“It’s all Greek to me,” muttered Sous Chef as he poured through the menu of a quaint taverna on the esplanade in Katakolon, Greece. While he may have been joking in his inimitable fashion, we were indeed living the Mediterranean lifestyle for a few hours: al fresco dining under a bright blue canopy, water lapping just behind our table, soft breezes carrying the aroma of grilled delicacies and the Mediterranean Sea, and an unobstructed view of our cruise ship in the background.
|The best Octopus we've ever had is on this table|
|Somehow the grilled octopus disappeared...|
It’s been a few years since our first-ever cruise which took us through the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas to visit, if briefly, such historic sites as Corfu, Mykonos, Athens and Katakolon. The cruise ship ordeal was forgettable, and our last if Sous Chef has anything to say about it, but the culinary and cultural experiences of the Greek Isles were not and remain deeply entrenched in my cognitive and olfactory senses. This week’s “French Fridays with Dorie” challenge roused those senses to the point I could almost smell and taste our meal at the taverna in Katakolon: fresh grilled octopus, warm pita slathered with house made Tzatzaki, and chilled Greek white wine. Opa!, the staff shouted in greeting when we arrived, and Opa!, we exclaimed when departing that most wonderful culinary adventure.
|Stands the test of time|
Mediterranean cooking is based on the straightforward use of the best and freshest local ingredients. Simplicity and freshness are the name of the game, and nothing embodies these qualities better than the ubiquitous Tzatzaki which is intended as a condiment for all courses of a meal. Versatile and refreshing, and perfect for the dog days of August, it can be used as dip with crudité or pita or as a sauce or accompaniment with chicken or lamb. Dorie’s recipe is delicious and true to tradition, although she dices the cucumbers instead of shredding or grating them as some recipes instruct.
|I often dream of sitting here|
One of my favorite ways to enjoy Tzatziki is on a pita, with sliced grilled chicken breast, juicy tomatoes, avocado, and red onion. It is simple, it is fresh, and it can be enjoyed equally for lunch or dinner. If you are taking a stay-cation this weekend, travel to Greece by renting “Shirley Valentine” or “Mama Mia, “ and mix up a batch of Tzatziki to nibble on through the movie.
Chicken Pita & Tzatziki
2 pieces of pita
2 grilled chicken breasts sliced into strips (a great way to use leftover chicken)
1 tomato sliced thinly
¼ cup diced red onion
½ avocado diced
½ cup Tzatziki
Warm the pita. Spread a generous layer of Tzatziki over the pita. Place two tomato slices on the Tzatziki and top with the sliced chicken breast. Garnish with the red onion, avocado, and dollop of Tzatziki.
To read more Dorista’s experiences with Tzatziki go to “French Fridays with Dorie.”
|Stark white architecture set off by a splash of color|
|A little "facelift" at the Acropolis|
|Emerald Green Water surrounds Corfu - James Bond forgot to pick me up|