I had the honor and privilege of cooking with the incredible Chef Zissie once again and this time, we went BIG! We’ve done a gourmet meal with grilled haloumi cheese, Brazilian fish stew, homemade crusty bread with dips and delicious cinnamon buns. We’ve mastered healthy Thai with rice paper wraps, Thai curry chicken and a mango smoothie. So what next? One of the most important things about our get-togethers is challenging ourselves to try new recipes and cuisines and have a great time in the kitchen.
Chef Zissie mentioned that she’s never cooked Greek food before but it’s something she’s always been interested in…so the inspiration was born. I seriously love eating Greek food so I certainly was not going to say no to a gourmet Greek meal cooked by Chef Zissie in her own kitchen. Armed with my Nikon D3100 (yup, that’s the camera I use for my food photos), Chef Zissie and I got right down to work. We listened to hipster music, played with her adorable daughter, chopped lots of fresh herbs and manhandled a whole fish. Chef Zissie is all about fresh ingredients and tons of flavor so you just KNOW it’s gonna be good! Since Chef Zissie basically cooked the entire meal, I entertained her with my witty banter and took pictures of her chopping, sautéing and cooking along the way. Since she created so many recipes that I am obsessed with, I’ve decided to break up my usual Chef Zissie post in to three different posts so I could focus all of my attention on each course.
Here’s the entire menu that I will posting for the next few weeks.
Appetizer: Lathovrekhto with Charred Pepper Feta Dip and Aubergine Salad
Main Dish: Braised Whole Tilapia with Tomato Herb Sauce
Side Dish: Vegetable Moussaka
Dessert: Sifnos Cheese and Thyme Honey Tart
Today’s post is focused on the incredible appetizer that we devoured. I could not stop eating the lathovrekhto, which is toasty bread with olive oil. It’s the Greek version of Italian bruschetta. Chef Zissie created so many beautiful layers to this dish and while it seems like you won’t be able to taste all of the flavors, each ingredients truly stands out. We toasted crusty bread with olive oil and topped it with a homemade charred pepper feta dip and an aubergine (eggplant) salad. The salty feta, creamy Greek yogurt, sweet tomatoes, spicy peppers, fresh herbs, crunchy pine nuts and lots of olive oil! I think these pictures speak a thousand words.
Pile it on!
- 4 red bell peppers
- 2 hot peppers
- ⅓ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 container (8 oz.) feta, crumbled
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- pinch of kosher salt and pepper
- 2 eggplant, thinly sliced (skin on)
- 1 16 oz can whole tomatoes, juice removed (or if its summer and tomatoes are in season; 1 cup fresh tomatoes)
- 1 cup olive oil, divided
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- pinch of pepper
- crusty bread
- olive oil
- Turn the oven on to the broil setting. Drizzle the bell peppers and hot peppers with ¼ cup olive oil, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil 15 minutes, turning over the peppers half way through. The outside of the peppers should be blackened. Place the peppers in a plastic or paper bag, seal and set aside 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag and run under cold water while removing the blackened skin. Remove the seeds from the peppers (keep in the hot pepper seeds if you want a spicier dip) and chop them finely. Combine the peppers with the feta, yogurt, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place sliced eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with ½ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. On a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper, stir together the whole tomatoes with the minced garlic and ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant and tomatoes for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Combine the eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slice the crusty bread, drizzle with olive oil and toast for around 8 minutes, until crunchy and browning. Top the toast with the charred pepper feta dip and then the aubergine salad on top.