Oia (ee-ah) Santorini
Oia might be one of the most romantic places in the world. I used to think Paris, beyond a doubt, was the most romantic city in the world. Now I know better. While the thought of Paris, the Eiffel Tower and walking along the Champs Elysees is romantic there are other places just as romantic one of them being Oia and watching the sunset.
Oia is the classic too pretty to be true place to imagine when someone says Greek Islands. This ensemble of white washed houses and blue domes is delicately draped over a steep slope at the top of a cliff. The town is positioned just right for enjoying a spectacular sunset over the caldera.
On July 9, 1956 Oia was devastated by a serious earthquake and left in ruins. The natives rebuilt the town making it more picture perfect than before. One can see ruins of the old town scattered about the new. However the ruins have been barricaded and filled with garbage.
A way from the main road one can find narrow winding lanes full of shops, cafes, and restaurants. One can buy any type of souvenir here, from items costing one euro to hundreds.
At the far tip of Oia is the old turret view point offering a breathtaking three hundred sixty degree view of the caldera and islands surrounding the main one.
The most interesting houses are burrowed into the side of the rock cliffs. These houses surrounded by air filled pumice are ideally insulated. Once the poorest dwellings in town today only millionaires can afford to own. And most are rented as very pricey motels.
Recipe of the day: Saginake
In Greek: σαγανάκι (pronounced sah-ghah-NAH-kee)
Saganaki dishes take their name from the pan in which they are made. A sagani is a two-handled pan that is made in many different materials. In the market, look for a small paella pan, small cast iron skillet, or even an oval au gratin dish.
Serve this as an appetizer, as an hors d'oeuvre, or as part of a meal made up of a varied selection ofmezethes. The key to success with this dish is to get the oil hot (before it starts to smoke) before frying.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 pound (about 1/2 kg) of kefalotyri or kasseri cheese (or pecorino romano)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2/3 cup of flour for dredging
- 2-3 lemons, quartered
Cut the cheese into slices or wedges that are 1/2 inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Moisten each slice with cold water and dredge in the flour. In a sagani (Greek pan used for this dish) or a small heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast-iron works best), heat the oil over medium-high heat, and sear each slice in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden-brown on both sides. Serve hot with a last-minute squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serve with ouzo or wine, olives, vegetable mezethes, tomatoes, and crusty bread.
Yield: 6 servings
- If desired, the cheese can be dipped into beaten egg (after the flour).
- If you enjoy a little pepper, add some fresh ground black pepper to the flour before dredging the cheese.