Ever wondered what some of those oddly named, tongue twister dishes are that pop up on Greek menus, that after a few too many local wines or Ouzos become easier to pronounce? Well here’s our small, but definite guide to some of the most popular Kefalonian dishes worth trying out while visiting Kefalonia.
1. BAKALIAROPITA / Salted Cod Pie
There is Fish Pie and then there is Bakaliaropita. Made using an ingredient that might be unfamiliar to many, but is a staple in Greece, the foundation of this dish is Salted Cod, although sometimes it is made using Octopus (…then it becomes known as Ktapodopita).
The Salted Cod is soaked for 24 hours (water changed every few hours to remove the salt that the fish has been cured in!). Then it is flaked and mixed with chopped tomotoe, fresh earthy herbs -parsley, marjoram – olive oil, seasoning and rice (sometimes grated courgette may be added). The mix is then placed in a baking tray lined with home-made pita dough, topped with more dough and baked in the oven. Served with a crisp green salad, it’s a delicious dish served with a perfectly chilled glass of crisp white wine such as Robola or a dry Rosé.
2. KOUNELI LAGOTO / Rabbit Stew
Not to be confused with Rabbit Stifado (although very similar – Stifado has the addition of whole, small onions or shallots in the dish). Kouneli (Rabbit) Stew is a one pot bowl of Rabbit. First its soaked in vinegar for several hours and then its sizzled in oil, plenty of garlic is added, topped of with freshly chopped tomatoes and tomatoe puree. Slow cooked, its finished off with fresh lemon juice and served with freshly fried chips or alternativley Pasta or Rice. This is one of the more hearty, rustic, traditional dishes.
3. KREATOPITA / Meat Pie
One of the Kefalonian classics that works well either as a Lunch snack, main course or makes the perfect leftover snack that is as equally tasty cold as it is hot.
What distinguishes this meat pie from others is that traditionally it’s made from three different types of meat, beef, pork, and goat. The meat is slow cooked with onions, garlic, oregano, sapsicho (a local herb), tomato puree and red wine. Once cooked, before it goes into a baking tin lined with home-made dough, rice is added and then it’s sealed with another layer of dough and baked in the oven. De-lish!
4. LOBSTER PASTA
The combination of one of the most luxurious crustaceans with the simplicity of good pasta – linguini or spaghetti is best – and you have a match made in heaven. Sometimes simple is best and it doesn’t get much better than this dish. Finely sliced shallots and garlic, cherry tomatoes and tomatoe puree, hint of chilli and anise, white wine and a good squeeze of lemon and you have a mouthwatering, lip smacking dish fit for the Gods.
5. RIGANADA – Kefalonian Style Bruschetta
The perfect summer dish that demonstrates that a culinary delight can be created with the combination of a small handful of the best ingredients. The ripest, juiciest tomatoes finely chopped, mixed with fresh Oregano (in Greek Rigani is the name for Oregano!) the finest Single Estate Olive Oil, all mixed together and served on a traditional Greek bread rusk, moistened with water and a little white wine vinegar, finally topped off with the creamiest, Feta. You’ll marvel at how something so simple can taste so good.
Even better, you can eat this at Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or as part of a Mezé.
6. SKORDALIA – Garlic and Potato Dip
If you love garlic then this is THE dish for you! Just beware that no one will want to sit next to or kiss you for a while after!
Traditionally served alongside Bakalariaos (Salted Cod) on Greek Independence Day, Skordalia is a velvety, smooth dip made with mashed potato and a lot of garlic paste mixed with olive oil and lemon juice. The secret ingredient to Skordalia from Kefalonia is to add some fish stoke from the Bakalarios while mashing the potatoes.
7. STRAPATSADA – Greek Style Scrambled Eggs / Omelette
Strapatsada is another one of those dishes, so simplistic in its ingredients and execution even the most novice of cooks should be able to handle this one. Requiring just three basic ingredients – Eggs, Tomatoes and Feta as well as olive oil – using the best quality ingredients you can find to get the best and tastiest result. An absolutely perfect dish for Breakfast, Lunch a quick snack or the ultimate, effective hangover cure!
Let’s hope we’ve tickled your taste buds and when visitng Kefalonia you have your eyes and mouth wide open for a gastronomical ride.