Mealtime is when family and friends bond, celebrate, and share stories. This section is my virtual table, where I write about people, places, events, and cultural tidbits, similar to the way I might share a story over a good meal.
While most of our meals are home cooked, every summer, we make a point of enjoying several dinners at our favorite family owned seaside restaurant, En Plw, pronounced "En Plo". During the day, Mr. Dakouras, a fisherman, takes his boat out to sea, while his wife, Kiria Tulla and their son, run the kitchen and service.
As with many villages in Greece, our little seaport town of Katakolo offers an abundance of fresh seafood to enjoy at local establishments. In addition to the freshness of the food, it is a treat to enjoy dinner looking out at the sea and the boat used for that day’s catch.
Prior to knowing how to cook my favorite Greek dishes, visits to Greece meant gorging on yemista (stuffed peppers and tomatoes), moussaka, or dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Now that I am able to enjoy these at home, the focus of our culinary explorations has shifted to seafood that is not readily available back home. In particular, copious amounts of fresh anchovies. If your only experience with anchovies has been the salt cured canned version, you probably think I have lost my mind, and had you told me five years ago that anchovies would turn out to be one of my favorite fish, I would have thought the same of you. Fresh anchovies, however, are very different from those sold in cans in the United States. Two wonderful preparations are pickled and fried, both of which are available at En Plw. All year, I long for Kiria Tulla’s pickled anchovies and she always obliges with a full plate of them when we visit.
Our other standard order is a "psaria pikilia", or fish variety mix, which includes fried anchovies, calamari, octopus, shrimp, clams, accompanied by various types of fried potatoes and cheese pies. Ordering a variety mix instead of "a la carte" tends to be more economical and allows you to enjoy a whole assortment of foods. These variety plates can also be prepared with meat options, and in the case of En Plw, they offer a half-seafood half-meat variety mix, which I think of as a Greek style surf n' turf.
Oh, if only I could replicate this meal at home! While the recipe isn't complicated, in my experience, it is quite difficult to find whole anchovies, fresh or frozen, on the east coast of the United States. Of course, just because I haven't found any yet doesn't mean I have given up! In the meantime, I am left dreaming of my next visit to Katakolo.