A Tribute to Ouzo
[...] When ouzo comes into contact with ice or when we place it in the refrigerator, the essential oils of anethole (anise as we talked about before) freeze and form crystals which give us gastric acid, heartburn and headache and then we blame the meze because we think it is their fault. So what do we do when we want our ouzo to be cool? We simply place as many ice cubes as we wish in the glass or the carafe with water, but never directly in the ouzo. This is one of the five 'must nots' which we must follow in order to enjoy our ouzo and avoid... collateral damage.
2) We don't drink from large glasses with a wide rim because our nose gets into the glass, we inhale the alcohol and get drunk faster. In Mytilini, the connoisseurs drink ouzo in 'canon' glasses with the narrow rim and the klefti (thief) bottom.
3) Our glass must be completely empty before re filling it because this way we can maintain a steady ouzo/water proportion since we all have a personal taste and our own favorite proportion. For the same reason it is not polite to pour ouzo to others.
4) It is unimaginable to drink ouzo without meze. And now we come to the class differences of ouzo. I haste to clarify that ouzo class refers more to time than the mezedes themselves and their variety. Good ouzo is consumed summer and winter, at noon; however with all our running around, work and obligations we have associated it with evenings out and vacations. And thus the great confusion and misconception that ouzo is a summer drink. So no true, as my syntax teacher would say, because the best ouzo meze can be found between October and April; and talking about ouzo meze, we mean what comes from mother Sea. Pay attention! With the ecological awareness of an old fisherman, before the bombardment with all the don'ts and should nots from ichthyologists and other scientists. [...]
The recipes included are:
- Fisherman's dish
- Mussel balls
- Anchovy balls
- Napi Sole (fish) rolls
- Cuttlefish in wine sauce
- Stuffed lykourinos (Asia Minor calamari)
- Octopus casserole
- Swordfish with four-pepper wine sauce
- Tuna balls
- Octopus with wild asparagus
- Ayvalik mussel rice
- White seabream with vegetables in parchment paper
- Seafood casserole with penne and ouzo
- Toadfish filet on leek sauce
- Hake with chickpeas in tomato sauce
- Seafood giouvetsi
- "Tipsy" shrimps
- Dorado baked with fresh tomato and Fiorina peppers
- "Big Ten" tuna salad
- Halva cigars.
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