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Passport & Plate - Saganaki Mussels

Greece | Thursday, 13 March 2014 | 5 photos

400 g mussels (without the shells)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2-3 stalks fresh green onion
2-3 garlic gloves
1 chili pepper
400 g preserved tomatoes
100 g feta cheese
2 tbs ouzo
1 teaspoon oregano
Olive oil


How to prepare this recipe
Mince the bell peppers, the hot pepper, the onion and the garlic. Fry them in a large pan for few minutes then add the ouzo. Cook till the vegetables get soft. Add the tomatoes and the paprika and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the mussels for 5 more minutes. Crumble the cheese, add it into the pan and season with pepper and oregano. Cover the pan and cook till the cheese start melting. The dish is ready.


The story behind this recipe
In the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 I had the chance to live for 7 months in Greece. Me and my boyfriend were living in a small town, called Eginio, 30km away from Thessaloniki. He is a volleyball player and he was playing for the local volleyball team - Niki Eginio.
At the beginning I didn’t like Greece. I thought that all the chaos there isn’t for me. But later I realized that the chaos isn’t chaos at all, it is just another way of ordering. The warm and emotional relations between people, the simplicity and the relaxed life there are so seductive and once you get used to them, you can’t go back to your “normal”. And the food… the food there is amazing. The lunches and the dinners with friends and family are like a ritual. The food really does connect the people and saw it myself. I am happy that I had the chance to be part of all this. The people in our town were friendly and welcoming and they made us feel like home. I would like to tell you about a very special person, who made our life in Greece incredible. Her name is Maroula Goridis and she is the mother of one of my boyfriend’s teammates. She was like a mum to us too. Even we were calling her “Mama Maroula”. We were going at her home very often and sometimes the two of us were cooking for the boys. She was teaching me how to cook some of the most common Greek dishes. This is how I learned the recipe for “Saganaki Mussels”. And I fell in love with this recipe. It combines some of the most typical Greek tastes – Mussels, Tomatoes, Feta cheese, Oregano. I learned some other recipes too and every time I cook them at home, I feel like I am in Greece again and I miss my big Greek family.

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