Cooking class: Helen of Caesarea
Celebrate the end of summer with Greek-style meze including meatballs, grilled sardines, fish and feta cheese.
Greek Meze at Caesarea's Port Photo: Boaz Lavi
Now is the best time to enjoy the afternoon hours by the beach.
rays are not so dazzling, and their touch is softer. The atmosphere of after the
holidays is more relaxed, and there is no better way to celebrate our
short-but-sweet fall than with a few Greek-style dishes and a glass of an anise
drink on the Mediterranean seashore, much like the Greeks and the
In Greece, meals often begin with small plates of snacks, meze,
which can range from dips and olives to fish and meatballs.
At Helena in
the Port, a restaurant in the old Caesarea port, you can try a selection of
small dishes created by chef Amos Seeon, who loves the Aegean cuisine.
says that the cooking traditions and dining so typical to the area of Greece,
Turkey and Cyprus sometimes differ from each other only by name and thinks this
cuisine is perfect for Israel. In his kitchen, he combines dishes from those
countries and gives them a local twist, adding ingredients that are used in Arab
and Israeli cuisines.
With the backdrop of antiquities on one side and
the blue water of the Mediterranean on the other, Helena in the Port is a great
place to bring guests or enjoy a romantic dinner.
The chef gave us the
recipes for a few of his favorite meze dishes, which are perfect for the end of
KEFTEDES (GREEK MEATBALLS)
These are traditionally
made with lamb or goat meat. The bread helps create a lighter texture, and the
wine adds a nice acidity. Serve with a hot tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes and
garlic, or eat hot straight from the skillet.
✔ 500 gr. ground lamb
thick slices of day-old bread, soaked in water and squeezed ✔ 1⁄2 cup red wine
✔ 2 garlic cloves, minced
✔ 1⁄2 onion, finely chopped
✔ Bunch each mint and basil,
✔ Salt and white pepper, to taste
✔ A little flour
✔ Olive oil for
Mix the ingredients and work until smooth. Create round patties and flour
them lightly. Fry the patties in olive oil until golden. Place on a paper towel
to absorb excess oil. Serve with a lemon wedge.
GRILLED SARDINES IN VINE
✔ 4 fresh sardines, cleaned
✔ 2 garlic cloves, minced
✔ Zest of
✔ 1 Tbsp. chopped marjoram leaves
✔ Young fresh or preserved vine
leaves, soaked in ouzo or arak for 30 minutes If you cannot find young fresh
vine leaves, use the preserved kind, soak them in water, wash, squeeze the water
out and then soak in arak.
Mix together the garlic, lemon zest and
marjoram. Stuff the fish with the garlic mixture. Wrap the sardines with the
vine leaves and roll tightly. Heat a lightly oiled iron skillet or a barbecue
and roast the sardines 1-2 minutes on each side.
Serve with lemon wedges
and tomato sauce or with thick Greek-style yogurt.
✔ 500 gr.
fresh anchovies clean and filleted (If anchovies are not available, use small
filleted sardines or other very small fish)
✔ 100 ml. olive oil
✔ 200 ml. canola
✔ 1⁄2 parsley root, peeled and sliced very thinly. Use a
✔ 1⁄2 cup ouzo or arak
✔ 2 cloves garlic, thinly
✔ 1 bunch thyme
✔ 1⁄2 kg. coarse salt
✔ 1 dried hot chili pepper
the salt evenly on a baking sheet. Arrange the anchovies skin side down on the
salt and leave for 15 minutes.
Turn and leave on the salt for another 15
minutes. Wash the salt from the fish. Layer the anchovies, garlic, thyme and
parsley root in a glass jar. Pour the oils in and seal tight.
next day with tzatziki and black olives.
✔ 400 ml. (2 cups)
thick Greek style yogurt
✔ Bunch chopped mint
✔ 2 cloves garlic, minced
small cucumbers, shredded
✔ 1⁄3 cup ouzo or arak
✔ Salt and pepper to taste
✔ Olive oil
✔ Green chili, chopped
Mix all the ingredients except oil and chili in
To serve, spread on a plate, garnish with olive oil and a little
chili. Serve with bread.
ARTICHOKE WITH FETA CHEESE
✔ 8 artichoke
hearts with the stalk attached. You can use frozen, but try to use fresh
artichokes, which are in season now
✔ 500 gr. kadaif noodles
✔ 100 gr. melted
✔ Feta cheese, use high fat
✔ A few sage leaves
✔ Salt and pepper to
✔ 1⁄2 cup white wine
✔ A few thyme leaves
✔ 2 Tbsp. of olive oil
the artichoke leaves and cook the clean hearts in water with 1⁄2 cup white wine,
a few thyme leaves and 2 Tbsp. olive oil until partially cooked, about 35
minutes, and let cool.
Heat the oven to 180º.
Halve the artichokes
lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through. Fill with the cheese and close,
season with a little salt and pepper. Place 1 sage leaf on each
Mix the noodles with the melted butter and tightly wrap each
artichoke with a thin layer of noodles. Bake on an greased baking sheet until
Serve with lemon wedges.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Helena
in the Port, Old Caesarea.
Helena in the Port serves a la carte dinners,
as well as a tasting menu of seven dishes at NIS 195 per person. The restaurant
is not kosher. Call (04) 610-1018.