Ioannina

Freshwater stradi with avgolemono (baked mullet)

Traditional Ioannite baked fish with mullet from the lake.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Freshwater stradi with avgolemono (baked mullet)
Before cooking...

One of the fish in Lake Pamvotida is a freshwater mullet locals call “potamokefalos” (river mullet). The male mullet is called “stiradi” or “stradi,” hence the name of this dish. In the old days, Epirote women baked fish in the “gastra,” a traditional mobile oven. The gastra was a tin dome they put over the fire to heat up. When the fire diminished, they put the baking pan over the coal bed and covered it with the dome. The gastra also had a hoop where they piled ashes to keep the temperature steady until the food was done.

Freshwater stradi with avgolemono (baked mullet)

Ingredients

If you can find freshly fished river mullet, that’s great! Otherwise, you can make the dish with frozen mullet or another fish with similar gastronomical properties.

  • 1 kg freshwater mullet
  • 1 kg potatoes, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ bunch of celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt (to preference)

Execution

  1. In a bowl, season the fish well with salt using your hands.
  2. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 180 °C.
  3. In a baking pan, put the fish, the sliced potatoes, the garlic, the celery, and the parsley.
  4. Cover the pan with parchment paper and tin foil, place it on the middle rack, and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until mixed. Slowly add the lemon juice and keep whisking until the mixture thickens and the avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce is smooth.
  6. When the fish is done, uncover the pan, pour the avgolemono over the top, and serve hot.

It’s inevitable to suppose that slow cooking the fish in a gastra produced far more flavors than quicker modern processes. But cooked right, even in an oven, this hearty mullet dish is one of the most indulging delicacies of the lake-inspired Epirotic cuisine.

After cooking...

Lake Pamvotida, also known as Lake of Ioannina, is one of the oldest lakes in the world; its age is estimated at around 7 million years. To this day, the historical lake remains an everlasting source of life, not just for its fauna and flora but also for those living around it. All it takes is a long walk across the lakeside to become enchanted by the lake’s breathtaking natural beauty and realize its significance to the surrounding land and its people.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...