Dionysia: Lesbian Platter

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Lesbian Platter

Greek Branzino, baked under salt, with herbs and olives, served whole, with Lesbian Sougania, tomatoes and clams

Homosexuality probably came earlier than the Greeks, but we did get the word from the Isle of Lesbos, where Sappho lived. But this truthfully is simply a fisherman’s platter with Ancient Greek flair and the Sougania (stuffed onions) are the truly Lesbian aspect. But not gay. Baking under salt is actually ancient Greek though it has recently made a big come-back because of the presentation.

Branzino

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh, cleaned branzino (gutted)
  • a dozen olives
  • a bunch of parsley
  • 1/2 up ouzo
  • the onion middles from the sougania (below)
  • 2 cups kosher salt (really, do not use other types of salt)
  • A dozen clams
  • A few tomatoes

Preparation

  • Stuff branzino with chopped olives, onions and parsley
  • Lay branzino in a baking dish with decent edges to it (like an inch minimum)
  • Cover the branzino in salt, so they’re covered
  • Drizzle the ouzo over the top
  • For the clams, clean by leaving them submerged in cold water for 20 minutes, then take the clams out of the water (do NOT pour the water off, this is the whole trick) and lay the clams with the salted fish or in a second baking dish
  • Rinse the tomatoes and place them near the clams
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Sougania

Ingredients

  • 1 onion per person
  • Rice, or in my case, green wheat (much more legit for 500 BC), already cooked
  • Cumin and salt to taste

Preparation

  • Boil 2″ water in a large pot
  • When boiling, add the onions
  • Cook for about 20 minutes or until beginning to soften, and turn off the heat
  • Leave the onions in the warm water for another 20-30 minutes, then pull out and allow to cool
  • Use a cocktail fork to pull out the centers of the onions – they should come easily, but you make need to pull a few layers out to make a sufficient cavity
  • Stuff with the rice or other grains, sprinkling with salt and cumin
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the rice is toasted and the onion is getting mushy

Plating

I served the salt-baked fish from one piece of bakeware and everything else from a second, which made it easy to break the salt open to get to the branzino. If you use large-grain enough salt, the fish will not be overly salty at all.

Salt-baked fish

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