The Ottomans used to say, ‘God had made the earth for their Dominion, and Enjoyment, and the sea only for Christians.’ They meant that while the Turks farmed, herded and won important battles, the Greeks went fishing. This was the simple stew Greek fishermen might make when the boats came in, the Ottoman equivalent ofbouillabaisse.
In An Evil Eye, the cooking of kakavia sparks a discussion of tomatoes, whether they are good for you or not. Unknown to the Ottoman kitchen in 1800, by 1900 tomatoes had got into almost everything, and it is hard to imagine Mediterranean food without them. Which makes me wonder if, in the olden days, fishermen flavoured their kakavia with sour little wild greens picked on the shore instead of tomatoes.
You create a fish stock, gently fry some alliums, and combine them with the fish. It’s catch–of-the- day stuff, with nothing set in stone, but avoid oily fish like salmon or mackerel.
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