Greek cooking is simple and often relies on three things to bring out the natural flavor of fresh meats, fish and vegetables---olive oil, lemon, and salt. When we are cooking with our aunts in our village, they are always telling us to add more and more salt (and olive oil!) to the dish. All of my Greek relatives cook with sea salt and most other Greeks do too, even if they use the store-bought standard. For purists, nothing compares to sea salt hand-harvested directly from the rocks along the shore. The salt is 100% natural with no chemicals or preservatives added, leaving it rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron as compared to table salt.
After our last trip to Greece we brought back sea salt from Mani, a region in the southernmost part of the country known for its rocky terrain where villages seem to hang from clifftops over the sea. Every summer when the sun is the strongest, harvesting takes place on the rocks along Mani's coastline. The salt collected has a fresh and unique flavor that brings out the best of every meal when you cook with it. To try it out for yourself, purchase our Lembesis Bowl No. 3 and select the "salt" option and we will include a bag of sea salt and a small olive wood spoon. This bowl is the perfect vessel to keep salt and other staple spices near your stovetop for easy access during cooking.
To bring even more flavor to your cooking and learn more about Greek cuisine, don't forget Mina Stone's "Cooking with Artists" cookbook. Here is a salad dressing from her book that has us hooked right now:
Fresh Lemon Juice Dressing
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- finely chopped shallots and/or a spoonful of good mustard (optional)
Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. If using shallots, let them sit in the lemon juice for 5 minutes before whisking in the olive oil. If using mustard, whisk into the lemon juice before whisking in the olive oil.