Sunday, 2 August 2020

Horta.



As an ardant vegetable grower, I have an almost endless selection of leafy greens at my disposal.

The Greek word 'Horta' has various meanings, but probably the best is just plain 'Greens' (A lady in Poros will correct me if I'm wrong). It is also one half of a semi-insulting Greek word for vegetarians, 'Hortafagos', meaning weed-eaters. Horta is in fact perfect for vegetarians, but it is also a standard dish in most Greek restaurants and households.

Originally the ingredients for this dish were collected from the wild. Unfortunately I'm not too au fait with wild greenery, so my own ingredients come from Haddock's. I could gather Nettles, Dandelions, and Sorrell, but I have better things to do.

My own version of Horta contains roughly equal amounts of Cavolo Nero, Swiss Chard, and perpetual Spinach, which are steamed together, allowed to cool, then served with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

This may sound like wartime survival food, but believe me, it is delicious. Just add a Lamb chop, some quality sausage, or freshly grilled fish, and you have a gourmet meal.

The above was eaten last night with some fried smoked sausage and lightly spiced lentils.

38 comments:

  1. That sounds delicious, Cro! I love fresh greens and they're so good for you, too.

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    Replies
    1. You can feel them doing you good. I always feel better after a meal that includes dark green vegs.

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      Delete
  2. Looks like what we are having hot at the moment.

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    Replies
    1. Try this some time, with Lemon and Olive oil; it's surprisingly good.

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  3. Bravo Kro. Ola sosta.
    An excellent explanation of Horta. Couldn't have done better myself.
    And you're right, the word does usually refer to greens from the fields but nowadays many are grown for market.
    In winter the favourite is the dandelion leaf and people will keep secret their picking places. It is not only old ladies you'll see climbing over fences and digging them up, roots and all from amongst the sheep droppings.
    Right now the summer favourite is vlita. Everyone has it in their garden and we get given so many bags of it we have to give it away. Once you've down a bit of vlita seed it comes up summer after summer.
    Roast lamb and vlita for us today, the latter with olive oil and lemon juice just as you describe, all prepared and cooked in the traditional Greek fashion by a very traditional person.
    You would have made an excellent greek, Kro, you landed up in the wrong land.
    Yiasou filé Mou and kalimera to you and yours

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, you don't know how pleased I am to have got it right. I don't know a word of Greek other than to order 'A bottle of Retsina please'. I shall have to look-up Vlita, it sounds just up my street. xx

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    2. I just googled it myself. One it's names is Guernsey pigweed. Doesn't sound very appetising but I can see from the photos it's the right stuff. Pick the small tenderer leaves at the top and it will keep on producing for most of the summer. Does like a lot of water.

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    3. I have a feeling it's what grows all over Haddock's. I was told it was edible.

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  4. Weed eaters, haha. Your meal sounds fine and very healthy in a good way.

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    Replies
    1. A reasonably healthy meal, with just a bit of meat to keep me happy.

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  5. My veg plot is sprouting several unplanned clumps of chard this year, randomly positioned. No doubt seeds survived in the compost. Very welcome though!

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    Replies
    1. Lucky you, I have to sow mine. I'm not really having a good year, my beans, toms, and even courgettes, are not performing as well as I'd like.

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  6. As I have very reduced ability to taste (bouts of flu in 1985 and 2000) so texture is very important to me. I'm sad to say that the greens don't appeal to me at all particularly cold. I like my sprouts and cabbage but I like them al dente.

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    Replies
    1. Cold boiled greens doesn't sound very appealing, but it's the combination of different plants, plus the lemon/oil which makes it special.

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  7. I love all the green leaves. For me they are all very tasty.

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    Replies
    1. Those of us who enjoy such things are very lucky. Those who don't are missing out on very healthy foods.

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  8. I remember Rick Stein in Greece, going with some older ladies to pick greens and cooking with the ladies.
    I will eat and love ( most of the time ) pretty much anything but, as much as I loved school dinners,( I really did. I used to eat everyone’s if they turned their noses up at them !!! )my days in infant school did put me off greens. Boiled within an inch of their lives until they turned yellow and stank the school out, they still linger with me today ! I really must revisit them as I know I would love them. XXXX

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    Replies
    1. I hope you've got your Sprouts on for Christmas. Now is the time; on the slow burner.

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  9. That looks delicious Cro. I've just been gathering green beans and carrots for lunch. I'm roasting a chicken to cheer Kat up.

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    1. My beans have come to a full stop. Hopeless; far too dry. Luckily my lovely neighbour has masses of both beans and toms, and has given me carte blanche.

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  10. It is not easy to buy either cavolo nero or swiss chard here Cro. You need a veggie garden and I haven't got one. But I love all green veg - and always have spinach - almost every day - so easy to wilt it over whatever else one is eating.

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    Replies
    1. No, they are both vegs that one has to grow oneself. They would look nice growing amongst your flowers.

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  11. I love my greens but no lemon juice or olive oil on mine thank you.

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    1. We eat lots of green vegs as salad. Leeks, endive, beans, courgettes, etc, usually end-up tepid with vinaigrette or mayo. Very nice too.

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    2. Hard to imagine eating a leek as a salad.

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    3. Very common here. They are cooked until very tender, drained of all water, then served cold with a garlicky vinaigrette.

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  12. So: WOW! I LOVE fresh vegetables from the hortus - especially French ones (and their sun-ripe fruits! the wonderful tasty tomatoes!) Here in the Netherlands I get most vegetables, but not the French quality.
    But I won't complain: we have wonderful seafood, lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are just back from picking Tomatoes at our neighbour's farm. They are so good; nothing like those tasteless things one buys at the supermarket. We should have some of our own in a few weeks.

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  13. The word Horta is similar to the Spanish word for veg plot - huerta.
    I love spinach but the husband hates it - as he does with most greens. At least I get to eat them all by myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try him this way. You never know, he may suddenly like them.

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  14. The earthy flavours of dark, iron-rich greens make for a true culinary delight and so good for us too.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely YP. We live on the stuff through winter; you can feel it doing you good!

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  15. Greens are good going and good for you.

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  16. All looks and sounds delicious! It may have to be a (wintery-crop) horta dinner here tonight. Monkey see, monkey want!

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    Replies
    1. I have so much Cavolo Nero growing at Haddock's, that we'll be eating it almost every day.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete

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