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Agora-Greek Market Love In Mattituck

August 31, 2015
This is where I squealed

This is where I squealed

My body is very connected to places. Certain areas I don’t vibe with, some, immediately feel like home, or somewhere I instantly have a connection to. The North Fork to me is one such place. There is a quaintness and idyllic countryside meets small town feeling here. With all the vineyards, farm stands, and mom and pop shops, it feels like a bit of a bygone era, and I love it.

Yesterday, we had a glorious day on the North Fork. You know how people always say, the perfect Sunday? This really was. We dashed into little shops, feasted on lobster rolls and fish tacos, and simply drove. Watching the bountiful-colorful farm stands pass us by. On our travels I stumbled on one of the greatest little markets I’ve been to in a very long time. I’m not sure if it’s considered North Fork proper, but is in a little town on the way to Greenport, called Mattituck. It’s a Greek market, where I literally squealed and jumped up and down as a fat kid should when they discover homemade Greek delicacies.

As you may know, I have not been away this summer. Poor me! Life is so hard!!! No luxurious yacht trip. No trip to Italy and the Amalfi Coast. Certainly not Mykonos or any pristine Greek isle. Yet, walking into Agora Greek Market, is like literally walking into a slice of Greece and the Mediterranean. They have blocks of feta cheese. Huge hunks and wedges of so many varieties the cheese monster in me roared from within. We went for French feta, and it is such a creamy variety, it almost tastes like a goat and feta cheese mixed. Mmmmm….They have tons of other pre-made delicacies. Baklava, dolmades, olives, cheese pie, and literally the best spanakopita I have ever had. I know, I feel like I use the terms best ever, over and over here. But, this is literally the best spinach pie I have ever had, and I have eaten thousands!!!! Super flakey phyllo crust, perfect blend of feta meets spinach. With just the right amount of lemon-citrus-tanging up the back of your palate. I literally called the store in my adulation. Nearly weeping tears of fluffy pastry love. If you ever find yourself out East, you must must must check out, Agora. Seriously one of the best little shops/markets I’ve been to in a long time.

This is where I began jumping for joy like the fat kid I am.

This is where I began jumping for joy like the fat kid I am.

I can’t seem to find a website, but here is Yelp link, with phone number/directions etc.

Dinner Party

Zucchini-Wrapped Fish With Capers, Olives and Tomatoes-Best Ever!

August 4, 2014

Zucchini Fish dinner4

This one is served on rice, but I think potatoes are better.

This one is served on rice, but I think potatoes are better.

Zucchinis are in season, but who the hell knows what to do with these boring vegetables? Sometimes, I feel that zucchinis are the honeydews of the vegetable world. Don’t you hate when you get a fruit salad, and it essentially consists of grapes, honeydew and like maybe three pieces of pineapple, if you are lucky? That’s how I feel about zucchini, the kind of bland vegetable nobody knows what to do with so sometimes they just throw it in for filler. Sure, I’ve had some good fried zucchini chips. But, frankly, if you served me a fried monkey turd I’d probably eat it with pleasure, especially if it was salty and served with a side of ranch. But, I digress, back to the topic at hand. The bland vegetable of the season! Well, I’ll tell you what to do with this, wrap your fish in it. That’s right, it makes for the moistess, yummy fish you ever tasted. I go this idea from my most beloved chef, Stefano, at Pepe’s. I texted him yesterday telling him I was going to attempt his recipe, though knew it wouldn’t be as good as his. He told me, “Signora, of course it will be delicious!” He had way more faith than me, but actually, it turned out quite fabulous. It’s sort of like when you wrap fish in parchment, but I actually think it’s better, because when you eat the fish with the zucchini, it really takes away from the “fishiness.” I did yesterday’s recipe in it’s entirety from the farm stand. Served with fingerling potatoes and baby eggplant on the side. The other key to this recipe is definitely the chopped capers and olives on top, the saltiness is key. I did it on the BBQ, but you could do it on a cast iron pan. Essentially, when the zucchini is cooked, the fish is. And feel free to swap fishes. I did a sea bass from Montauk, but I think just about any mild fish would be fantastic!

Zucchini-Wrapped Sea Bass with Capers, Olives and Tomatoes You Will Need:

  • However much fish you decide, if you are making for four, then I’d say four filets. You get the picture.
  • At least two large zucchinis (I almost ran out.)
  • Two ripe tomatoes (preferably ugly or heirloom if you can.)
  • Pitted kalamata olives.
  • Capers
  • 2 Lemons
  • Herbs of your choice (I used some thyme sprigs and lemon balm right on top of the fish.)

Recipe: Peel the zucchini, then if you have a mandolin thinly slice it length wise. (I don’t have a mandolin as I am terrified they will rob me of the tip of my index finger, so just used a large peeler, but it wasn’t as wide as I’d like.) Lay the zucchini slices length wise. Soak your fish. My sister started doing this and it helps to pull away anything gross on there. Then lay your zucchini out like so depending on size of fish. Then sprinkle some of your herbs on top of the fish, and I grated a little lemon zest.

The zucchini can be spread less closely than this picture.

The zucchini can be spread less closely than this picture.

Heat BBQ to 400. Wrap your zucchini around your fish like a present, set aside.

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I would makes sure the ends are covered, not like in this photo, but wrap like this, just get those fish butts.

Chop the tomatoes, plenty of olives and capers and stir all together, feel free to throw some fresh herbs in there too, if you are so inclined. Take the zucchini-fish-wrapped-presents and place on BBQ. My fish fillets were rather thin, so I did mine about seven minutes per side. You could tell the zucchini was done on one side, and so I flipped. The length of cook time depends on what kind of fish and thickness you are using, so use your best BBQ judgment as for time of cooking the fish. Then cook the other side same way until zucchini looks done. Remove and garnish on top with your tomato/caper/olives and douse with tons of lemon, perhaps a bit of salt and pepper. Serve with side of your choice. Yum.

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Here they use caper berries, which could be good, though I recommend capers. Also, this is not nearly enough zucchini wrapping. You want your whole fish totally wrapped in zucchini, I just used this photo because it looked better than mine, and gives you an idea.