Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Posted in honor of Ev's visit to Crete. From Mrs. Kristalia Psoma of the Exantas restaurant in Crete. I had no mizithra so crumbled 1/2 pound of sheep feta and cut up well-aged queso into cubes. The cheeses went into the food processor and after they were ground well, I added just enough heavy cream to bind them together. It worked great, not only as a binder but added the richness of the cream and moderated the "bite" of the cheese. Don't use the mainland, northern Greek version of mizithra. It's too dry, low in fats, and will not blend into the dish.
- 3 1⁄2 lbs large eggplants, unpeeled
- 2 1⁄4 lbs potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 lb sour mizithra cheese (soft white Cretan cheese)
- 8 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- 8 ounces olive oil
- 3 -4 tomatoes
- all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes into thin rounds and let drain for several minutes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
- Toss potatoes and eggplant with flour.
- In an oiled medium pan, layer half of the potatoes and eggplant.
- Then spread half of the mizithra and half of the mint over the top.
- Repeat the procedure with the remaining potatoes, eggplant and mizithra.
- Top with tomato slices, then spoon on cream and olive oil and about one cup of water.
- Bake for about two hours.
- Serve warm and decorate with remaining mint leaves.
I recently returned from Crete where I twice ate boureki in restaurants. This recipe was as good as the dishes I had there. We used small eggplants as my food processor has a slicing attacher and I was able to put both the potatoes and small eggplants into it. The slicing was finished in seconds with perfect consistency. I weighed my eggplant at the store and found this recipe called for too much. I have a lot of sliced eggplant left over after layering it (which I will turn into another dinner tonight). I think the eggplant and potatoes should be in equal proportion (I was sent a recipe for a twist on boureki from a restaurant in Crete and this recipe also called for equal proportions). I used the sheep milk Valbreso style feta by President. This is the closest I can find to the soft mizithra that I had in Crete and it worked perfectly in this dish. I'm putting this in my keeper file and will make for guests again in the future.
I love the addition of the tomatoes in this boureki. I used a combination of feta and ricotta and sub'd thick yogurt for the cream. I also added garlic and slightly parboiled the potatiooes so I didn't have to add the water and used only a drizzle of olive oil. Instead I added some of the juice from the tomatoes. Despite the changes (which really brought down the fat content),I really think I stayed faithful to the 'soul' of the recipe--and I love it. The mint (fresh from the garden) is such a wonderful flavor here. For me, this is a main dish that is enormously satisfying and quite healthy with the changes noted above. Thanks, QDM!