31 July 2007

Greek Briam

Briam is a summer favourite in Greece that incorporates all the fresh vegetables and herbs from your garden. There are many variations of this dish and it depends on what is available. Briam is a perfect accompaniment to grilled fish or lamb chops, but it also makes a great meal on its own alongside a chunk of feta or manouri cheese. Just add a generous slice of rustic bread and you are set!

When I first arrived on the island of Kea my guest house was just minutes from the Hora. It is a walled city overlooking the Agean Sea where no cars are allowed beyond the parking lot at the base. At the top of the hill there was a little restaurant that had some tables outside and they invited me in to rest. The children were just getting out of school and I watched their happy, carefree faces as they walked by saying hello to their neighbours. I decided on an aromatic vegetable dish which I later discovered was Briam. I have seen a good number of recipes that use over a cup of olive oil. Although this is a traditional way to cook Briam I prefer the less is more concept.

Over the 8 days I spent on Kea at Keartisanal http://www.keartisanal.com/ with Aglaia and Costas we would try many of the wonderful restaurants on the island and in the Hora. So many wonderful meze dishes!!!!

In this heat the gas "barbie" comes in very handy to bake the Briam over indirect heat. It is a dedicated cook that will bake in the kitchen when the temperature rises over 30C.

The photo was taken of a secluded beach which we hiked to and then enjoyed snorkeling and a beach barbeque of freshly caught dish from a fisherman moored in the bay and lamb chops, with the addition of dishes we had made during our cooking class.


1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved lenghthwise then cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
4 medium tomatoes, 2 cut into large chunks, 2 grated
1 large onion, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced
2 artichokes, quartered, trimmed and parboiled (optional)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of water or stock
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
3 tablespoons of dried oregano
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 bunch parsley, chopped (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place all ingredients in a large heavy, shallow baking pan, toss together and bake until tender (about 1 hour), shaking pan occasionally. Resist the temptation to stir the vegetables, as they will turn to mush. Let them caramelize for the best results.

Serves 4 - 6

Serve lukewarm or at room temperature with a big slice of feta or manouri cheese and a generous slice of rustic bread.

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  1. Briam hits the spot in the summer whe nlighter fare is called for...I'll be having some in Greece soon!

  2. I am so jeolous that you will be having all the wonderful Greek foods in Greece. Enjoy your holiday immensely!!!!

  3. This sounds really good. I promise that when I make it I will resist the temptation to stir the vegetables. I recently discovered manouri and like it a lot: I use it to season pasta, together with cherry tomatoes and basil. Oh, so Mediterranean!


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