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Greek Food and Wine Guide Page 3

Greek Appetizers (mezedes) or Starters (orektika) and Salads (salates)

How to Order Greek Food

greek,greece,greek foodIf its in season, you can order lettuce with any type of salad (Ma-rou-lee), pic left, bottom center, or one could order a plain lettuce salad. "Salata Maroulee" or any available combination.

In the picture left, see the village salad with lettuce and feta cheese? This salad will be served to you along with any appetizers you may order and stay on the table until finished. Also pictured left, the pink dish in the photo is called "Ta-ra-mo Salata" and is fish roe made into a slightly salty dip to be eaten with bread. Usually mullet roe or salmon combined with oil, potatoes or bread to make a puree. These vary by chef and the color varies with the roe used. Its easy enough to make yourself at home too! You can add olive oil to it at the table also. I use to think this was a dish produced from the roe of local fish but have discovered that the roe is imported from Norway. Some folks love "tarama" and you have to at least try it once! You can buy it in the U.S.A. too, it usually comes as a paste in a tube and isn't as good as the real thing.

That white sauce next to it is called Tzatiki and is one of my favorites but not good on a date because it has tons of garlic in it usually, but that can vary. Tzatiki, as you can tell from the name, is Turkish in origin and consists of strained yogurt and grated de-seeded cucumber. I have made Tzatziki in the US but had to strain the yogurt to get half of the water out, then you de-seed the cucumber and chop it. Throw in as much chopped or pressed garlic as you like and there you go. Let it sit over night and its better, serve room temperature.

Since Greece produces a lot of yogurt as part of the Mediterranean diet they offer several varieties for sale and the yogurt you'd make Tzatziki with has most of the water pressed out of it. It also hasn't been processed to extremes to sit on your shelf 3 months before going bad. You'll really notice a difference. Put some on your bread next time you go to a taverna.

Since we are talking about food, plain Yogurt can simply be purchased in grocery stores sfrageesto (pressed) or unpressed and with fruit in it and eaten plain with a spoon or with honey. Pressed yogurt has the consistency of sour cream and tastes just like it too, without all the calories. I use it in Fettuccini Alfredo white sauce pasta type dishes all the time at home.

Tzatziki also goes well with fried melitzanes (eggplant) or fried squash Kolo-kee-thakia. This ubiquitous white sauce also compliments assorted Kro-keftedes and often invokes a smile at restaurants as they are referred to as Balls on most Greek menus. These 'balls' may have tomato or squash fillings and parsley seasoning, are always floured and served golden brown. Order a plate or two!


More about Greek Salads and Appetizers: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4