Monday, March 09, 2009

Fried Veggies, Cretian Style

My husband is currently in Crete for work. I hope that I get to visit him there in the near future because Greek food is one my top 5 favorite foods of all time. I especially love how Greeks eat a lot of veggies and greens and fish, and rarely eat any meat. Of course they also drink wine like there's no tomorrow and rarely ever use butter...olive oil is the way of life there. So no wonder they live very long and healthy lives.

Matthew went out to the local market in Chania, Crete and he found a local vendor selling fresh cuttlefish and fried veggies. This is fried vegetable recipe is quite common in Greece and its islands, and as Matthew told me, "if all moms in the US cooked their vegetables this way, kids would eat them up!"

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4 as a side dish)

  • 1 large zucchini, washed, trimmed, cut lengthwise into strips 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick
  • 1 medium eggplant, trimmed, unpeeled, sliced into strips 1/8 to 3/16-inch thick
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
Latholemono Sauce
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 8 ounces of bottled soda water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

Prepare zucchini: Cut zucchini slices in half if they are long. Slices measuring about 3 inches long work best.

Prepare eggplant: Put slices in a bowl, salt, and let sit 20-25 minutes. Pour off liquid before dipping in batter.

Prepare cauliflower: Boil florets for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Shock in an ice water bath to cool and place in paper towels to remove excess water.

Make the batter: Pour the soda into a bowl, and stir in flour and salt slowly, using a whisk or fork to mix.

Fry: Bring oil to high heat (you want at least 2 to 3 inches of oil) . Coat zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower in the batter. Use a fork to place pieces in oil (do not overcrowd the pan; only fry a few pieces at a time). Fry until veggies golden on both sides and batter puffs up. Drain on absorbent paper toweling just long enough to remove excess oil.

Latholemono Sauce: In a small bowl or food processor, combine olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk or puree until fully blended. Serve veggies hot with lathelemono sauce.

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