Simple traditional tastes, that we felt the need to suggest to You, visiting Crete island. Some of the following dishes are very common throughout Crete island, and some others are difficult to find or you must specifically ask for these because sometimes they are off the main menu
Stamnagathi (or Cichorium spinosum)is everywhere and very common in Cretan cuisine. This wild green is credited by Cretans to be "good health" reason. It can be found in many Cretan dishes, usually boiled and served with olive oil and lemon, it does compliment meat perfectly and particularly lamb. This particular dish features in the menu of many tavernas and even top-end restaurants. Stamnagathi, is also well served in a salad, well cleaned and as fresh as possible, served with lemon and olive oil. A more rare recipe is to serve stamnagathi with eggs in a frying pan (similar to omelet) it does leave a strong earthy taste that is bitter (and pleasant) to most of the palates
The spice plant, Fennel is native throughout Greece, its taste reminds anise, the stems, as well as their green, are used for seasoning dishes with meat or fish. One very famous dish in Crete, is one of the most traditional Cretan foods, as well. It is usually cooked during the period that fennels grow in the Cretan countryside spreading their wonderful aromas. Cuttlefish with fennel is an incredibly delicious combination, complemented by the green olives with their slightly sour taste. Whether you choose wine or ouzo to accompany this dish, you will definitely enjoy it.
Traditional Greek dish are snails that are pan-fried in their shells. Usually in hefty amounts of olive oil and vinegar. The dish is often elevated with the addition of herbs such as rosemary. The unusual name, comes from the Cretan word abouboura, meaning face-side down (prone). The snails are served inside the shells, and they are traditionally eaten with toothpicks. It is strongly associated with the Cretan diet, also it is considered to be an authentic delicacy that is served (most frequently) before the Greek Orthodox Easter.
Omathies are traditional Cretan homemade, boiled sausages. These traditional Cretan sausages are typically made with a mixture of pork offal (usually liver, spleen, and heart), rice or xinohondros (a local product with wheat and milk that is sun-dried and then stored), nuts, dried fruit, spices, and seasonings. Omathies are traditionally flavored with currants, raisins, or sultanas, almonds, salt, pepper, and cumin, while some versions may also contain ingredients such as cinnamon, sugar, orange peel, a variety of herbs, onions, or leeks. Once boiled and chopped, the sausage mixture is typically placed into clean pork intestines, which have previously been soaked in lemon water, vinegar, or wine.
The following dishes "hold" a special position in every Cretan's heart, are loved and can be found in different variations in preparation and/or sometimes slightly differentiated in the presentation.
Gamopilafo (Gamos = Marriage / pilafi = boiled rice in lamb, goat or chicken meat broth) is traditionally served at the wedding table, and some times in other cultural occasions. The rice, which is called “piláfi”, is cooked in the broth of meat that is already boiled. It is common to prepare the "gamopilafo" in the broth of older animal because it is known that the older animals give the most delicious broth. when served, the rice is usually seasoned with pepper or other spices (depending on the location in Crete that you may enjoy it) salt and/or lemon. This simple recipe owes its taste to the good quality of locally grown herds that produce high-quality meat.
Crete Antikristo ( meaning "opposite" or "opposite the fire") is a traditional technique of cooking meat. A young lamb (or a goat, on rare occasions) is cut into four pieces (called goulidia), salted, then placed on big wooden skewers that are arranged around the fire in a circular formation, taking into consideration the direction of the wind, the intensity of the fire, and the distance between the fire and the meat. This process lets the meat cook in its own fat and salt with the heat coming from the flames instead of coals. The meat is slowly cooked, sometimes up to 6 hours, and it develops different flavors in the process. In the past, antikristo was common in the villages of Psiloritis mountain, but nowadays it can be found anywhere in Crete. Traditionally, it's prepared and cooked exclusively by men, most often shepherds.
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