Chef Robert's Lamb Moussaka and Greek Salad

Chef Robert's Lamb Moussaka and Greek Salad

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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. 

Chef Robert's Greek Salad Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick in an angle 

  • 1 red bell pepper, large-diced 

  • 1 green bell pepper, large-diced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, large-diced 

  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in Julienne  

  • 5 pcs scallions, sliced in an angle

  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, blended until creamy (Add a little sour Cream)

  • 1/2 cup calamata olives tapenade

  • Small bunch flat parsley 

  • Rosemary / thyme Croutons, triangle shape

For the vinaigrette: 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 

  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar 

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil 

Directions: 

  • Place the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl

  • 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

  • Add the creamy feta, scallions and olives tapenade on top before serving

  • Finish with the croutons and flat parsley

  • Drizzle some vinaigrette around the salad

  • Serve at room temperature

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. 

Chef Robert's Greek Lamb Moussaka Recipe

Base ingredients:

  • 6 eggplants

  • vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)

  • 4 Potatoes, middle size

For the meat sauce:

  • 750g lamb mince (26 oz)

  • 2 red onions (chopped)

  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

  • 1 tin chopped tomato (400g / 14oz)

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 glass of red wine

  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • A pinch of cinnamon or one cinnamon stick

  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 900ml milk (31 fl.oz)

  • 120g butter (4 oz)

  • 120g flour (4 oz)

  • a pinch of nutmeg

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano (3.5oz)

  • salt to taste

You’ll also need a large baking dish, approx. 20x30cm / 8x12 inch and 8cm/3 inch deep

Eggplant Instructions:

  • Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into 1cm thick slices. Season the slices with salt and place them in a colander for about half an hour.

  • 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.

Potato Instructions:

  • Slice potatoes into 0.5cm strips and fry or bake them in the same way as the eggplants. Season with some salt and set them aside when done.

Meat Sauce Instructions:

  • Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. 

  • Stir in the chopped onions and sauté until softened and slightly colored. 

  • 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. 

  • Pour in the red wine to deglaze the meat juices and wait to evaporate. 

  • Add tinned tomatoes, sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, one bay leaf, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. 

  • Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes or until most of the juices have evaporated. Set aside when done.

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:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F 

  • Butter the bottom and sides of your dish and layer the potatoes first then half the eggplants.

  • Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread it out evenly.

  • Add a second layer of eggplants, top with all of the béchamel sauce and smooth it out with a spatula.

  • Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. 

  • Bake your moussaka for about 60 minutes or until its crust turns light golden brown. Let it cool down for 20 minutes and be just warm to the touch before cutting into pieces. This will prevent the béchamel sauce from pouring out when you’re cutting your pieces.

Bon Appetit! 

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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