Cretan cuisine is renowned for the variety of its flavors and its particular contribution to healthy diet. Based on fresh, natural ingredients and largely on olive oil, it combines culinary delight with quality.
Recipe for an authentic, juicy, barley rusk with tomato and sour goat cheese (xinomyzithra)
Ingredients for the authentic recipe
2 pieces of barley rusk
2 - 3 large ripe tomatoes
3 - 4 tbs. of olive oil
2 tbs. of grated feta or sour goat cheese
1/2 tsp. of oregano
(optionally) olives and capers
Dampen the rusk slightly with a bit of water
Dice or grate the tomato
Sprinkle the rusk with half the olive oil and a pinch of salt
Heap the chopped tomatoes, leaving a gap in the center to put in the feta or the sour goat cheese.
Top with salt and oregano
Sprinkle the rest of the oil and serve
Cretan rusk can be served as main course. It has all the necessary ingredients of a complete meal and does not need any side dishes. You can even accompany your Cretan rusk with a glass of white wine.
1/2 kg potatoes
1 cup olive oil
1 cup glazed rice
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbs. parsley, finely chopped
4 tbs. breadcrumbs
Choose large round tomatoes, wash them thoroughly and slice off the top with a sharp knife.
Using a spoon, remove the flesh of the tomatoes and keep it in a bowl.
Place a sieve over a bowl, and rub the tomato flesh against it.
In a saucepan add half the olive oil and sauté the onions, until translucent. Add the rice and continue sautéing for a while.
Add half the tomato purée, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and half a glass of water and let them boil for 5 minutes.
Spoon the filling inside the empty tomatoes up to 2/3.
Cover the tomatoes with their lids and place them in the baking tray, one next to the other.
Pour the rest of the olive oil over the tomatoes and season with the breadcrumbs.
Peel, wash and chop the potatoes into wedges.
Season with salt and pepper and place them in between the tomatoes.
Pour the rest of the tomato purée and bake in preheated oven at a moderate temperature for 45-60 minutes.
- Snails with potatoes and zucchini
1 kg snails
6 potatoes, medium size
3 ripe tomatoes, medium-size
2/3 glass of olive oil
1 onion, medium size
1 bunch of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Heat the oil in a skillet and add the snails, ground tomato, parsley, garlic and chopped onion. Season with salt, pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the chopped potatoes and the zucchini and let them cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes. Add some more water during the process, if required.
- Traditional “Xerotigana” (fried dough strips with honey)
Ingredients for the dough
1 kg. all-purpose flour
1 shot glass milk
1/2 shot glass raki
olive oil (for frying), cinnamon
For the syrup
2 tbs. honey
1 glass sugar
1 glass water
Put the flour in a bowl with some water, egg, milk and raki and knead well until a slightly hard dough forms. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours. With a rolling pin roll out very thin pieces of dough, cut into strips 2-4cms wide, roll up each strip into different shapes and fry in very hot oil*, until lightly golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Then, prepare the syrup (for 10-15 pieces) as follows:
Stir sugar and water in a saucepan and cook for 10-15 minutes, until it thickens. Remove from heat, pour in honey and keep stirring. Dip pastry spirals one by one into hot syrup for 1-2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon to drain excess syrup, then sprinkle with crushed almonds, cinnamon and some roasted sesame (optional). Remember that there should always be plenty of oil in the pan.