Walking on Greek Islands

What is the national dish in Greece?

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The national dish in Greece is bean soup, fasolada, from the ancient Greek word fasalos for beans. Fasolada has been around since ancient times and is classically prepared by cooking beans with tomatoes and carrots. In the past, fasolada was considered a meat substitute for poor people, but today fasolada is popular as a healthy Mediterranean dish, eaten warm and somewhat thickened, with Greek bread for endless dips.

The bean in ancient times may have been a lupine species. The beans grown today, Phaseolus Vulgaris, were introduced to Europe from South America, where they were cultivated by the Aztecs, in the 16th century.

Which bean for fasolada?

Greek bean soup can be prepared with any type of bean (fine, medium, thick, huge, black, red, coloured giants, etc.). Greek beans that come from mountainous areas or from northern Greece, such as Florina, Kastoria, Kozani, etc., are of excellent quality and taste best.

For Greek bean soup, preferably white, medium-sized beans are soaked in cold water for 12 hours and then cooked slowly, gently for about 2-3 hours in the water in which they were soaked. Only from the middle of the cooking time is the salt added. On a low heat, the beans have time to soften without dissolving. Then onion, carrots, celery, chillies, salt and pepper and olive oil are added. Tomatoes are then added. Then let the Greek bean soup simmer until it is as thickened as it should be. On the plate, add some extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of lemon to the Greek bean soup.

Around Greek bean soup it is common to serve a range of salty, spicy, smoky, sour or vinegary starters. Tsiros, smoked mackerel, anchovies, herring, olives, raw onions, pickled peppers and cucumbers.

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