The people of the legendary island of Crete live a lot, it is a fact. There are many reasons that contribute to this longevity, eating habits are one of them.
The Cretan diet is rich in olive oil. But Cretans are not the only people eating a lot of olive oil. So what is their secret? Well the secret is found in what Cretans eat the olive oil with and the answer is “whatever is green”.
During the years of the Ottoman occupation, the Turcs have treated the inhabitants of the island quite roughly. They forced them to starvation because they confiscated all of the available grain of the island. Like in many other parts of the world, the amazing descendants of Zeus (the God of Gods was raised on the beautiful island where the European civilisation was founded) the Cretans, decided to face the challenge and started eating whatever grew on the island.
The island of Crete is rich in wild herbs. The Ottoman greediness was the reason of the invention of an extremely nourishing diet and the origin of the Cretan longevity. So this historical event is the literal representation of “what does not kill you makes you stronger”.
Cretans eat plenty of leafy greens. I have been living all around the globe, from Vietnam to USA and I have always bought and boiled whatever green I found in local markets. In green I trust.
At this time of my life I am in Bangkok, here I can find a variety of local greens. One that I favour a lot is the Chinese spinach. It is very close to the taste of a summer green vegetable that is called “vlita” in Greek.
My father’s mother, unlike other housewives, used to boil her greens with tomatoes. The tomatoes give a sweet flavour to the otherwise bitter greens and bring balance to the dish.
We eat this dish for lunch or dinner as a salad. It is super easy to prepare and you will do your body a favour to try it.
If you wish to enjoy this dish follow the instructions below.
- 500 gr of cleaned Chinese spinach
- 200 gr tomatoes
- extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete
- clean the Chinese spinach and cut off the rough edges, if any
- Put the Chinese spinach and the tomatoes in a large pan and boil in medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
- Your dish is ready. Serve with lots of extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete, salt and lemon juice.
An olive oil that compliments the taste of the green leaves without masking their taste is GAEA from Sitia. If not available where you live, any Greek extra virgin olive oil with acidity of less than 0.08% will be appropriate.