A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be asked to host a group of travel agents on a trip to the Greek Islands. Tough gig I know!!! I’d never been to Greece and I think I’m pretty safe in saying that it was a bit of a major milestone in my travel career and in my life. From the moment we landed I felt like I’d come home, and so many of my experiences after that just concreted the feeling. I should say at this point I’m not Greek, nor do I have any Greek heritage in my family. It was more of an epiphany around understanding where so much that we take for common knowledge comes from, experiencing the food, being blown away by the scenary and really feeling history. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The first night of our trip we were taken for a hosted dinner to a little touristy restaurant at the foot of the Acropolis. If you walked past it you would be forgiven for thinking it catered for the generic tourist with its plastic chairs and plastic multicoloured table cloths. The meal we experienced there though was amazing! In particular what stands out in my memory to this day 4 years later was a slow cooked lamb made in a wood fired oven and this sensational eggplant bake. I was too in awe of the food to think about asking for recipes at the time, but long chats with the cook Helen, and a memory were enough to have me coming home to attempt to recreate her dish. Whilst this may not be identical it sure came close to my memory and occasionally I still trot it out to remember an amazing weeks travels and the experiences that I had.
The eggplant bake is very rich and filling and is a meal in itself. It would suit a vegetarian plate or a meat free monday with only a fresh green salad or some blanched green beans on the side. It would be yummy with some poached fish too if you are seeking to have some meat, but I don’t think its necessary. A must have though is some fresh bread so you have something to soak up the yummy rich tomato sauce that will linger on your plate.
Click here to get the recipe, and enjoy creating a little piece of Athens in your kitchen.