CHEF THEODOSIS VENETIS AND HIS GREEK SALAD… WITH ITALIAN TWIST
by Cesare Zucca –
One of the most renowned restaurants in Athens, the Metropolis Roof Garden located on the tenth floor of the splendid Hotel Electra Metropolis, one of the most magical locations in the city, from which you can enjoy an incomparable view of the Parthenon. Chef Theodosis Venetis offers guests the unique opportunity to taste his cuisine that perfectly mixes contemporary Greek creativity with a touch of the Orient.
How did you become a chef?
My first thought was to join the anti-terrorist police. But I would have to go back to school and I would have had to study for many months. I threw myself into food and was lucky enough to work with great starred Chefs, from Sergio Herman to Rik Jansma, to my ‘spiritual father’ Ettore Botrini in his Etrusco restaurant in Cyprus, then followed by prominent restaurants such as Edodi, Ark, Matsuhisa.
Many restaurants … what about your own?
Sooner or later it will come … I would like to have one without a name, maybe on a beach. Spartan menu: a soup, a Greek salad, fish of the day and that’s it. There the locals would come, while here the clientele is decidedly more varied and international, therefore a wider menu, always keeping an eye on the tradition of Greek cuisine.
Where do you like to spend the weekend?
I like to browse around Athens, discover newly opened restaurants, new bistros, street food corners. If I have the whole day off, I go to the beach, there are the best places to enjoy fresh fish, of course, you need to know them or better still have them indicated by someone from the place, because many do not have a name.
If I’m in the mood for meat, I move just outside Athens, where you can still find some ‘taverns’ with the owner cooking, often very well. .
Your favorite Greek destinations?
In the summer, I go to the Greek islands to discover vegetables, meats, fish, plus I have a great passion for ancient handicrafts. I really like the area of Lefkada, a true gastronomic paradise where I find the authentic ingredients of traditional Greek cuisine in all its best known dishes, such as pita, souvlaki and yogurt, moussaka and exquisite yellow bean purée.
Excellent fish, from red mullet marinated with rosemary to fried cod, avgotaraho ‘Greek caviar’. In the stalls you will find a wonderful amber honey, juicy olives, Eglouvis lentils and many typical products of the area.
Anyone in your recipe?
Yes, in my salad I used typically Greek ingredients, such as soumada, a drink with almonds from the island of Chios, but also an … Italian transgression, that is the salami produced in Lefkada, imported long ago by the first inhabitants of the island , coming from Burano.
ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH ALMOND MAYONNAISE, HEART OF ORANGE AND LEFKADA SALAMI
1 bunch of white asparagus 100 gr of Leukada salami
150 gr of peeled almonds 2
tablespoons of shredded dill
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 orange (heart only)
50 gr of dried cranberries
The almond foam
100 ml of grape seed oil
200 ml of almond milk
1 gr of xanthan gum
10 ml of Chios soumada
1 iSi siphon
20 pieces of radishes
400 ml of water
400 ml of tarragon vinegar
80 grams of sugar
20 gr of salt
3 bay leaves
3 pieces of star anise
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
The citrus sauce
60 ml of orange juice
20 ml of lemon
20 ml of lime
10 ml of grapefruit
10 ml of Syrup 50-50
3 gr of salt
60 gr of sun oil
3 grams of xanthan gum
Blanch the asparagus in salted water until soft, but always crunchy. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Cut half the asparagus into cubes to make a kind of tartare. Add the dill, parsley and the chopped blueberries and half of the shredded salami, the heart of orange, half of our sauce and sea salt. Mix well and leave to marinate for 5 minutes.
Mix everything in a blender and store them in an easy-to-squeeze plastic container.
The radishes: In a saucepan, simmer for 1 minute: sugar, salt, vinegar, bay leaves, star anise, coriander seeds and water. Let it cool down. Put roots and liquid in a suitable bag, close it tightly and vacuum cook ‘sous vide’ at 60 degrees for 20 minutes.Cool in a basket or jar full of ice.
The crispy salami:
Cut the salami into 4 mm slices (the ideal is to cut it by machine), Put it in the dehydrator for 8 hours at 55 degrees or until crisp.
The almond foam:
Blend everything together at a cold temperature. Put the liquid in the siphon, where you will leave it at least 2 hours
Put the tartare in the center of the plate and all around the asparagus cut into small pieces. Place the slices of salami (they must look like mushrooms), add the almond foam, surround the plate with the citrus sauce and garnish with herbs of your choice and basil.