Monday, March 15, 2010
Greek food always takes me back to Santorini, Crete and our honeymoon. In the summer, I love to have Greek yogurt with honey for breakfast - I sit out on the deck, and while the view is nothing like that on the Caldera, I get a reminder of the beauty of those islands. The weather's not ready for that yet, so I made 4 Greek dishes for dinner on Sunday. This recipe is the first of them. Check back over the next week for the rest of the meal, and then give them a try at home for your own little Greek getaway.
This was the last piece of the meal I chose. I NEVER make bread. Ladyberd confession: yeast is my nemesis. Perhaps because my mom never made bread, perhaps because I've never really tried, or (my favorite excuse) it's just too cold in my kitchen for the dough to rise properly. (I'm sure that's it - it couldn't be something I'm doing!)
But as I flipped through my Greek cooking bible: Vefa's Kitchen, I stumbled across a picture of Fried Olive Bread from Cyprus. Little pieces of bread stuffed with Kalamata olives. Yes, please! As I watched my dough, I was a little nervous about how they'd turn out, but they were great - they cook up quickly and rapid rise yeast made it a quick and painless process. The measurements below are half the original. It made about 12 pieces - enough for 4 people with a meal or two if you're serving it as an appetizer.
And an extra-yummy hint: dip them in a little tzatziki. Mmmmmm.
Fried Olive Bread from Cyprus
adapted from Vefa's Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 Tbsp. rapid rise yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Olive oil, plus more for frying
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Sift the flour into a bowl, then stir in the yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour in the honey, oil and water. Incorporate the dry ingredients and knead to a soft pliable dough, adding more flour if necessary (I didn't add anymore).
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour until doubled in volume. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the olives over it, leaving a bit or a border around the outside. Roll up tightly.
Using a floured knife, cut the roll crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick. Let rise about 15 minutes.
Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet or frying pan with olive oil (you want a thick coating, but not too deep). Heat over medium heat. Working in batches, add the bread slices and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. (You can also bake them for about 15 minutes at 350F - I fried them, so not sure how the result would differ). Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately.