Friday, May 28th, 2010 | posted by mike
Just returned from an amazing family vacation on the island of Crete in Greece! Of course food was a very important part of our trip! Lots of wonderful Greek salads made with local tomatoes & olives, a big slab of feta or some other sheep or goat cheese (usually home-made) with the goats looking right at us during the meal! Fresh yogurt with aromatic wild mountain thyme honey, local live snails sautéed in wonderful Cretan olive oil with garlic and rosemary, fresh sea urchin prepared simply with olive oil and lemon and served with crusty bread, incredible lamb roasted over olivewood, and of course everything always accompanied with great, inexpensive wines produced all over the island, often sold out of a barrel or a plastic water bottle!
The most unforgettable meals though were the fish and shellfish! The colorful, traditional small fishing boats would bring in an amazing mix. It was hard to choose what to buy, everything looked so gorgeous! Red mullet (barbouni), John Dory, whitebait, sardines, mackerels & jacks of all kinds, local shrimp (with roe), bronzini, sea bream (tsipura), slipper lobsters, cuttlefish and lots of fish I didn’t know the names of! There was octopus right out of the sea and that’s what my family loved the best! One night I grilled some along with other locally caught fish over a wood fire, along with a nice Greek salad, some local bread and wine! All the fish I simply grilled whole with olive oil, garlic & lemon.
We’ve included the octopus recipe here. In Greece they pound them on the rocks to tenderize them— boiling for 45 minutes works just as well!