Greek volleyball player Aquilias Papademetriou retired from top sports at the age of 36 to devote himself to another childhood passion: his country’s gastronomy. He opened a delicatessen in downtown Nantes and this week is publishing, with Solar Editions, a very comprehensive book devoted to Greek culinary specialties, in collaboration with his childhood friend, Chef Constantinos Christodoulou. Meets.
Childhood cooking memory?
The smell of olives … When I was a child, my parents ran an olive grove in the beautiful Amaliáda countryside, 35 km from the site of Olympia, in the West Peloponnese. Since I was six, I have accompanied them every year, in the fall, to harvest the fruits and extract the olive oil… It is one of my fondest memories.
Through this book, written in collaboration with Chef Constantinos Christodoulou, she aims, she says, to make us discover authentic Greek cuisine in a different way…
Yes, it was about prioritizing regional cuisines and their emblematic ingredients. Some of the recipes are very popular like moussaka or tzatziki and some of the recipes are much less than that. Bordetto a traditional dish from the island of Corfu, or rai salad, Satori Who comes to us from the Cyclades Islands …
For La Vie, she decided to give the center stage to the fasolada, a soup made with white beans. Tell us about this recipe.
in Greece , fasolada It is considered our national dish since the 30s of the last century, since pulses are grown in abundance on our land. It is a dish that we mainly eat in winter. In general, it is accompanied by spiced fish such as anchovies, herring, sardines … or even olives. The recipe we present to you with Konstantinos Christodoulou classically includes tomato concentrate, but there are differences. For example, you can replace the concentrate with lemon juice. Otherwise, in central Greece, they gladly add sausages. Anyway, we plan to combine high quality olive oil with extra virgin olive oil, and that makes a big difference.
For dessert, they recommend the walnut cake…
Because it’s a seasonal dessert, yes, but I don’t recommend eating it afterwards fasolada Because it might be a little heavy (Laugh). This cake is made from semolina and contains a delicious homemade syrup with cinnamon. Not forgetting the little French touch: cognac!
Fasolada, a soup similar to the national dish
Ingredients for 6 people
500g dried white beans
2 chopped onions
2 stalks of celery
1 c. tablespoon tomato paste
1⁄2 tsp. 1 teaspoon chili flakes (bukovo)
lemon juice (optional)
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
• The day before, soak the beans in a large bowl of cold water.
• On the same day, peel the carrots and cut them into slices. Peel the onions and chop. Wash and rinse celery stalks.
• In a large saucepan, heat half the olive oil and fry the onions, carrots and celery.
• Add tomato paste and mix. Drain the beans and add them to the skillet. Add 2 liters of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 or up to 2.5 hours.
• At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper, add hot pepper and the rest of the olive oil. You can also add a little lemon juice.
Walnut cake, family and seasonal dessert
Ingredients for 10 people
220 grams granulated sugar
300 grams fine semolina
350 g walnuts
1 c. vanilla extract
1 c. Baking powder
50 ml cognac
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1.5 tbsp. teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of salt
Butter and flour for the mold
500 ml water
500 grams of sugar
peel 1 untreated lemon
1 cinnamon stick
• Prepare the drink. In a small saucepan, boil the water with the sugar husks
Grated lemon and cinnamon stick. When the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
• Preheat oven to 170°C (5/6).
• Separate the egg white from the yolk. In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until the mixture is white and fluffy. Add semolina, crushed walnuts, vanilla extract, baking powder, cognac and spices and mix with a spoon until you get a homogeneous paste. Reservation.
• Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Gradually incorporate them into the mixture using a spoon, and mix gently.
• Butter and flour 25 x 35 cm rectangular mold, pour in the mixture and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
• Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 20-30 minutes. Then make holes with a knife on the surface of the cake and pour cold syrup on it, filtering it.
• Leave the cake to cool, it should absorb all the syrup. Cut into slices and serve.
These recipes are taken from a very beautiful book Greek cuisine. Authentic recipes from Greek families, By Achilleas Papadimitriou and Konstantinos Christodoulou, in collaboration with Émilie Laraison. Released on October 20, Éditions Solar, priced at €28. Opson Greek Delicacy, 2 rue Copernica, Nantes (44).