Greece's southern location has had an immense impact on the development of local cuisine. The warm climate there allows for year-long availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. In the land of olives, olive oil is also highly revered and used in almost every dish.
Realistically speaking, Greek cuisine has had thousands of years to flourish and become what it is that we know today. All of these factors have made Greek cuisine insanely popular and loved all over the world. The specific appetizers it offers are particularly revered in the country. Here are the tastiest among them.
Fáva is made from a specific variety of yellow split peas. It's served as an appetizer or vegetarian main course. It can be combined with any kind of alcohol.
Ingredients: 1 1/5 cups Greek fáva split peas, 3 1/3 cups water, 1 onion head, cut in 4, 3 1/3 tbsp olive oil, salt and white pepper to taste, finely chopped red onions for garnishing.
Preparation: Wash the fáva thoroughly and let it come to a boil on high heat. Remove the pot from the stove. Scoop out the foam that's formed on the surface of the water. Put the quartered onion head, salt and white pepper in the boiling water.
Let the water boil for about 30 min., until the fáva softens. Once it's ready, add the olive oil, stir and leave it for 10 min. Then blend it carefully into a puree. Serve in a plate, sprinkle with olive oil, finely chopped red onions and thyme or basil.
Salad with Orange Juice and Roasted Vegetables
This type of fresh salad is not only incredibly delicious but also very healthy. It goes well with light alcoholic beverages.
Ingredients: 2 zucchini, 2 eggplants, 2 carrots, 4 red peppers, 4 tbsp olive oil. For the dressing: 6 tbsp lemon juice, 6 tbsp orange juice, 3 tbsp olive oil or oil, 3-4 finely grated garlic cloves, finely chopped dill, salt and black pepper.
Preparation: Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices. Soak them for 20 min. in water. Cut the zucchini the same way but don't peel them. Cut the carrots and peppers into strips. Combine the drained eggplants and zucchini in a large bowl with the rest of the veggies and pour olive oil on top. Roast them on a grill pan, griddle or toaster oven. Pour the dressing over them and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
Greek Sarma with Walnuts and Raisins
Usually, the various kinds of Greek sarma are presented as an appetizer. They are served cold and garnished with lemon.
Ingredients: 2 cups rice, 1 cup mushrooms, 3 1/3 tbsp raisins, 3 1/3 tbsp walnuts, 1 onion head, salt, black pepper, paprika, 6-7 tbsp oil, 30-40 vine leaves, dill.
Preparation: Chop the onion a little and braise it. Add the washed rice and braise it until it looks glassy. Add the mushrooms and a cup of water. After the liquid evaporates, add the remaining products, stir well for 5 min. and remove the mixture from the stove.
Parboil the vine leaves with hot water a little bit. Put some of the mixture in each leaf and roll them up. Arrange the vine wraps onto a plate, place it in a deep pot and pour water on top. Boil on low heat for an hour.