We’re counting down the days until our return to Greece, and there’s no doubt about it — we’re really excited! The sights, the sounds, the history, we can’t wait to take it all in again. But above all this, there’s one thing we’re definitely looking forward to most — the food! And we’re not alone, our very own Chef Robert also has a love for Greek food. In fact, when we sat down to talk with him recently, Greece and its culinary delights quickly came up.
“During my years and travel at sea, I always get excited when our vessels return to the Mediterranean and visit Greece.” Chef Robert said. “Besides the fact that Greece is a beautiful country with a great history and so many islands surrounded by clear seas, it also has unmistakeable and delicious cuisine — which comes with the added bonus of being part of the healthy Mediterranean diet.”
What does Chef love about dining in Greece? Well, to start, it’s the fresh local ingredients. Then, it’s something a little more intangible, something that you can’t even add to a recipe — the climate. But believe it or not, for Chef, the weather plays an important role in the quality of Greek food. “The variety of local dishes are perfect for the Mediterranean climate. The summers in Greece are hot and dry, so salads, dips, and grilled fresh fish are high on my list when I go ashore for lunch.”
As for where Chef Robert is excited to dine once again in Greece, Santorini is at the top of his list. “I’m already looking forward to visiting Santorini again. It’s one of my favorite places.” He even let himself daydream a little bit when discussing this Santorini meal. “Going for lunch, finding a nice restaurant with a beautiful terrace overlooking the crater. Let’s start with a Meze platter and a glass of white wine…cheers!”
Luckily for us, and Chef Robert, that daydream will be a reality before long. But to whet our appetites, Chef has graciously decided to share a few Greek specialties from his recipe book with us — a Greek salad with a twist, and his famous Greek Lamb Moussaka.
Chef Robert’s Greek Salad With a Twist
Chef Robert’s Greek salad updates a timeless recipe, swapping out whole olives for an olive tapenade and adding creamy feta as opposed to traditional cubes. This recipe — which serves six — is a perfect appetizer for any meal.
For the vinaigrette:
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend
Chef Robert’s Greek Lamb Moussaka
A legendary comfort food, lamb moussaka is one of the most popular dishes in all of Greece. It’s so beloved that you’d be hard pressed to find a taverna that doesn’t include it on their menu. Luckily for you, however, now you can make this hearty meal at home with help from Chef Robert.
For the meat sauce:
For the bechamel sauce:
You’ll also need a large baking dish, approx. 20x30cm / 8x12 inch and 8cm/3 inch deep
Thoroughly rinse the eggplants and squeeze them with your hands to get rid of the excessive water. Pat them dry and fry in plenty of oil, until nicely colored. Place the fried eggplants on some paper to absorb the oil, and set aside when done.
Meat Sauce Instructions:
Stir in the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and sauté. When it starts to brown, add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté until the garlic starts to soften.
Add tinned tomatoes, sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, one bay leaf, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Béchamel Sauce Instructions:
Use a large pan to melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Its consistency should resemble a thick cream.
Remove the béchamel pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and most of the grated cheese. You’ll want to save some cheese to sprinkle on top! Whisk quickly (to prevent the eggs from turning an omelet) and season with salt to taste. Take one spoon full of béchamel and stir it in the meat sauce. Set the béchamel sauce aside.
Moussaka Assembly Instructions:
Pack Your Appetite, Greece Awaits!
Hungry for an unforgettable Medeterrainian getaway — completely with delicious dishes at every port? Join us in Greece as we return to one of our favorite places on Earth!
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