Make easily salted fish: sardines and anchovies for ouzo meze trays

Make easily salted fish: sardines and anchovies for ouzo meze trays | from IN WHIRL OF INSPIRATION

If you have Greek friends or you have been in a good amount of Greek dinners you may noticed that whenever ouzo or tsipouro (strong drinks, drank before main courses to enhance appetite) are served fish meze dishes (small dishes of appetizers) come along. You never probably took the time to think why, or you did and you concluded that Greece has sea all around her, so fish accessible almost everywhere (true too). Well the reason is that the saltiness of salted or non seafood blocks the taste of bitterness ( of the alcoholic drink) in the tongues's taste buds. Thus your brain receives stronger salty signals, which are much more pleasant than the bitter ones, right? Over time, ouzo and seafood are customarily served side by side on the table and make the forks to dance under the rhythm of ouzo-discussions.

So next time you have people over and ouzo appears on the table, make sure that you have some salted fish meze dishes to accompany it, eg like salted anchovies or sardines. You can make them yourshelf,  extremely easily and quickly (sardine takes 4 hours to be ready for corrosion!).

Make easily salted fish: sardines and anchovies for ouzo meze trays | from IN WHIRL OF INSPIRATION

For the anchovies:
Remove the back bone and the head, as I showed you here, and open the fish like ... a mat. In a colander with a plate beneath it (for fluid drainage) array the fish fillets in between layers of coarse salt until all fish are covered with salt and leave them like that for 2 hours. After that, rinse the salt off and place them in a bowl with white vinegar (of good quality) for 2 more hours. After that are basically done, so rinse them again in water, drain it well on paper towels and array the fish in a glass bowl cover them with olive oil and add also spices of your choice. In this condition you can keep the anchovies in the fridge almost indefinitely. Whenever you want to serve them, take some off the olive oil and just serve them in a plate. Easy peasy.

For the sardines:
As sardines are bigger, they need slightly more time in the salt. So with that said, decapitate and clean the bellies of the fish from all the guts without removing the spine. In a colander (for drainage) array the sardines between layers of coarse salt until they are all covered by salt. Leave them like that for 4-5 days and after this, the fish are basically ready to eat. In order to serve them, take them off the salt and let them rest in the water for half an hour, so that the excess salt goes off the fish. Serve them with olive oil, white vinegar, oregano and other herbs if you have a preference. (Two observation on this point: the sardines are becoming more salted when staying in salt, so if you keep them like that for a lot more extra days, make sure to increase the time in the water too. Also, the salt acts as a natural preservative so the fish don't need to stay in refrigerator while being covered with salt.)

You can accompany you fish meze dishes and your ouzo with Greek salad, olives, pickled purslanes, pilaf with wild greek greens, cuttlefish with spinach or anything else that talks to your heart.

Also here's an interesting video on how overfishing 4 large fish groups (salmon, cod, tuna and shrimp) destroys the ecosystems, pushing to extinction the endemic fish of every region. Prefer local fish that don't have to be transferred from the other side of Earth, they are delicious and full omega-3 fats (yes I know, my meze tray has smoked salmon too. You got me! :D)

Happy ouzo-situations and feel free to share any favorite appetizers with yours that go along with strong drinks. xo

2 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

How to make marinated anchovies

How to make marinated anchovies

Many non-Greek friends believe that in Greece we either drink a lot all day long or we don;t drink so much comparing to them (I have heard both scenarios). While these are stereotypes, I get their point of view. The truth is that we may drink several times during the day, but these drinks accompany food. During lunch or dinner is very usual to see us drink wine or ouzo (especially in the summer) and sometimes there is no proper food but only "mezedes", which means savory snacks in Greek. And don you know which is the best "meze" to accompany your glass of ouzo? It's marinated anchovies, that's right!

Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Clean Anchovy for Marinated Anchovy (1).jpg
Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Clean Anchovy for Marinated Anchovy (1).jpg
Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Clean Anchovy for Marinated Anchovy (1).jpg
Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Marinated Anchovy (1).jpg

Ingredients:

:: 1/2 pound very fresh anchovies

:: Juice of 1 lemon

:: Vinegar good quality of white wine

:: coarse salt

:: 3 to 4 cloves garlic (or more )

:: Ground Pepper

:: 1/2 red pepper , cut into small pieces (optional and rosemary )

:: chopped parsley

 

 

Procedure:

1) Wash and clean the anchovies by cutting his head with your fingers and pulling the gut too. With one's hand thumb press the tip of the spine and with the other's hand thumb, open the belly (pic 1). Carefully remove the backbone (pic 2).

2) Rinse the fillets with cold water, drain them well and place them, side by side and without overlappings, in a glass or plastic container ( never a metal one). Then cover them with coarse salt and place another layer of fillets. Cover them too with coarse salt. Put the container in the refrigerator for 24hrs.

3) When ready, the fillets will be whiter. Wash them gently, put them back in the container and cover them vinegar and lemon with a ratio 5:1. Leave them like this for 5-7 hours.

4) Then transfer the anchovies in a clean glass container and in between each layer add the chopped peppers, garlic, parsley and the ground pepper and cover with olive oil. Store in refrigerator up to 2 months.

5) When served sprinkle with chopped parsley and olive oil and accompany your ouzo with them. Cheers .

Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Marinated Anchovy (5).jpg
Γαύρος Μαρινάτος - Marinated Anchovy (6).jpg
4 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

How to make pickled purslanes

How to make pickled purslanes

 Winter is coming and the "supplies gathering time" came. Yay!  Growing up it was always a pleasure watching my grandmas and my mum sealing all these vegetables' freshness and magic in jars for the dark cold days that would come. Basically, pickled vegetables, apart from being salty and sour = a total bliss, work totally out with all my favorite winter food. And I mean the soups and roasted meat. So win-win. 

How to make pickled purslanes

The following recipe is a total favorite one that I learned from my grandma and it's a rife one among the Pontiacs in northern Greece. (The quantities depend on the jars' size.)

Ingredients: (for 2 middle jars)

:: 2 big bunches of purslanes

:: white wine's vinegar

:: 3 garlic gloves

:: salt, ground pepper

Procedure:

1) Put the jars and their caps in a pot with boiling water to be sterilized and let them aside when after the first boil. 

2) Wash very well the purslanes to clean them from dirt and any living organism. :) Then, chop off the thick twigs, cut the remaining branches in smaller pieces and give them a boil for 1'-2' with the garlic cloves. Don't leave them for too long, we want them to stay bright green and crunchy.

3) Take the sterilized jars out of the pot with a clean plier. Depending on the jar's size, fill the 1/5 of its volume with white vinegar. Then load the jars with the purslanes, garlic gloves and their water. Add salt and pepper, close tightly their caps and turn them upside down.

4) Wrap them with a towel and leave them like that until they cool. If you intend to eat them in the near future, you could not seal them but cover the surface of the vase with olive oil and keep them for for a week max in the refrigerator.

How to make pickled purslanes
How to make pickled purslanes
How to make pickled purslanes

More -delicious- food in jars to come!

xo

4 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!