The delicious, fresh flavors of Greek cuisine in summer are a highlight of vacationing in Greece. The high quality ingredients and produce make Greece a paradise for foodies. Try the following recipes for a taste of Greek summer wherever you happen to be. Anthous gemistous, stuffed zucchini flowers, can be enjoyed as a vegetarian appetizer or main course. If picking your own zucchini flowers, make sure to do so early in the morning, so they stay open as long as possible. Give them a shake after picking in case any stray bees are caught inside. If some of the flowers seem to be wilting while you’re working on stuffing the others, place in cold water to revive them.
Anthous Gemistous- Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
20 anthous, zucchini flowers
1 1/2 cups rice
1 medium onion, grated
3 small-medium tomatoes, grated
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Greek sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons for the pot
1 cup water
Rinse the flowers in cold water and remove the stems. Set aside to drain while preparing the filling. In a bowl, mix together the rice, onion, parsley, mint, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and about half of the 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to coat the bottom of a large deep pot or Dutch oven. Spoon about a teaspoon of the stuffing into each flower and fold over the ends of the petals. Place the stuffed flowers in the pot side by side in a circular pattern. One level is preferred but stacking them is fine as long as you monitor the water level carefully as they cook to make sure the bottom ones don’t overcook while the topmost remain undercooked.
Add the water to the pot, it should be about halfway up the anthous, and add the remaining olive oil. Place a plate on top to keep them submerged. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid absorbed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Grilled Whole Fish
4 whole tsipoures (sea bream) 14 to 16 ounces each, gutted, and scaled, leaving head and skin intact
Greek sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the fish all over, inside and out, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush each fish generously with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and place directly on the prepared outdoor grill. Cook, turning occasionally with a fish spatula and brush with more olive oil as needed, until the fish flakes with a fork and is completely cooked, about 6 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, place on a plate, and set aside while mixing the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and onion in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil-lemon dressing just before serving.