Low-fat and lightweight members of a savage tribe - The Best from Greece


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Posted on: 13/Jan/2012 The Best From Greece Culinair European barracuda live to up to 100 meters from the surface, usually on sandy bottoms. Younger fry live in schools near the seabed, but go solo once they reach adulthood. They are fished with nets and drag lines.
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The only member of the barracuda family in Greek waters, Sphyraena sphyraena (“loutsos” in Greek) is a lightweight (up to 4 kilos and usually up to 60 centimeters in length, although larger ones have been found of up to 1.60 meters) compared to its feared cousins in the tropics, which can be up to 5 meters in length. It has a long body and conical head, with a protruding lower jaw. Dark brown-olive in color in the water, it darkens to black once out of the sea.

European barracuda live to up to 100 meters from the surface, usually on sandy bottoms. Younger fry live in schools near the seabed, but go solo once they reach adulthood. They are fished with nets and drag lines.

Catches in the local market are nearly always from Greek waters and cost from 12-14 euros per kilo. You might find some smaller ones from Spain (8-10 euros per kilo) but you can tell the difference, as they are not black along their backs as Greek ones are. Their flesh is white and tasty and they are among the less fatty fish.

One of their main characteristics is the heavy smell of their blood – remove this by rinsing them well in lukewarm water after gutting and scaling them and then rinse again immediately in very cold water.

Try them in fish soups, grilled on charcoal, dipped in batter and fried, or cooked with sauces that are slightly acidic, such as with a tomato or lemon base.

European barracuda with lemon and celery

Ingredients (for 6)
About 2 kilos of European barracuda, scaled, gutted and with the head and tail removed
10 sticks of celery, each cut in three pieces
4 tbsp of olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Using a deep frying pan with a lid, pour in the olive oil and lay the celery pieces. They add the fish (each cut in half so they will fit). Pour the lemon juice over the fish and dust with the pepper. Add a little water to reach the base of the fish. Cover and heat over a high flame for 15 minutes or until the fish spine opens. One or two minutes before the end, add the salt and continue cooking with the lid off.

European barracuda in vine leaves with potato salad

Ingredients (for 6)
About 2 kilos of European barracuda, scaled, gutted and with the head and tail removed
2 large tomatoes
1 level tsp of salt
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp of ground cumin (optional)
or ground coriander
1/2 cup of olive oil
20 large vine leaves (frozen or canned)
A few vine tops (if you can find them)
3/4 cup of water



Preheat the oven to 180C. Season the fish inside and out and put the vine tips in their stomach opening. Slice the tomatoes in rounds. Lay out half the vine leaves in a row and lay half the tomato slices on top of them. Then lay the fish on them and cover it with the other half of the tomato slices. Dust with the cumin, pour on the oil and then cover with the rest of the vine leaves. Wrap the fish up well, tying it firmly with kitchen twine. Lay it in a baking dish, add the water and cover the tray with aluminum foil or baking paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the foil or paper for the last 8-10 minutes. Serve cut into portions, accompanied by potato salad.

Potato salad

Ingredients
6 large potatoes
Juice of 2 lemons
and zest of one
4-5 sprigs of parsley
4-5 fresh mint leaves,
finely chopped
2-3 tsp of orange liqueur
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil

Wash the potatoes well and drop them in boiling water in their jackets for about 15-20 minutes. When done, remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Peel, cut into wedges in bowl, add the parsley and mint and mix well. In another bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, liqueur, pepper and a little salt, beating with a whisk. Pour over the potatoes.

 

 


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