About Appetizers

Appetizers (mezedes or orektika in Greek) play an important role on the Greek table. What constitutes a Greek appetizer? The most common type of a Greek appetizer would be dips or spreads such as taramosalata (fish roe salad) or melitzanosalata (eggplant salad).

You can dip bread on these kinds of appetizers. Some people also dip fried potatoes into tzatziki (yogurt dip). Dolmades are also another famous Greek appetizer, which unfortunately requires too much patience to prepare.

Imagine having to fold a hundred of vine leaves, stuffed with rice, like a parcel! Dolmades are vine leaves stuffed with aromatic rice or with ground meat. Some other popular appetizers would be smoked or salted sardines (sardines are very famous in Lesvos island and especially in Kalloni bay), feta or other cheese served fried (saganaki), pickled vegetables, vegetable fritters, fried peppers, olives, grilled octopus. What most greek appetizers have in common is that they are salty, piquant and they are accompanied by ouzo. They are placed on the center of the table and shared by everybody who sits around. Appetizers should be eaten slowly. Although they are very tasty, their purpose is to make drinking easier.

Melitzanosalata – Eggplant (aubergine) Salad

Eggplant salad dip

Eggplant salad dip

This is a puree of grilled mashed eggplant, garlic, onion, oil and lemon juice. Some cooks like to char the eggplant skin to make the dip have a smoky flavour. At its simplest, melitzanosalata is nothing more than eggplant, oil and a little lemon juice. Always ask the waiter, when ordering an eggplant salad, if it is home made (prepared by the cook and not bought from a supermarket). You should expect many restaurants to serve ready made eggplant salad, provided by a supermarket, because the preparation of the eggplant salad is not easy, especially the months that eggplants are out of season. Also charring an eggplant is a long procedure, which is avoided by most restaurants. For us, a tasty eggplant salad is a sign that a restaurant offers quality food, because unlike other dips, like tzatziki or taramosalata, eggplant salad is difficult to prepare.

Tzatziki – Yoghurt dip

Yoghurt dip

Yoghurt dip

A dip made from yogurt, cucumber and garlic and salt. It is an excellent thing to have on the table no matter what you’re eating. The portion of garlic, people add on tzatziki varies. Some like it strong in taste and some other, who might be escorting a lady or have an appointment with a lady, like it light in taste, or avoid to taste it. The scent of garlic can be so strong that can make your breath very unpleasant. A tip to eliminate the unpleasant scent in your mouth is to swallow fresh mint.

Taramosalata – Fish Roe Salad

Fish roe salad

Fish roe salad

This is a thick pink or white puree (depending on the type of fish roe) of fish roe, bread crumbs, oil and lemon juice. Sometimes mashed potato is substituted for breadcrumbs. Greeks enjoy taramosalata during Lent.

 

 

 

 

Spicey cheese spread – Tirokafteri

Spice cheese spread

Spice cheese spread

This is a cheese spread, usually made from feta but can be made from any kind of cheese. It can be spiced up with chilli pepper and garlic, or it can be quite plain.

 

 

 

 

Keftedes

Meatballs

Meatballs

Small rissoles or fritters, often made with minced lamb, pork or veal, onion, egg and herbs (and sometimes ouzo as a moistener). Keftedes are shaped into flattened balls and usually they are fried.

 

 

 

 

Fried cheese – Saganaki

Sahanaki Cheese

Sahanaki Cheese

The most common form of saganaki (or Sahanaki) is a sharp, hard cheese that is cut into flat squares, coated with flour and fried until crispy on the outside and soft in the centre. Pour lemon on top to make taste better.

 

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