Diane Kochilas Glorious Greek Cooking

Diane Kochilas Glorious Greek Cooking
Greek cooking is for health and pleasure.

Healthy Greek Recipes for Everyday by Diane Kochilas

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday - Salmon & Greens Avgolemono

Salmon & Greens Avgolemono

This dish is a version of the classic Greek fricasse, which is basically protein (usually lamb, pork, goat or fish) cooked with greens and married with avgolemono.

4 servings

2 lbs./1 kilo chard, trimmed, coarsely chopped, washed, and drained
1 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, chopped, washed and drained
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups fish stock or water
2 large eggs, large, separated
4-6 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
2 lbs. (1 kilo) salmon steaks
Parsley, chopped, for garnish
Raw olive oil and a little extra lemon juice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the chard for one minute; drain and wring dry. *

Heat 150 ml olive oil in a wide pot and sauté the leeks and spring onion over medium heat until soft, about 8 - 10 minutes, stirring. Add the wine. As soon as it steams up, add the chard. Sauté all together for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of stock, salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 190˚C (400˚F).

Make the avgolemono sauce, which is basically an egg-lemon-broth liaison: Whisk the egg white to a stiff meringue. Beat the yolks separately until just blended and slowly add the meringue, whisking gently. Using a ladle, add the reduced (hot pot) juice to the whipped egg, pouring the liquid in a slow steady stream and whisking all the while. Pour the avgolemono back into the pot, tilt from side to side to spread evenly and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a shallow baking pan and add the salmon steaks, remaining stock, salt, pepper, oregano and 2 tablespoons more of lemon juice. Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes, or until fork tender and flaky.

To serve: Place a few spoonfuls of the greens (chard) and avgolemono in deep, rimmed dishes. Place 1 salmon steak on top. Take whatever remaining liquid is still in baking pan and pulse it at high speed in a food processor. Drizzle this, together with raw olive oil, over the fish. Garnish with parsley and serve.

* Here's a restaurant tip for getting as much liquid as possible out of the blanched greens: Place all the blanched greens in a kitchen towel and pull the ends together like a satchel. Wring dry over the sink.

Note: As for the greens, you can use any combination of sweet greens, including spinach. You can also add thinly sliced fennel bulb, dill, parsley, shallots, onions, and/or scallions to the greens and saute.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Clean Monday, March 7th this year, is the start of Greek Lent, the 49-day period of abstention from animal products that also happens to be the time of year when some of the tastiest Greek foods are made. 
One of them, a classic of the Lenten table, is taramosalata. This is the spread made with cod or carp roe. Recipes vary from region to region, but basically a base of either stale bread, potato or blanched almonds is whipped with the fish roe, olive oil, and lemon juice until the mixture emulsifies and becomes smooth and creamy. You can add garlic, scallions, and a pickled pepper or two. You can also make it light and airy by whipping a little water or seltzer into the mixture. 
In Greece you can find two basic types of tarama: white and pink. The former contains no food coloring, while the pink stuff has been dyed to make it more "attractive" to the average consumer. White tarama is more expensive. In the U.S. I have  only seen the pink stuff. 
Serve taramosalata with warm pita triangles, roasted or boiled beets, seafood, and raw vegetables. It's also tasty dolloped on top of a bowl of simple chick pea soup. My friend Argyro Barbarigou of Papadakis restaurant serves her chick pea soup that way. 


Makes 8-10 meze servings

2 one-inch thick slices of stale country-style white bread (not commercial sliced bread), crusts removed
½ cup blanched almonds
1 small garlic clove
150 gr. (5 oz.) tarama (carp or cod roe), preferably white