Greek Pantry Essentials
A key ingredient in many Mediterranean cuisines. Cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi, creator of our Greek Vegetable Cooking recipes says Greeks prefer fruity oils because they blend more harmoniously into a dish, while pungently grassy or peppery oils can overwhelm the palate.
Bright-flavored lemons add acidity to Greek veggie dishes in the winter and spring. Come summer, Greeks turn to ripe tomatoes for a similar hint of tartness.
Salted capers are used instead of oil- or vinegar-packed capers. Once well rinsed, they're more complexly flavored and lightly floral than their brined counterparts. "You can use capers instead of salt," Kremezi says.
Used in many dishes for a hit of briny salt, as with capers. Try fruity kalamatas or large green conservolias.
Greek cooking leans heavily on dried and fresh herbs, especially mint. "All the herbs are important because we don't have a lot of spices," Kremezi says.
Yellow Split Peas or Dried Fava Beans
A cheap but highly nourishing pantry staple, legumes are the base for many traditional Greek vegetarian dishes.
"Feta and vegetables are a marriage made in heaven," Kremezi says. The cheese is salty, creamy, and pleasantly sour.
These dried chile flakes come from neighboring Turkey. They deliver mild to medium heat, a little fruitiness, and a hint of smoke.