Lentils, cuttlefish, and caviar dish by Vassilis Alexiou

In this elegant gourmet recipe by chef Vassilis Alexiou, a spicy, full-bodied Manaki extra virgin olive oil from the Peloponnese in Greece gives a boost to the mild flavors of lentils, cuttlefish, and caviar. The recipe exemplifies this Greek chef’s interest in “waking up” or enlivening a recipe that starts out mild, by adding a bold extra virgin olive oil.

 

Ingredients

30 g (1 ounce) black olives
30 g (1 ounce) onion
30 g (1 ounce) carrot
2 garlic cloves
50 ml (3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for cooking
150 g (3/4 of a US cup or 6.3 ounces) Beluga lentils
1 laurel (bay) leaf
20 ml (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) wine vinegar
1.5 liters (6 cups or 48 ounces) water (with the amount adjusted if needed)
1 cuttlefish (about 350-400 g or 12-14 ounces); squid also works well with this recipe
2 g (1 teaspoon) dry lemon zest
30 ml (2 tablespoons) Manaki extra virgin olive oil for finishing
10 g (2 teaspoons) Kaluga caviar
Dill to garnish

Directions

Olives

Remove the olive pits, then dry the olives in the oven for about 5 hours at 50 degrees Celsius. Allow them to cool, then cut them into tiny cubes.
Beluga lentils
Finely chop the onion, carrot, and garlic, then cook them in 50 ml EVOO at medium-high heat until soft. When they are soft, add the lentils, and cook for a minute. Then add the vinegar. Cook until the vinegar evaporates, then add water and the laurel leaf. Simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes until smooth. Remove the laurel leaf before serving.

Cuttlefish

Cut open the cuttlefish from the bone side, thoroughly clean out the sand and ink, and dry the cuttlefish. Heat a grill pan to 240 to 260 degrees Celsius. Place the cuttlefish on the hot grill pan with a weight on top for 1 minute, then turn and cook the other side of the cuttlefish for another minute. After it is cooked, cut the cuttlefish into small cubes and mix them with the lemon zest.

Montage

Mix the olives and lentils, then place them on a plate. Put the cuttlefish pieces on top of them, then drizzle on the Manaki EVOO. Finally, shape the caviar into two ovals on top of the cuttlefish. Garnish with small bits of dill.


Thanks to Vassilis Alexiou for the photos of this dish, and for permission to share his recipe. You can find out more about Alexiou and his work in another Greek Liquid Gold article, Wandering Greek Chef Finds Many Olive Oils for His Dishes, and on his website, Wander by Paris. Thanks to Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm for organizing the online event about the use of extra virgin olive oil in gastronomy that brought together Alexiou and Greek Liquid Gold.

All businesses, organizations, and competitions involved with Greek olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and/or agrotourism or food tourism in Greece, as well as others interested in supporting Greeks working in these sectors, are invited to consider the advertising and sponsorship opportunities on the Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil website. The only wide-ranging English-language site focused on news and information from the Greek olive oil world, it has helped companies reach consumers in more than 215 countries around the globe.

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