Today I want to share a dish that is my own variation of the well-known “Mousaka” dish.
I start with the new ingredient that I add to the dish: apaki, which is smoked pork from the island of Crete.
Apaki is made from lean pork, marinated in pure wine vinegar for three days, and then smoked. It is tender and delicious, the acidity adding to the flavor.
I start the layering of the dish with potatoes, and sprinkle over them chopped apaki. I want the potatoes in order to give sweetness to the flavor and also absorb the liquids of the other layers.
I then add the second layer, which is eggplants, either baked or fried. I do not add any salt.
The third layer is minced meat (half beef, half pork), with herbs (oregano and basil) and small tomatoes from the island of Santorini. I do not add any onion or garlic, as I want to taste the flavors of the meats (minced and the apaki) and the eggplants, without overpowering the dish.
This is the last layer, the eggplants with a bit of grated hard cheese. I personally prefer a rather savory cheese from Greece, called kefalotiri.
Now we come to the second change, I do not add any bechamel, but strained yogurt and a little of grated cheese on top. The historians claim that the bechamel was added to the middle-eastern version of the dish by the Greek chef Tselementes, at the beginning of the 20th century. It makes the dish very rich for my taste. I prefer it with the yogurt.
After baking in a hot (250 C) oven for thirty minutes, the dish is ready. Serve after you let it rest for 15 minutes.
And be generous with the servings, this food rolls!
Enjoy it with a young red wine.