Journal » Recipes
"There is nothing better than a fresh, juicy salad. I love the Cretan version as it has the perfect crunch that comes from the barley rusks, the creaminess that comes from the fresh curd and the saltiness from the olives and capers. Of course I love it; its what I was brought up on. The grated graviera is not very common but it fits perfectly.
As the salad rests, the amazing juices seep into the rusks making them mouthfuls from heaven."
Morito's Cretan Salad
Serves 6-8 as a sharing plate
1 red horn pepper, halved lengthways, deseeded and cut into long thin strips
1 bunch English asparagus (about 10 spears), cut in half lengthways (with care!)
250g ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 red onion, peeled, cut in halve and sliced thinly
1 long green pepper, deseeded and sliced into rounds
1 long red radish, cut into slithers (I use a potato peeler)
1 large Cretan barley rusk (traditional hardened bread), broken into bite size pieces
One small handful green olives
1 tbsp capers in brine
1 tsp wild dried oregano
100g Cretan mizithra cheese (fresh curd)
50g Cretan graviera cheese, grated on the coarse side of a box grater
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp aged red wine vinegar
sea salt to taste
Toss the asparagus in one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Heat a heavy based pan over medium heat and when hot add the asparagus making sure they are evenly spread out, ideally with not much overlapping. Cook the spears for a couple of minutes and transfer them to a plate. Return the pan to the heat and add the red pepper. Cook this for a bit longer than the asparagus or until the strips are charred all round. It should not take more than 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place them next to the asparagus on the plate until needed.
Add all remaining ingredients into a spacious bowl and give them a gentle but very good mix. Add the asparagus and peppers and mix again with care.
Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning.
When served make sure all the delicious juices are added to the platter as they are the best bit.
-Marianna Leivaditaki, Mortio Hackney Road
* This is a salad that will welcome anything you fancy, all herbs and salad leaves can be included, black olives instead of green, caperberries instead of capers etc.
* If you cannot get your hands on all the listed ingredients go the next closest to them; round green peppers instead of long, round small radishes instead of long, slow oven dried sourdough bread instead of rusks.
*Make sure the vinegar you use is rich and mature and full bodied. It will make a massive difference as will the olive oil being of the best quality.
"Gemista is the quintessential summer Greek dish! A staple of the Greek family table, Gemista day was a special day for us kids. Beautifully stacked in the roasting tray, there was a silent honour code on how to serve them, and how many roast potatoes go with each serving.
A great combination of all things Greek, the marrying of simple fresh herbs, vegetables, rice, and olive oil creates such a healthy and flavourful dish, that can be eaten warm, lukewarm and even cold.
We firmly believe that Greek cuisine is the world’s best secret for Vegans, and Gemista are the best example of why that is so!"
Hungry Donkey's Gemista & Potatoes
200g Agrino 'Fancy' rice
1 small onion red onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small aubergine, diced
1 large courgette, diced
1 green pepper, diced
250g plum tomatoes, diced
¼ cup dill, finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup mint, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp capers
½ teaspoon salt
1. Pick a nice big pot, fill it with one litre of water, and a pinch of salt, place the rice in, bring it to the boil, and then let simmer for about 15 minutes. You want your rice to be slightly al dente!
2. When it is ready, cool it down under running cold water, strain it and put to one side.
3. In your favourite big pan, pour the olive oil in, bring to medium high heat, and fry the onion.
4. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the garlic, carrot, aubergine, courgette, and peppers.
5. Continue cooking over medium fire with the lid on.
6. Stir from time to time and continue cooking for about half an hour. A good sign is when the carrots have softened up.
7. Add the rice and give it all a good stir!
8. Job Done! Now let it all chill on your counter.
1. Making the sauce is super easy, and you get to play with one of our favourite fruits, the tomato (yup, it’s a fruit)!
2. In a medium pot, add the olive oil, and spread it across the bottom nicely! You want to see that lovely golden colour. Turn the heat up and add the onions. Keep on frying until they get a lovely golden colour!
3. Now add the garlic and fry them nicely together for another two to three minutes.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the temperature to a simmer for twenty minutes!
5. Take the sauce off the heat, and let it hang out by your kitchen counter.
5 red or orange peppers
5 green peppers
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
This is where it all comes together. You have worked very hard so far and done a great job – Lets bring this over the finish line.
1. Preheat your oven at 180C.
2. Cut the top of each pepper, about 1-2cm thick – Hold on, don’t throw them, we need them for later
3. Remove all the seeds from inside the peppers. Be careful to not break them. Peppers love some TLC
4. Now fill each pepper with the beautiful rice filling you made earlier. Use the tops you diligently kept on the side as a lid on each pepper.
5. Take a nice big raised tray (ταψί) and place the peppers nicely next to each other, with some space in between. Don’t forget about that TLC.
6. Fill the gaps with those awesome potatoes and pour the sauce that has been hanging out by your kitchen counter, over them.
7. Sprinkle the peppers and potatoes with a pinch of salt or two, place the tray in the oven, and cook for 90 minutes.
8. A good sign of progress is when your potato tips start to crisp up.
9. You are good to go – CONGRATULATIONS! Your Gemista are ready. Take them out of the oven and have them chill out for 15 - 20 minutes. Serve two Gemista per dish with as many potatoes as you wish.
Don’t waste the juices in the tray. Take a nice thick slice of bread, and just soak it in it. Simple things are indeed the most enjoyable little secrets!
Suggested wine pairing:
We recommend a new-age retsina, a lovely crisp Roditi or Mantinia. They all pair beautifully with Gemista, and complement each other really well.