When thought about the music, the little white houses on the Greek Islands and the familiar tastes, one cannot hold himself back from imagining that he's sitting at a rakı table, filled with delicious food, right next to the shining sea. That's why we wrote down a few of our favorite recipes for a Greek-style and Mediterranean inspired table.
Now all you need is rakı, the ingredients for the recipes you want to make, some imagination and your friends.
In Greece, it's called “psari plaki" whereby “psari" stands for fish and “plaki" for baked in the oven with vegetables. Its simple ingredient-based cooking creates layers into one dish for a tasty and light meal for a rakı table.
Ingredients:8 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half1 red onion, halved and sliced3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped1 tsp oregano1 tsp thyme2 tbsp olive oil1 pinch of sea salt1 pinch of ground black pepper1 lemon, cut into wedges2 fresh codfish fillets (200g each), cut into serving-size pieces10 tomatoes1/2 cup of black olives with pit1/2 cup of capersA handful of fresh parsley, roughly choppedOptional 1/2 cup of white wine Method:
Heat the oven to 200C. Mix the potatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, olive oil and seasoning into a baking dish. Roast for 15 min, turn everything over and bake for another 15 min. Add lemon, tomatoes, fish fillets, olives, capers and white wine on top to bake for 20min. Check the fish occasionally to make sure it does not get dry and overcooked.
Being one of the most traditional Greek recipes, souvlaki is quite popular in the region. It is normally served in pita bread but you can serve it however you like. Here you'll see a quick tzatziki recipe too to top up your souvlaki. For the kebabs:1kg boneless Lamb shoulder or neck, trimmed of sinew, cut into 2.5cm chunks60ml olive oilZest of ó an orange, finely grated1 tsp garlic powder2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed2 bay leaves, finely chopped 1 tbsp red wine vinegarA pinch of sea salt
For the tzatziki:1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted2 garlic cloves
A generous pinch of salt200g granny smith apples, finely grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
250g Greek yogurtA pinch of sugar1 tsp red wine vinegar
To serve:A handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
Mix all of the kebab ingredients in a bowl, and leave overnight to marinate. Crush the fennel seeds, garlic and sea salt together mix with the tzatziki ingredients. Skewer the lamb, leaving little gaps between the pieces so the meat cooks more evenly. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Again, whip up a large batch of tzatziki (we told you how just a minute ago) and get some crisp lettuce and freshly baked pita bread. With this kebab recipe you'll have just the feast for your friends and family. They are so easy to make and damn tasty. Marinated in a blend of spices, they can be grilled, chargrilled or cooked on the BBQ.Ingredients:For the skewers:500g quality lamb, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm cubes6-8 skewers or sticks2 red onions, peeled and quartered2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5 cm piecesFor the marinade:1 tbsp smoked paprika2 cloves of garlic1/2 tsp cumin seeds2 tsp coriander seeds1 pinch of sea salt1 pinch of ground black pepper2 tbsp olive oilMethod:Bash up the spices in a pestle and mortar until fine. Add the oil to make a thick, marinade paste. Put the lamb pieces into a bowl and cover with the marinade. Let them sit there for half an hour to an hour. Use skewers and spike each piece of meat alternately with red onion and peppers. Grill for around 5 minutes, turning regularly, to give you nicely charred meat on the outside with juicy pink on the inside. Allow resting for a few minutes before piling them onto your pita bread, dousing with tzatziki and adding a couple of leaves of crisp lettuce.
This recipe requires a grilling basket to ensure your fish stays in one piece when you turn it on the heat. For the delicate fingered of you, by all means, flip it with a spatula and tongs.Ingredients:1 2-3-lb. whole fish, such as red snapper, porgy, or striped bass, cleanedKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteJuice and grated rind of 2 lemons1 tsp. ground coriander1 tsp. chopped oregano3 tsp. olive oil for brushingMethod:Put fish into a 9″x 13″baking dish and cut three evenly spaced 1⁄4″- deep crosswise slits into each side of the fish. Season fish cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Combine lemons juice and rind, oregano and coriander in a small bowl and rub cavity and skin of fish with the garlic mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare charcoal fire or preheat gas grill for covered direct grilling over medium heat. Brush the inside grates of grilling basket with oil. Uncover fish, transfer it to grilling basket, and brush with some of the oil. Cook fish, flipping every few minutes and basting often with tamarind sauce until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer fish to a serving platter; serve hot or at room temperature. Drizzle fillets with the remaining oil mixture. Serve with lemon wedges. Now this is a superstar dish for your rakı table.
Fancy a vegetarian dish for your rakı table? Here's a simple veggie alteration of the classic Greek souvlaki using halloumi cheese to substitute meat. With these Greek vegetable kebabs, you can add some color to your perfect rakı table.Ingredients:For the skewers:1 yellow and red bell peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces1 courgette, cut into 1.5cm slices1 red onion, sliced16 cherry tomatoes8 wooden or metal skewersFor the marinade:2 tbsp olive oil2 tbsp lemon juice1 tsp thyme1 tsp oregano1 tsp mint1 pinch of sea salt1 pinch of ground black pepperMethod:
Soak wooden skewers for 10 min in cold water to prevent them from burning. Chop the pepper, courgette and onion into chunky pieces. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and seasoning in a large bowl.Put all the kebab ingredients together in the bowl and stir. Thread the ingredients onto the wooden sticks and fill them evenly up. Preheat the grill or griddle pan and add more oil to the tray. Place the skewers onto the tray and cook for 10-12 minutes. Once the vegetables are soft and turn them over. Serve with oven-baked pitta bread or a fresh green salad.
Our rakı pick to go with these Mediterranean dishes is Yeni Rakı Masters' Blend. As it's a blended produce, it carries Yeni Rakı's traditional taste, Yeni Rakı Yeni Seri's smooth taste from first aniseed harvest and Yeni Rakı Ala's intense aroma from maturing in oak barrels. It's a perfect match with fish dishes and cold mezzes. Order some from online shops to have this spirit delivered to your doorstep. Cook one or more recipes from above and pour yourself a glass.
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