By Maria Zougra
The Zakynthos of Solomos and Kalvos, Xenopoulos and Foscolo or “Zante”, or the Fioro of the Levant (= Flower of the East) or the “Island of the Righteous” (since it is the only place that managed to save its entire Jewish population, from the atrocity of the Nazis), is one of the islands of the Greek islands in the Ionian Sea.
It has an irregular triangular shape with the northernmost tip of the island ending at Cape Skinari, while in the south-southeast the bay of Laganas is formed, where there are three islands, Marathonisi, Agios Sostis and Pelouso. Furthermore, 37 nautical miles south of Laganas are the Strofades Islands. The bay of Laganas, with its magnificent beach, has been declared a National Park since 1999, as it is a nesting place for the endangered caretta-caretta turtle.
Navagio beach, which was declared the best beach in the world for 2018, according to a survey carried out by the electronic tourism platform FlightNetwork, is one of the most beautiful sights of the island.
Zakynthos is also very popular for its local cuisine with recipes that go back centuries and that still tickle the palate: rabbit in the oven with oil and oregano, braised veal with spaghetti and grated cheese and “kayana” eggs with fresh tomato, garlic and country sausage are just some of the dishes you can taste on the Ionian island, presented to us by Executive Chef, Alexandros Patrinos (@patrinos_alexandros).
“Kayana” eggs with fresh tomato, garlic & country sausage
MATERIALS FOR 1 PERSON
250 gr. country sausage
200 gr. grated tomato
1/4 dry onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh oregano
salt & pepper
We finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a deep non-stick pan and sauté them for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, the sausages, and saute. Add the fresh tomato and let the sauce simmer, on low heat, for 8-10 minutes. Then pour the eggs into the sauce, sprinkle with fresh oregano, basil, and parsley. Continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the eggs are cooked and serve.
Braised beef with spaghetti & grated cheese
INGREDIENTS / 6 PORTIONS
1,200 gr. veal (shoulder or breast or rump whole piece)
3-4 cloves of garlic
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 large dry onion (very finely chopped)
1 tablespoon of paste
2 packs peeled whole tomatoes
1 fl. dry white wine
1 bay leaf
cinnamon (in moderation)
1 package Linguine spaghetti
A lot of cheese (finely grated)
Dry the veal very well with absorbent kitchen paper, so that there is no moisture on it. Finely chop the garlic on our counter with a knife or chop the cloves and add plenty of salt and pepper. Mix the garlic with salt and pepper. Pierce the meat in places with a pointed knife and insert the garlic with salt and pepper into the meat with your finger. Tie the meat to keep its shape. Put olive oil in a large pot and over high heat, brown it very well all around for about 7-8 minutes, so that it forms a crust all around. Take it out on a plate and keep it covered for a while. Lower the heat and add the chopped vegetables and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring. You can chop all the vegetables in the blender with intermittent pulse, but do not puree them. We want them in 3-4 mm brinoise-like pieces.
Add the tomato paste and rub it into the base of the pot. We extinguish with the wine. Let the wine almost evaporate and the pot dry. Put the meat with all the juices it has extracted on the plate back into the sauce. Melt the whole peeled tomatoes in a bowl with your hands and add them to the pot. Let it boil. Lower the heat and add a little hot water or stock. Add the bay leaf and allspice. Cover the food and simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, and the sauce thickens for about 2 hours (the cooking time always depends on how soft the meat is). The veal is also made in the kettle, thus reducing the boiling time.
After the meat has softened, cut it into smaller pieces and leave it in its sauce to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes and absorb the sauce. It is the time when we flavor the food with a little clove and cinnamon. I tie 2-3 cloves, 1 small piece of cinnamon stick and put them in the pot for a while towards the end. I leave them for a few minutes and remove them so that everyone wonders if the beef has spices or not. Add salt and pepper towards the end of boiling.
Oven-baked rabbit with oil and oregano
1 whole rabbit
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
We take the whole rabbit, wash it and after drying it, season it with salt and pepper and sprinkle it with oregano. Then, put the rabbit in a pan, pour oil over it and spread it to go everywhere. We do the same with lemon juice. Preheat the oven and bake the rabbit on both sides, at 180-200 degrees. Bake for one hour with the pan covered and for the remaining 15-20 minutes uncover the pan to brown the rabbit. Serve with baked potatoes or rice or mashed, while it is served with its sauce.