Fish Athenian Style (Fish Athinaiki) is basically a fish salad with mayonnaise, presented exquisitely and served as a first course or at a buffet dinner.
The Fish Athenian Style used to be an iconic dish of Athenian urban cooking with dozens of variations. It was very popular when entertaining several decades ago, and every good homemaker took care to decorate the fish most impressively. Nowadays, this dish has been forgotten, and most people don’t even know or recall its existence among the other dishes on the festive and holiday menus.
The Fish Athenian Style is an exquisite dish for a New Year’s Eve dinner and other celebrations. My mother used to prepare it when she had invited many guests for a buffet dinner and during the holidays, as this dish can be made one day ahead of time, which is very important when entertaining. Following my family tradition, I have continued making the Fish Athenian Style (Fish Athinaiki) for the same occasions as my mother.
It can be prepared ahead of time, which can be very convenient and help the flavors come together and result in a very flavorful and refreshing first course.
The fish and vegetables are cooked with the custom-made bouquet garni of celery, bay leaves, and dill, along with allspice berries, thus evoking memories and emotions from travel to Greece and tropical places. The pickles and the capers add a tangy, acidic punch with intense summer notes in the Greek islands and the Mediterranean coast. Finally, the thinly sliced cucumber adds a chilling note.
Fish Athenian Style (Fish Athinaiki)
- 1.5 lbs cod filet
- 1 medium yellow potato quartered
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 3 medium carrots cut lengthwise
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2 stems of dill
- 2 bay leaves
- 7 peppercorns
- 5 berries of all spice
- 1 ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 4 oz frozen petites peas
- 8 oz green beans finely diced
- 3 tbsp capers rinsed and chopped
- 2 oz dill pickles finely diced
- 3 Persian cucumbers sliced very thin
- In a medium–large pot, add 5 cups of water, potato, onion, carrots, celery, dill, bay leaves,
- peppercorns, allspice berries. Bring to boil and cook over medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender but not overcooked. With a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and carrots from the pot, reserving the vegetable broth.
- While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, bring to boil 3 cups of water in a medium-small saucepan. Add the peas and green beans and cook for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Strain the peas and beans.
- Bring the broth to boil, add the the fish. Reduce the heat and let the fish simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the fish is cooking, dice the carrots and the potatoes. With a slotted spoon, remove the fish to a plate.
- In a large bowl combine the fish, potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, pickles, capers with ¾ cup mayonnaise.
- Transfer the mixture to a long platter (preferably a fish plater), and create an oval shape.
- Cover the mixture with the cucumber slices, placing them in a way to resemble fish scales. Refrigerate until ready to serve.