Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A True Greek Tradition - Horta

What is "horta"?

In Greek cuisine, Horta (HOR-tah), or "greens" are a common side dish, usually eaten cold and seasoned with olive oil and lemon.  Of course - horta, or 'greens' of this sort are found all over the world, from Africa to the deep-South of the United States.

Greens used range from typical cultivated veggies like spinach, mustard and turnip - to wild plants like dandelion, wild leeks and smooth sow-thistle.

These boiled greens are a staple in nearly every Greek household. These are easy to prepare, super-healthy, inexpensive - and you will really enjoy the clean, pure taste.

Like spinach, boiled greens wilt and reduce when cooked to a fraction of their original quantity. For four ample servings, one would typically boil approximately 3 lbs. of greens. Here's the details of a traditional Greek recipe for horta:

Greek Horta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

• 3 lbs. curly Endive or any leafy green of your choice (Chicory, Chard)
• White vinegar (for adding to soaking water)
• 1 tbsp. salt
• Extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp.)
• Fresh lemon juice to taste (juice of 1 lemon)
• Salt and Pepper to taste


The most important part is your preparation. Wash the greens well before cooking and trim any coarse stems. Discard any brown leaves.

Soak the greens in a clean and rinsed sink with plenty of water - and about a cup of white vinegar. Any sand or residue will sink to the bottom of the sink, while the greens will float on top. Remove the greens to a colander before draining the water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add about a tablespoon of salt to the water. Carefully submerge the greens in the pot and boil for about 20 minutes or until the thickest parts of the stems are tender. Be careful not to over boil.

Drain in a colander and place in a bowl. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper (to your desired taste).

It's your choice! You can serve the greens warm, at room temperature or even cold. They're a very common side dish in real Greek cuisine.

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