New Greek Cuisine

New Greek Cuisine

4.0 1
by Jim Botsacos, Judith Choate
     
 

The acclaimed chef from Molyvos—New York’s “very best Greek restaurant” (Esquire)—reinvents one of the world’s classic cuisines in 150 recipes that celebrate its fresh ingredients and bold flavors.

Before the Livanos family opened Molyvos they wanted to be sure their food hit all the right notes. So they hired gifted

Overview

The acclaimed chef from Molyvos—New York’s “very best Greek restaurant” (Esquire)—reinvents one of the world’s classic cuisines in 150 recipes that celebrate its fresh ingredients and bold flavors.

Before the Livanos family opened Molyvos they wanted to be sure their food hit all the right notes. So they hired gifted chef Jim Botsacos and took him on a tour of the Greek isles, spending many nights dining and cooking in Greek homes. Jim’s immersion in Greek cuisine and his own bistro-influenced sensibility made an immediate impression on New York restaurant critics, including Ruth Reichl, whose three-star rave thanked Molyvos for reminding her “how truly wonderful Greek food can be.” Now, with The New Greek Cuisine, anyone can “go Greek” with flair.

While staying true to tradition, the recipes in The New Greek Cuisine bring everything to the next level by emphasizing ingredients and presentation and intensifying flavors. Home cooks can start small by learning to make marvelous mezes, including mussels with mint or a crustless leek and cheese pie. When it’s time to move on to entrees, there are plenty of tasty and satisfying options, from braised lamb shanks with orzo to plank-grilled prawns. Inventively simple sides such as roasted “cracked” potatoes with coriander and red wine, or comforting pastitsio--a Greek macaroni and cheese--could become new family favorites. And no Greek meal would be complete without desserts like semolina cake with yogurt and spoon sweets or easy pinwheel-shaped baklava.

Based on staples such as fish, whole grains, and olive oil, Greek food is not only healthy and delicious but offers a welcome break from other overexposed Mediterranean cuisines. And this richly illustrated cookbook by one of the new Greek’s most talented practitioners is the perfect way to discover its many delights.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With this satisfying cookbook, Botsacos, the head chef at Manhattan's Molyvos restaurant, translates Greek food for a New World setting without losing authenticity. As is often the case at Greek tables, small dishes dominate: the book begins with mezede plates such as classic Melitzanosalata and a delightful Greek Fava Beans with Arugula, Spring Onions, and Capers; then there are chapters for savory pies (which Botsacos proclaims are "the ultimate finger food"), appetizers-a section that is hard to distinguish from mezedes, but equally full of tempting options-and soups and salads. Restaurant favorites like Aglaia's Moussaka and Chicken Magiritsa are included, though Botsacos gets to stretch his wings a little and adds more unusual recipes such as the Warm Manouri Salad with Baby Beets and Pickled Pearl Onions or Pork Spareribs Marinated in Ouzo and Greek Spices. Much of Botsacos's mix of modern-ancient flavors is quite accessible for those willing to put in the preparation time often required. Still, they are likely to find the effort worthwhile, and if they do not reach quite the culinary heights Botsacos does at Molyvos, his clear guidelines should at least help them bring some fresh Greek flavors to their tables. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct. 10) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Botsacos has been chef at the three-star Molvyos since it opened in New York in 1997, offering refined Greek cuisine with an emphasis on impeccably fresh fish dishes. Most of his recipes are for fairly simple, rustic fare, made with the best ingredients and sometimes a slightly lighter touch than the traditional version: Horopita (Wild Greens Pie), Steamed Salmon Wrapped in Grape Leaves with Bulgur Salad, Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken. When developing the menu, Botsacos consulted Aglaia Kremezi, the noted authority on Greek cooking, and her influence is evident in a number of the dishes. There are few good cookbooks on Greek cuisine other than the numerous titles by Kremezi (e.g., The Foods of Greece) and Diane Kochilas (e.g., The Glorious Foods of Greece); Botsacos's is recommended for subject collections, as well as for other libraries where restaurant books are popular. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780767918756
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/10/2006
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
7.29(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.79(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

In New Greek Cuisine, the acclaimed chef from Molyvos — New York’s “very best Greek restaurant” (Esquire) — reinvents one of the world’s classic cuisines in 150 recipes that celebrate its fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Among his diverse collection of dishes, Jim Botsacos offers these delicious classics — perfect for holiday parties.

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt with Cucumber, Carlic, and Mint)

One taste of tzatziki floods my palate with memories of Greece. It was part of the meze served at every meal. The texture of the grated cucumber against the thick, tangy Greek yogurt is a perfect contrast. Because of the recent interest in Mediterranean cooking and diet, Greek yogurt is now widely available. If you can’t find it locally, try researching “Greek food” online, and you’re sure to find a source that will deliver beautiful Greek yogurt right to your door.

1 large hothouse cucumber, peeled
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
Warm pita bread triangles for serving

1. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place the colander over a bowl deep enough to catch draining juices without the juices touching the bottom of the collander. Set aside.

2. Using a box grater, grate the cucumber through the medium holes into a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and toss to combine. Transfer the cucumber to the colander and allow the juices to drain for 1 hour. Pull the cheesecloth up and twist the ends together to squeeze any remaining juice from the cucumber. Transfer the well-drained cucumber to a clean nonreactive container with a lid.

3. Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

4. Serve chiled with warm pita bread triangles.

Taramasalata (Caviar Mousse)

Tarama, cured fish roe, usually that of carp, is the base of this dish, one of the great Greek mezedes. (Although one may think that tarama is imported to the U.S. from Greece, I have learned that most of it makes its way to Greece from Norway. The cheapest types are often tinted pink to enhance their appearance.) The combination of potatoes and almonds beaten into the roe creates a fluffy, gently flavored emulsion that can serve as a dip, a sauce, or a filling. This recipe came from a friend who got it from a store owner in Astoria, Queens, a New York Greek neighborhood.

Most people now use a food processor to blend the mixture, which tends to liquefy rather than emulsify. To achieve the best texture and flavor, you really should use a meat grinder as we do at Molyvos. If you don't have one, first grind the almonds in a food processor, finely dice the onions by hand, and then pulse the two together for only a second or two to combine. Put the cooked potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill and then combine them with the almond/ onion mixture by hand. Then, and only then, should you proceed with finishing the recipe!

2 ounces whole almonds
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons corn oil
One 1/2-pound Idaho potato, boiled in its skin, peeled, and chilled
1/4 medium yellow onion
1/4 pound tarama (carp roe)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice concentrate
4 to 6 tablespoons seltzer water
Warm pita bread triangles for serving

1. Place the almonds in a heatproof bowl with boiling water to cover. Let stand until the water is tepid. Drain well and, using your fingertips, pop off and discard the skins.

2. Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place the peeled almonds on the prepared tray and refrigerate for about 8 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

4. Remove the almonds from the refrigerator and place on a small baking pan. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, just to dry slightly. Do not roast.

5. Pour about 1 teaspoon of the corn oil into a medium mixing bowl and, using your fingertips, rub the oil around the interior of the bowl to coat lightly.

6. Combine the almonds with the potato and onion in the oiled bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat, mashing the potato slightly and pulling the onion apart.

7. Working with about one third of the almond mixture at a time, pass it through an electric mixer fitted with the fine grinder attachment or through a stand-alone meat grinder into the oiled bowl, allowing the food to pass through the grinder completely before adding the next third. This will prevent clogging. The consistency should be of a coarse meal.

8. When all of the mixture has been ground, remove the grinder attachment from the mixer and fit the mixer with the bowl and paddle.

9. Place the tarama in the mixer bowl and, with the mixer on low speed, begin beating the tarama, adding the remaining corn oil in a slow, steady stream. Then add the extra virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream. When well blended, remove the paddle attachment and change to the wire whip. Continuing to mix on medium speed, add the lemon juice in a slow, steady stream.

10. When well blended, stop the motor, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the almond mixture. With the mixer on low speed, slowly combine the mixtures.

11. When well combined, begin adding the seltzer, an ounce at a time, until the taramasalata is as light and airy as light, fluffy mashed potatoes.

12. Transfer to a nonreactive storage container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving with warm pita triangles.

Melitzanosalata (Grilled Eggplant Salad with Tomato, Vinegar, and Parsley)

When we were eating our way through Greece, I tasted many, many versions of this meze. Too often they had little taste of eggplant because so many other ingredients had been added. I love the slightly smoky taste of eggplant, which I think is really brought out in this version of a classic Greek dish.

whole eggplants, about 4 pounds
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/2 cup well-drained finely diced canned tomato
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (see page 000)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
About 3 tablespoons seltzer water
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Warm pita bread triangles for serving

1. Preheat and oil a grill. Place a wire rack on a baking pan. Set aside.

2. Pierce each eggplant in a few places with a dinner fork. Place the eggplants on the preheated grill and grill, turning occasionally to prevent burning, for about 15 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and the skin is black. Using a spatula, lift the eggplants from the grill and place on the wire rack in the baking pan to cool.

3. When the eggplants are cool, peel and discard the skin as well as any juices that have dripped into the baking pan.

4. Coarsely chop the eggplant flesh and place it in the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the garlic, onion, and tomato and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the yogurt and mix for another minute.

5. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the vinegar and lemon juice. When blended, with the mixer still running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Begin adding the seltzer, a tablespoon at a time, beating until the mixture is slightly thick yet light and relatively loose. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper.

6. Transfer to a nonreactive storage container, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before serving with warm pita triangles.

Meet the Author

JIM BOTSACOS was the ‘21’ Club’s executive sous chef before becoming executive chef at Park Avalon when he was just twenty-four. He has been chef at Molyvos since it opened in 1997, and has appeared on The Early Show, Today, Martha Stewart Living, and the Food Network. He lives in New York City.

Judith Choate is the award-winning author of twenty-one cookbooks and the coauthor of The Tribeca Grill Cookbook and The Art of Aureole, among others. She lives in New York City.

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New Greek Cuisine 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Greek food (haven't had it in years!) and in particular, the wonderful Greek lamb. And of course, the exquisite baklava. Author/chef Jim Botsacos' book is full of fabulous recipes that will inspire you to try another ethnic cuisine. He's also the chef of Molyvos Restaurant in New York City, for which he did extensive research in Greece to be able to recreate authentic dishes. You'll find more cooking book reviews on my non-ficiton book review website. Yahoo! search using keyword PettProjects.