Food & Drink3 - Poached Fish Soup.
Last time we brought to your table, hopefully, the taste of the magnificent Kalitsounia recipe of the Papadakis family here in Astratigos - they really are the best we have encountered - sunshine on a plate!

Now, equally hopefully, we are bringing you the most exquisite taste inspired by another (unrelated) branch of the Papadakis family - the owners of the Papadakis fish restaurant on the sea front in Kastelli.  The superb poached fish soup ala Papadakis - Kastelli Kissamos - Nomos Chanion, Crete....
I first tried this soup some years ago when we visited the restaurant with some visitors from the UK.  Bill, one of the pair in question, after visiting the kitchen to choose his dishes asked never to be taken in there again! Why?  "Because" he said, "I have never been surrounded with such appetizing food - I just didn't know what to choose.  I wanted everything!"  As it happened he choose as his main course, (and mine) poached fish soup.  'Moron' I thought.  All that superb food and he chooses fish soup!  As it happened it it turned out to be a gastronomic delight - unsurpassed - an incomparable pleasure.  I still go there when I feel like having fish soup.
This recipe will make 4 adult portions.
  • 1 Kilo Cod - four pieces/fish
  • 2 Carrotts/ 2 Small onions
  • 2 Litres of water
  • 2/3 Medium size potatoes
  • 1/2 Courgettes
  • 1 Medium/large Tomato 
  • 1 Wineglass extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped or dried celery
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Wash, peel and chop the carrots and onions and celery* into bite size pieces.  Skin the tomato but leave the skin on the courgettes - slice lengthwise. Quarter the potatoes. Place all the vegetables, oil, salt and pepper into 2 litres of boiling water on low heat.  Bring the pot back to the boil, add the fish and sprinkle in the two table spoons of rice.

When the ingredients are cooked serve into soup bowls - one piece of fish per person, with a side dish of freshly quartered lemon. Kalo Orexi!!

Greek celery is very different from the northern European variety.  It is very thin and green and has a much stronger aroma and taste.  In Greece it is usually eaten cooked.  If you can get it - use it in this dish.

Altogether?  Maybe 20 minutes prep and another 20 minutes actual cooking time.  The transfer of the soup to the slow cooker in the pictures was really only to facilitate presentation - though it does help keep the remains warm for possible seconds.  Accompanied by fresh bread - no spreads now - and a glass or two of chilled still water (Keep the white wine for later!) this is a meal to remember.  Easy peasy - a meal for 4 people inside an hour!  And what a meal.  Go to it - what are you waiting for?!  
The final part...
The final part of another magnificent demonstration of 'Cordon Bleu ala Kriti' cookery was the easiest by far - the tasting.  Well, not really tasting - rather the eating of a whole portion of 'Psaro Soupa' - a literal pronunciation anyone can get their tongue around!

This home produced copy was almost as good as the real thing.  I say almost because we all know that the originator of a dish never ever reveals the final touch, the secret ingredient which may even be something as innocuous as some flourish of the stirrer which makes his personal dish unique........   The final flourish with our rendition was in the eating ... mmmm!!

But then again, if you are in the vicinity of Kastelli....  
I hope that you will enjoy this recipe.  Although it is probably a long way from where you are to the Papadakis fish taverna in Kastelli, you can probably buy all the ingredients at any good supermarket in any country.  Maybe some will even be from the Mediterranean!   I can't offer you a table looking out onto the med but come on, put on some Greek music, remember Shirley Valentine and let the delicious cooking aromas do the rest!  A couple of candles on the table, this delicious fish soup, and your Shirley Valentine - him or her - will be yours forever!!  Well, until someone tells them about the Octopus in Kolimbari - watch this page....