The sea is everywhere in Greece, with no place being more than 85 miles from the coast. With its seemingly endless coastline and hundreds of islands. It will come as no surprise that there are hundreds of unique seafood dishes to be had in Greece. Thanks to its many health benefits. Fish is enjoyed by both locals and visitors with equal gusto. With such high demand for Seafood and shellfish. Consequently, it has been an important source of income for the Greeks throughout history. While it might have changed in recent years. The fish market is still a place filled with many varieties of seafood. Not only from the local waters but from all over the world.
Seafood dishes in Greece
The image of a small fishing boat putting out to sea at dusk to fish all night. Just to earn a meager living, runs deep in the national psyche. Some say that fish stocks in the Mediterranean are sadly dwindling fast. However, in April 2015 some of the fishing boats out of Vathy (see above photo) on the island of Meganisi. Had record catches of Tuna fish. One small boat caught 40 Tons on one trip. As a result it had to come back into harbour with boxes of fish on the wheelhouse roof.
Fish farming – the act of cultivating fish for food just as you would cows or chickens. Is also big business in Greece. However, this practice is a double edged sword as it helps to satisfy demand but leaves open the issue of ecological balance.
Greek fish recipes
The ways to prepare seafood and healthy fish recipes are numerous, however, the best ways are to keep things simple. Greek seafood dishes emphasize the natural flavours and the locals will most often prepare a Greek fish recipe with some fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and lemons. Served with a beautiful fresh salad and washed down with some local village wine.
By law the restaurant owners have to let you know whether a fish is fresh or frozen. It will be written in the menu, so if you see (Kat) in parenthesis next to the fish you are ordering that means it was frozen.
(Barbounia) The red-mullet is one of my favourite fish, it’s the best tasting fish you will ever eat, fried or grilled.
Tuna steaks, get it grilled on a charcoal barbecue which will give it a unique flavour, and then just squeeze fresh lemon on it.
Fresh Squid (Kalamari) is delicious grilled or fried and can also be stuffed. But for me there is nothing like a whole fresh kalamari fried to perfection.
Sardines (Sardeles) are a favourite Greek dish, they are eaten in several ways, either as appetizer (meze) or a main course. Most people like them grilled, but they are good fried as well. They can also be served baked in tomato sauce with lemon and oregano but this is less common. The smaller the sardines the tastier they are.
The interesting thing about Greek fish is that the cheapest ones are the best for you. Whiting (Gavros), Sardines (Sardeles), and Mackerel, (kolios) are the highest in omega fatty acids and of the three kolios is the tastiest and most filling. It is usually served grilled though it can also be fried.
Prawns (Garides) are very common around the Greek island and they are usually fried whole. Prawn saganaki is a dish cooked with feta cheese, ouzo, tomato sauce and shrimps, baked in the oven, and is found in just about every taverna.
Octopus is the most misunderstood creature in the sea. Very intelligent, the Greeks have been struggling to outsmart them for centuries. Yet now the few that remain seem to be the smartest and hardest to catch. When well cooked, and expertly seasoned octopus can taste like filet Mignon. If it is not made correctly it can be very tough. Thus it will take you an age to eat one bite. When visiting some of the islands you will probably see the octopus hanging up to dry outside the local tavernas. This is a popular way to prepare them, before grilling on a barbecue. It is also really nice in a tomato sauce with pasta.
(Media) can be found in many tavernas throughout Greece. They are really tasty steamed in a wine sauce made with Fennel, Tomatoes, Ouzo and Cream. Mussel saganaki, is another way to have them, cooked with, feta cheese, ouzo, tomato sauce, and baked in the oven.
There you have it, come and try some of these stunning seafood dishes. While on your yacht charter holidays with Deep Blue Yachting. Many of the islands that the luxury yacht “Glaros” will visit, have Tavernas which cook these dishes.
This Blog is by Captain Cliff. I will be happy to answer any questions, or comments that you may have. So please feel free to leave them.