Feast & Fast!
While the Greek Orthodox tradition of Lent (19 February – 31 March 2017) is meant as a period of spiritual and physical cleansing, for me, it’s a time for embracing local culinary traditions and passionate cooking of delectable, nutritional meatless meals that combine superb textures and flavors in a wealth of shellfish, seasonal veggies and grain dishes.
During Lent most Greek households, including mine, serve lots of fresh salads, bean and lentil soups, taramosalata (creamy, richly flavored fish roe spread) and fava (split pea puree) served with fresh village style or pita bread, rice and pasta dishes as well as steamed mussels, octopus, shrimp and squid cooked in some manner . . . . all of which will leave you so satisfied that any thoughts of meat and dairy will vanish into thin air!
This said, I have to confess that these days, only the very devout follow the full fast for 40 days or until Greek Easter. Most Greeks will however refrain from eating meat on Clean Monday (the first day of Lent) which was last Monday and during Holy Week (the week preceding Greek Easter).
On Clean Monday this year I have to admit I didn’t cook much. Instead I “cheated” and took it easy! The only thing I made was the taramosalata and the rest I got from one of my all-time favorite fish tavern in Nea Kifissia, Paramalo Ouzeri & Fish Tavern, which included heavenly Karavides (grilled lobster tails), superb tasting and perfectly grilled octopus as well as lovely steamed greens (see first photo on top of post and another photo below from restaurant).
Even the lagana (a traditional flat bread that gets it dimples from fingerprints pressed into its surface ) which I normally make myself . . . . came from my local bakery!
This was a first for me but I just loved it and I highly recommend it . . . once in a while . . . even if it was a bit costly!!!
For those of you who might want to try some of the traditional Greek Lenten specialties, I have uploaded a couple of my most popular recipes onto this website (see photos below). For those of my friends who called or e-mailed me and were wondering where my Oven Roasted Octopus recipe could be found, I have to apologize for not having uploaded it onto cook-eat-go.com from my previous website . . . a long time ago!!! At least now you have it . . . and a few more!
So get ready to FEAST & FAST . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . ENJOY!