonderfully light shortbread biscuits to have over coffee? Officially, they’re for Easter. We say they’re good enough to eat every day of the year. Get the recipe here.
No Greek feast would be complete without something sweet and honey-drenched to round it off. As they say, ‘Instead of a biscuit base, this Greek-style cheesecake is made with crisp filo pastry. It’s topped with a dollop of creamy feta, honey and orange blossom mix as well as sesame snaps and rose petals. It’s a beautiful dessert you can make-ahead of a dinner party.’ Amen to that. Get the recipe here.