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Chef Jonathan Chovancek's Greek Day Recipes

Posted by Kateland Clarke on

If you were watching in awe at Chef Jonathan Chovancek’s impressive looking and smelling food at Greek Day, look no further, you can now make these delicious meals at home!

Preserved fish in the style of ancient Corfu

This is a dish based on an ancient recipe from Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea north of the Mediterranean Sea.


1.5 kg rock fish or ling cod, scaled and cleaned
1/2 cup red lentil flour
Avocado oil for frying
2 cups preserved tomatoes
3 cups olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
20 garlic cloves, cut in 3rds
3 fresh rosemary 
6 fresh bay leaves
Herb salt to season
Red lentil flour

Red Lentil Flour

1/2 cup dried red lentils 
1/2 cup AP flour
2 Tbsp fennel seeds

Add the red lentils and the fennel seeds to a Vita Prep and blitz to a fine powder. Add the flour and pulse to mix. Store in an air tight container. 

Herb Salt

Makes 1 cup

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp red chili flakes

Blitz the herbs and spice in a blender with half the salt until fine. Add the remaining salt and pulse together. Store in an air tight container for 1 up to 1 week.

Season the fish gently with herb salt and allow to stand in the refrigerator 20 minutes to season the fish and pull off excess water from the protein. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. 

Season the fish again with olive oil and herb salt and dredge in the red lentil flour. 

Add enough vegetable oil to a braising pan so that it covers the bottom to a volume of 1/2 cm in depth. Heat the oil to 375F and add the fish, laying the fillets in away from you to avoid flashing. Cook 3-4 minutes per side depending on the thickness until the fish is cooked through. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Add the garlic, herbs, tomatoes and vinegar to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the olive oil and simmer until the garlic is soft. 

Flood the bottom of a casserole dish with the hot sauce. Lay the fish fillets side by side and cover with the sauce. Top with olive oil until the dish is completely covered. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator 3-4 days.


Grilled bone in lamb leg with sweet pepper & onion salad



1 2.5 kg  bone in lamb leg
2 cups salmuera

Rub the lamb with the herb salt and allow to marinate refrigerated overnight or at room temperature for an hour. Before grilling allow the meat to come to room temp.

Grill over medium high heat, turning often and basting regularly with the salmuera. Cook until you have an internal temp of 130F at the thickest point of meat. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving. 

2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
15 cloves garlic sliced

Sweet bell pepper & onion salad with sprouted red lentil - red wheat berry vinaigrette 

serves 6-8


4-6 sweet peppers cut into 1/4 cm rings
2 Serrano chilies, seeds removed and sliced thin
4 -6 spring onions cut into 5mm rings, green tops reserved
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red lentils, soaked overnight
1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight
mint & basil leaves to garnish

Cook the wheat berries and red lentils separately in simmering water until tender. Drain and reserve. 

Combine the vinegars and olive oil and mix well. Add the drained legumes and season with salt & pepper. 

Cut the tops from the peppers and remove the seeds without breaking the round. Slice into 1/4 cm slices.

Season and grill the green tops of the onions and chop very fine. Place the onion rings and the tops into the vinegar mixture. 

Toss the peppers with the dressing last minute and mix in the fresh herbs. Serve at room temperature. 


Greek Kimchi


4 Tbsp salt + 4 Tbsp salt
1L water
1 kg vegetables sliced thin
4 Tbps saltsa kafteri
3 Tbsp sliced garlic
1 bunch green onions, sliced julienne
2 jalapeno peppers sliced thin

Combine all of the ingredients together except the water with the first measure of salt and pack into a clean jar. Pack tightly down and allow to stand as the salt pulls the water from the vegetables. 

Warm the remaining salt in the water to create a brine. You will use this to top up the jar of vegetables until you have completely covered them with brine. Loosely cover the jar and allow to ferment at room temperature for 3-4 days. Keep all of the vegetables packed under the brine and smell and taste daily. once you are satisfied with the funk, refrigerate or cellar for 6 months to a year.

Saltsa kafteri

1 kg ripe tomatoes, cut small dice
1 onion, cut brunoise
1 sweet pepper, cut brunoise
2 jalapenos, cut brunoise
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
2 cloves
5 cloves garlic, minced fine 
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

Cool the ingredients together until very tender. Blitz smooth in a Vita Prep. Season with salt. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.


Grilled & Pickled Octopus 


2 kg fresh octopus
500g kosher salt
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 celery branches
2 carrots
1 red onion, cut into 2 cm thick disks
10 black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
6 bay leaves
1 lemon cut in half


1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red pepper brunoise
1/4 cup celery brunoise
1/4 cup red onion brunoise 

Cover raw octopus in kosher salt and rub viciously into the skin, moving the beast around to get salt in every sucker and crevice. Allow to stand 20 minutes in the salt then rinse the salt off under cold water. 

Put the octopus into a large pot and add the vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 1 hour and remove the octopus and place in a separate pot. Add the vegetables, spice and fruit and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until a knife can be inserted easily through a thick leg. Remove from the pot and allow to cool spread out on a baking sheet. 

Once cool. Trim the legs and cut the head into slices. Toss with olive oil.

Grill the octopus over medium high heat and then toss in the marinade. For even better flavour, grill the vegetables until tender then cut them up. Cool in the marinade in a container which brings the marinade up and over the octopus. 


Ouzo berry pavlova parfait

Makes 6-10 desserts


500ml whipping cream
2 tbsp Orange blossom water

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the orange blossom water and mix gently. Keep refrigerated until needed then layer between components in the glasses. Keep refrigerated until served. 

2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4s
1 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 cloves
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Ouzo

Combine the dry toasted spices with the honey and add the saffron and water. Bring to a simmer and hold hot for 20 minutes covered. Refrigerate overnight then strain the next day for best flavour or strain when ready to use. Pour cold syrup over the berries and allow to macerate covered at room temperature 1-2 hours. 


4 egg whites
1 1/4  cups sugar
2 tsp Ouzu
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch

Whip the egg whites  slowly to obtain a consistent foam. Add the sugar to the whites and gradually increase the speed of the whip until you have stiff peaks. Add the lemon juice and spirit. Beat in the cornstarch. 

Lay parchment on a baking sheet and use a spoon or piping bag to to form 8-12 meringue disks.

Bake in a preheated oven @ 300ºF for 1 hour. After 1 hour shut off the oven and allow the meringues to dry out with the door ajar another hour. The centre should be lightly gooey. Cool on a wire rack. 


To find out more about what Jonathan is up to, keep an eye out for his classes with us here or follow him on Instagram to see what he's cooking.

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