Fish Athenian Style (Fish Athinaiki) is basically a fish salad with mayonnaise, presented in a very elegant manner and can be 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 housewife took care to decorate the fish in the most impressive manner. Nowadays this dish has been forgotten and most people don’t even know or recall it’s existence among the other dishes on the festive and holiday menus.
The Fish Athenian Style is a very elegant dish for a New Year’s Eve dinner and other celebrations. My mother used to prepare it when she had invited a large number of 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 did.
It can be prepared ahead of time, which can be very convenient but also 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 evoke memories and emotions from travel to Greece and tropical places. the pickles and the capers add a tangy, acidic punch with intense notes of the summer in the Greek islands and the Mediterranean coast. Finally, the thinly sliced cucumber add 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.
Note: can be done one day ahead up to step 5. Steps 6 and 7 need to be done at the day the Fish Athinaiki will be served.