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Palm Sunday
*Image Credit: Melpomeni Matthews

The Feast of Palm Sunday, commemorates Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the Resurrection of Lazarus, as these two feasts are linked.

Given the global pandemic this year, unfortunately the faithful are unable to attend church where they are normally given bay leaves and woven palm crosses. Many people also believe that bay leaves blessed on Palm Sunday and later burnt could restore health to those that had fallen sick and also safeguard the health of farm animals.

Today on Palm Sunday, Greeks worldwide consume fish, even though it is still Sarakosti (40 days of Lent). Recipe Below.

The Greek Orthodox Church on Palm Sunday allows the faithful to consume fish, oil, and wine but not dairy products, eggs, chicken and red meat.

In Ancient times, on this Holy day, palms were given to people in the shape of the moon, ships, donkeys, but the most common was the Cross. In many places they were also given in the shape of a fish, as fish is seen as one of the earliest symbols of Christianity and the first Christians used the word “IXTHIS” (Ancient Greek word for fish), which is said to be derived from Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

ΙΧΘΥΣ – Ιησούς Χριστός Θεού Υιός Σωτήρ.

Today, children normally sing- «Βάγια, Βάγια των βαγιών, τρώνε ψάρι και κολιό, κι ως την άλλη Κυριακή με το κόκκινο αυγό!»

Palm Sunday

Melpomeni Matthews

Every year for as long as I can remember, Palm Sunday was of great importance to my family. With bay leaves and palm crosses in our hands at our local church we proclaim our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and our readiness and willingness to follow Him in every prayer and sacrament, in every act of love, kindness and mercy.

After liturgy my mother and I always put on a delicious seafood lunch at home for our family. The dish of the day, ‘Μπακαλιάρος με σκορδαλιά’, fried cod with a creamy garlic mash. Traditionally bakaliaros is used, which is  a dry salted fillet of cod, as fresh fish wasn’t always easily accessible. However here in Australia you cannot beat a fresh piece of blue eye cod, one of the finest table fish caught in our southern waters. We have my father to thank for our constant supply of fresh fish to our home, as a fishmonger he always has access to the best.

For all those fasting, today is the day a glorious feast of fish awaits. This recipe is inspired by my family and to be able to use the wonderful organic Ladi Biosas Lemon Agrumato olive oil to complement this dish is an absolute delight.

Palm Sunday

Ingredients:

  • 800g fresh blue eye fillet skin off
  • 5 whole peeled potatoes
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 cup self raising flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
  • 1 cup water approximately
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • lemon wedges to serve

Method:

  1. Begin by placing the peeled potatoes in a pot of cold water with a good pinch of quality sea salt, bring to the boil and cook on medium heat until potatoes are cooked through.
  2. While your potatoes are cooking, portion your cod fillet and season with salt and better. Set aside.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of flour onto a plate and set aside. Add the 1 cup of flour to a mixing bowl and with a whisk add enough water to make a thick yet runny batter. Set aside.
  4. Once your potatoes are cooked, drain and reserve a cup of the cooking water. (Alternatively if you are serving this with greens or wild greens, you can reserve some of this cooking liquid)
  5. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic to a paste, add garlic to your potatoes and mash until no lumps are visible. Switch to a whisk and whisk in olive oil, salt and pepper and then some of the cooking water until a creamy mash is reached. Plate up in a heat proof dish cover and set aside to keep warm.
  6. Heat around one inch vegetable oil in a frying pan and one by one add the fish portions to the flour, dust off and dip and coat in the batter, then fry in the hot oil. Turn the fish to cook on both sides until crisp and golden.
  7. Serve immediately onto a platter with lots of salt and fresh lemon wedges. The creamy mash to accompany the fish should be drizzled with some more extra virgin olive oil.

Palm Sunday

*Recipe and Images Courtesy of Melpomeni Matthews and Grecian Purveyor 

*Melpomeni was named after her beautiful “γιαγιά” (grandmother), and is a second generation Greek, living in Melbourne. Her father is from the Peloponnese and her mother from the Ionian island, Kefalonia, and both have always taught Melpomeni to be proud of her identity and her Greek heritage. She is the oldest of five, and married into a large Greek-Cypriot family, which means her family gatherings are always big and celebratory and involve lots and lots of food. Melpomeni has two amazing children, who both love to cook with their mum at home! Family means everything to her and they’re the ultimate reason Melpomeni loves Greek food, cooking and sharing recipes.
*This recipe is a part of an exciting and ambitious project launched by Grecian Purveyor titled “The Greek Easter Feast”. It’s a celebration of our beloved food culture during the Easter period, with dishes from Corfu to Cyprus and from Crete to Thessaloniki showcasing how to prepare authentic Greek dishes using authentic Greek products. This project which is showcased digitally, encourages Greeks and lovers of Greek food from all around the world who are now stuck at home, to celebrate Greek food culture and make those wonderful dishes at home for their families in these uncertain times.
*This recipe had a little gourmet twist using Ladi Biosas Lemon Agrumato EVOO and Salt Odyssey Fleur De Sel Fine Sea Salt. Check out their gourmet Greek natural and organic delicacies.
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Guest Blogger

This piece was written for GCT by a guest blogger.

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