At times memories of some good dishes I had in the past, come back to me and whet my appetite.
If I wanted to make a list of the best food I have had outside my home, I would start with seafood in greek restaurants and especially at an old one in the direction of Sounion where in earlier times, octopus and calamari, not frozen but fresh, used to reign. They weren’t imported from faraway oceans and with my family we’d celebrate important events eating a glorious lobster. Not spaghetti with lobster that became fashionable much later, just plain, tasty lobster of the Mediterannean, with a little olive oil and lemon on its sweet flesh. In the end we would break its claws with the special nutcracker and enjoy the remains.
The list must contain an urchin salad on the island of Hydra, some huge grilled fish at a Skiathos taverna and divine clams -oh the clams of my childhood!- in Chalkida at a restaurant that probably doesn’t exist anymore. The only thing I remember are the clams with the lemon that I used to eat like crazy!
Obviously, the sea products are my favourite food. Yes, but I also loved a great ragu that I had at an italian restaurant, in Rimini. I can still see and taste the excellent pasta covered with a tasty piece of meat, red sauce and peas. In Italy again, at a rather expensive Trastevere restaurant in Rome, I had a first-class tender steak with fries, so simple but so good.
Simple are the joys of life. And when it comes to culinary delights the secret is to avoid the too many sauces, cheeses and creams.
But my tastes are not always expensive, I don’t oftent eat those italian steaks or those greek lobsters. What I have on a weekly basis and always love it is a good homemade lentil soup. And I know why Esau begged his brother to give him some “red pottage” (in greek it is translated as a bowl of lentils) in exchange for his birthright. Because it’s another simple but excellent dish.
Finally, with all this talk about food, here are two recipes for “bruschettas” that you can offer as an appetizer to your guests, no matter what the main dish is.
Toast some pieces of bread and rub them with a little garlic. Don’t overdo it. In a bowl mix a little olive oil, lemon, oregano and dry chilli in flakes. Pour this mix over the bread. Add a pinch of salt.
Toast some pieces of bread. Cut a garlic clove into very thin pieces and put one on every piece of bread. Finely chop two tomatoes and put them on the pieces of bread in order to cover them completely. Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil and add a pinch of salt.