The beautiful island of Crete with its wild mountainous terrain and a strong traditional culture is justifiably proud of a cuisine that is internationally famed for its unique ingredients and flavours. Based on simple techniques, it’s the variety of local produce that distinguishes their dishes: mountain herbs and greens, wild bulbs, unique cheeses, olives and, of course, olive oil. For this month’s ‘A Sense of Place’ Greek mezze menu I asked Zoi, founder of Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products, to share the recipe for one of her favourite dishes, dakos. This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever come across so it’s absolutely worth adding it to your summer repertoire. Tradition calls for the tomatoes to be grated and a base of barley rusks but, because English tomatoes are so good right now, I chose to keep them more or less intact and I baked the bread myself.
400g mixed colour tomatoes
1 tbsp Raphael’s organic Greek oregano
Raphael’s Cretan extra-virgin olive oil
100g ricotta (you can also use feta or aged myzithra), crumbled
8 Raphael’s giant Kalamata black greek olives
4 slices of Greek village bread, lightly toasted
Roasted garlic and Cornish sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
Fresh oregano leaves, to serve (you can also use basil)
Pul biber, to serve (optional)
How I make it
Cut the tomatoes according to their size and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Add a splash of olive oil, the oregano and a pinch of sea salt flakes. Set aside whilst you toast the bread.
Drizzle the toasted bread with olive oil and pile the tomato mixture on top. Crumble over the ricotta, lightly drizzle with olive oil and place the olives on top. Scatter over the oregano leaves and a pinch of pul biber (if using).
Suggested wine pairing from Ben, Director of Novel Wines
With a mix of creamy ricotta and fragrant pops of oregano, this dish is calling out for a delicious glass of white or, to make it even more summery, rosé. Ben has firstly chosen the Kyperounda Petritis, a Cypriot white wine made exclusively from the Xynisteri grape which grows 1,400m above the sea in Europe’s highest vineyard plot. The grapes are handpicked and vinified at the Kyperounda winery which towers above Limassol in the Troodos mountains. A mix of gooseberries and candied lime over a creamy backbone, thanks to maturation in oak, the Kyperounda sings alongside the acidity of the tomatoes and lemons, cuts through the salt, and has enough fruit to charm smoked chilli, earthy beetroot and fragrant thyme. Vegan-friendly, 13.0% abv and currently £15.99 at Novel Wines.
For rosé fans, try something a bit different and pair Kiki’s recipe with the smooth, lightly spicy pink wine Chateau Ksara Sunset Rose from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Ksara is Lebanon’s oldest and largest commercial winery founded by Jesuit monks in 1857. It’s crisp and fresh despite its deep colour and has a mix of summer berries and warm spice. It’s bound to delight especially in the sunshine. Vegan, 13.5% abv and £13.99 at Novel Wines.
For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.