HOW TO EAT FASOLAKIA FRESKA?
Greek cuisine shares characteristics with the cuisines of Italy, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Levant. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats, including poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, aubergine, courgette, and yoghurt. The most famous dishes from the Greek palate have gained recognition globally, and include dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, Ouzo, Greek frappé coffee, and baklava.
Fasolakia Freska is an extremely popular Greek vegetarian dish, made with fresh green beans stewed with potatoes, zucchini and tomato sauce. Rich with herbs like parsley and fennel seeds, the herbs impart a sort of licorice-like taste in the dish.
Traditionally served as a vegetarian main dish in Greek households, Fasolakia Freska is very popular during fasting periods, such as the Great Lent. At other occasions, Fasolakia Freska is also popular as a side dish, along with a meat dish like moussaka.
Here is a traditional recipe of Fasolakia Freska from the Holy Trinity Hellenic Orthodox Church Portland,ME:
1 small Onion chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 Lb Green beans
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp fresh mint (1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Cut beans into 2" lengths and snip ends.
Boil beans to not quite tender. Remove beans to bowl.
Saute onion in butter until soft, add back the beans and remaining ingredients and simmer until beans are tender.
There is a variation in the Fasolakia Freska recipe, incorporating meat stock, flour and butter in it, to make a rich soup. This is called Soupa Fasolakia Freska (Krema). The soup is served hot with croutons. Here’s a basic recipe of the Soupa Fasolakia Freska Krema:
6 Tablespoon Vegetable shortening
2 Onions, minced
4 cup Cleaned chopped green Beans
1/2 cup chopped Carrots
2 teaspoon chopped Parsley
12 cup Meat stock
4 Tablespoon Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoon Sweet Butter
Put half of the vegetable shortening into a large pot, heat; saute onions until light golden color. Add beans, carrots, parsley and saute. Add 10 cup of the stock. Cover pot and cook at a low boil until vegs. are tender (about 45 minutes). Pass soup through strainer or blender, then return to the pot. In another smaller pot, heat remaining shortening, then slowly add flour, stirring until well blended. Add remaining hot broth and continue to stir until sauce thickens, then season with salt and pepper. Remove sauce from heat and swirl in butter. Return bean puree to heat, bring to a quick boil, then stir in the sauce. Mix well and serve hot, with croutons if desired.
(Pic courtesy: kretaolivenoel.net)