September 10, 2014 by Johanna Burani
I know. I haven’t been around lately. Last summer I disappeared for a while as I was recovering from shoulder surgery. This summer I spent six glorious weeks in Europe, staying in familiar places, like our home in Friuli (northeastern Italy) and the lake region in southwestern Austria, but also in new areas, like the Cyclades Islands and the Peloponnese region in southern Greece. Friuli and southern Austria never disappoint me, but the highlight of this summer’s travels was my introduction to Greece, its wonderful people, beautiful landscapes and scrumptious cuisine.
My husband, Sergio, and I enjoyed visiting Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and other Cyclades Islands. We also had the extraordinary good fortune of being the houseguests of our relatives-in-law, Maria and Antonios Bistolaridis. Although they left their Peloponnese villages nearly 40 years ago to build a new life in Michigan, their love for their homeland has never even remotely left their hearts. They return every summer to their condominium in Paralio Astros. They were magnificent tour guides! We visited Meteora, Olympia, Sparta, Monemvasia, some beach towns and their native villages, Skortsinou and Vouno, where their families still live. Greece is a beautiful country and every area we visited – islands, cities, beach towns, hill villages – echoed the same magnificent sun, the same clear blue sky, and the same native olive and fig trees and caper bushes spontaneously breaking through the ground. And everywhere we ate in Greece, our food was local, seasonal, genuine, unpretentious, and delicious. Now I understand why Maria is such a good cook! She learned from the cooks in her life how to take local ingredients in the prime of their ripeness and produce culinary magic-on-a-plate. I spent our week together with a note pad, writing down her recipes and ideas for new recipes.
- 10 oz /300 g zucchini
- 1 lb /450 g carrots (4 large)
- 4 ½ oz /130 g celery (3 stalks)
- 7 oz /200 g onion (1 large)
- 1 lb /450 g new potatoes, halved
- 5-6 large sprigs parsley
- 2+ tablespoons olive oil
- 2+ large lemons, quartered
- 2 lbs /900g fresh cod or whiting
- Salt, pepper, fresh oregano to taste
- Cut up the zucchini, carrots, celery and onion into 4-6 pieces and place in a large Dutch oven. Add the potatoes, parsley, olive oil and lemons.
- Cover the vegetables with cold water (about 10 cups/2.4 liters). Cover the pot with a lid and cook softly until the vegetables are tender (approximately 20-30 minutes).
- Add the fish, and more water, according to desired juiciness. Add the salt, pepper and oregano. Cook 10 minutes. Add additional oil and lemon juice if desired. Serve with crusty bread.