These markets happen once a week in most suburbs of Athens, and I can happily spend time wandering around them picking up courgette (zucchini) flowers and cooking them along with courgettes, onions, aubergines (egg plants) lots of garlic, feta cheese and olive oil. I simply put all the ingredients in a baking tray and cook them in the oven on a moderate heat about three-quarters of an hour. The result is delicious.
The tomatoes here are huge and tasty, so you can stuff them with rice or fried minced meat and onions and garlic, place them in a baking tray with a little water and cook for about half an hour to an hour.
The vegetables in the markets are very fresh and I was delighted to get a lot of garlic, plaited together for only a couple of euros. Onions here are usually the red variety, but you can find white ones if you really try – but why would you when the red ones are so tasty?
You can find all kinds of fresh and frozen fish at these street markets, including one of my favourites, red mullet. The whitebait type of fish is very tasty here, although I prefer to eat this at a taverna on a beach.
The other day I was at Glyfada with a couple of friends, sitting at a taverna almost on a beach. We ordered prawns, octopus, mussels and squid, along with a Greek salad (with feta cheese) and I can honestly say, the food there was extremely fresh. It tastes different to the seafood you get slightly further away from the sea, although perhaps that’s just my imagination.
The markets close around three in the afternoon, and what’s left is sold off very cheaply, which is great news for the impoverished people who go to them. There’s nothing wrong with the quality, but the stallholders simply want to sell as much as they can rather than transporting it back to their homes or garages. The fresh produce is much cheaper than you can buy in a supermarket, so these markets are well worth a visit.