Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dakos, part II

Maria V. posted some dakos on her Facebook page the other day and I thought "what better thing to eat on a hot, muggy day when I don't want to cook?" I re-read her post about it, then hopped in the car to get some tomatoes, cucumber and ricotta from the grocery store, since I still had some paximathia (rusks - like hard melba-toast-esque buns) saved, I'd recently bought some (admittedly Canadian) feta, and I always have oregano on hand.

The last time I made dakos, I made them with artisanal rusks from the bakery in my father's home village of Galatas, and they were too hard for my taste. I also used a food processor to pulp the tomatoes for me, and I used crumbled feta alone.

This time, I was determined to do things right. I knew that both feta and ricotta are suggested as substitutes for the incomparable myzithra cheese (which my uncle makes by hand from the milk of his own goats), and I usually choose one or the other in a recipe. But what if I combined the two? That's precisely what I did - I mashed a slice or two of feta with spoonfuls of a similar amount of (again unfortunately Canadian) ricotta, and the result was neither too salty or too sweet (I find ricotta sickeningly sweet), and was thick and creamy. Success!

Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself...we should do things in order.

Mise en place, from left to right, clockwise: Cretan rye rusks, ricotta, English cucumber (garnish), green olives (garnish), sundried black olives (garnish), tomatoes (ignore the garlic), Cretan oregano, feta cheese (centre). There's also some extra virgin first cold pressed Greek olive oil somewhere over there to the right.

So, ingredients:
Rusks (2-4)
Tomatoes (1-2)
Feta (at least one or two slices)
Ricotta (a few spoons full)
Olive oil & oregano to taste
Cucumbers and olives to garnish


Get out 1-2 rusks per person. Mine were large so I should only have done one up, but I chose to do three. I'll eat the left-overs later. I smashed mine up a bit with the butt of a steak knife because I was worried about ruining my dental work biting into a whole rusk if it was still hard. This step is optional.

Now, grate your tomato. I don't have any pictures of the actual grating, because it was messy. You'll be left holding the skin, but that's a good thing because it lets you grate all of the flesh without grating your own!

Doesn't that look awesome! I was worried after the first tomato, but the second one worked out great. At this point I drizzled on some olive oil...

Mmmm, oily.....

Now for our cheese mixture:

I don't know what I should call it: rifeta, ricetta, or fetacotta! As much as I like the sound of fetacotta, I wouldn't go that way I don't think because it would mean something like "cooked slice" in Italian...!

Spread pillowy mounds of "rifeta" atop your tomato purée, drizzle with oil, and crumble some oregano on top. Eat with some cool cucumber and some green or black (preferably Greek) olives on the side. I liked the "eye" Maria gave hers, using an olive, so I gave mine like owl faces (two eyes and a beak) with some dried black olives since dakos is also called "koukouvayia", which means "owl":
   What a cute little family of owls!

I drank a Moosehead Light Blackberry beer, brewed nearby in Saint John NB since it's what's in the fridge right now, but this would be much better with an ice-cold Mythos beer or some ouzo!

Kali orexi!


  1. i want that beer - this is perfect to accompany dakos (wish i were at your place)

  2. I wish I was at your place, with the beer, so we could go swimming after! We're having a heat wave right now but because I have another week and a bit of school left, I can't take time off to go swimming :(

  3. Moosehead blackberry??? that sounds repulsive... mind you regular Moosehead is awful enough :)

  4. Carlos, it's actually not overly fruity (unlike Picaroon's Melonhead - bleh!), and quite refreshing. But I usually prefer something heavier and more flavourful.