Greek cuisine 101

Some of the best food that the Mediterranean has to offer. Here are some great recipes.

06 Nov 2009
Greek food

Greek food embodies the very best that the Mediterranean has to offer; it's bold, vibrant, colourful and above all unforgettable.

Mezedes or appetisers form the starting line of the traditional Greek meal. There is nothing more delicious than a simple starter of crispy grilled halloumi cheese, served with a wedge of lemon, unless it's fresh warm pita triangles accompanied by a variety of creamy dips. Tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber) and taramasalata (fish roe, bread crumbs and loads of lemon juice) are just two of the many dips that could be on offer.

More elaborate fare includes dolmades, plump cigar-shaped appetisers made by wrapping vine leaves around a rice filling, and spanakopites which are heavenly golden phyllo triangles stuffed with spinach and feta. Mezedes are meant to be enjoyed at leisure, and are usually washed down with plenty of Ouzo, an anise-flavoured liqueur that packs a powerful punch.

Main meals
Greek main meals are a meat-lover's dream. Kleftiko is a wonderfully comforting dish made by marinating lamb shanks in olive oil and lemon juice, and then slow roasting them for several hours. The result is meat so tender, that it literally falls off the bone at the slightest touch of a fork tip.

Moussaka is undoubtedly one of the champions of the Greek cookbook; tasty beef or lamb mince layered between slices of fried aubergine and topped with an eggy white sauce and cheese before being baked till bubbling and golden. Souvlaki are skewers of beef, lamb or pork, which are seared and served in pita bread with a crunchy salad of raw tomato, onion and cucumber.

Vegetarians can enjoy a classic Greek salad, with plump Kalamata olives and crumbly feta cheese, or tyropita, a divine pie made from phyllo pastry and cheese. Also on the menu are aubergines, tomatoes or baby marrows stuffed with rice, herbs and breadcrumbs (gemista).
Next week, we'll be looking at the fabulous array of desserts Greece has to offer. Can't wait? Sneak a peak...Food24 has over 60 glorious Greek recipes.

5 things to do with Greek cuisine




Lamb shanks (kleftiko)

Elliniko kafe (Greek coffee)


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