Panagiotis Menegos / Grilled Fish with Gremolata
Beginning around 7am, five days a week, Panagiotis Menegos scoots up to the northern suburbs of Athens on his little blue vespa to host a three-hour radio show with his longtime friend, Stavros. Together from their base camp inside En Lefko, one of the more popular contemporary radio stations in Athens, the duo covers news, music, film, and the latest and greatest happenings in the city. They also regularly perform live DJ gigs throughout the year, further solidifying their place in Greek radio royalty.
Panagiotis' second hat is Journalist, specifically, as Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Popaganda; a progressive web-based media magazine covering culture, film, news and reportage, food, events, biographies...the list goes on. Popaganda has emerged as the outlet for progressive audiences in Athens and larger Greece, an impressive feat in a time when media and its consumption are changing at a rapid pace. Popaganda offers an edgier alternative to its competitors in Greece. Whether you're looking for a biography of a local hero, critiques on films new and old, on a path of musical discovery, or just a different perspective on the day's news, it is the go-to source for many Athenians seeking comprehensive, quality content in Greek, beyond the status quo.
This is all to say that Panagiotis is clearly a true creative - DJ, radio host, journalist, and overall curious person - which is what Record in the Den feature pages are all about. Highlighting people who are seeking out exciting corners of life through creative mediums, and inspiring others along the way.
I happen to know that Panagiotis is a fan of my gremolata recipe, which I also happen to know goes very well with grilled fish on a warm summer day. As we scooted on his vespa with a fresh fish in hand, the Athenian summer air breezing beside us made the perfect backdrop to preparing this simple dish. Paired with white wine and good music (not pictured), the combination of bright gremolata atop oven-baked fish is a perfect way to disconnect from the busy devices in our lives and engage our hands and senses with something humbler, to lead your own creative juices to flow in that special Menegos-ian way.
GRILLED FISH WITH GREMOLATA
1 whole medium white fish, (here using local sea bass)
1 medium bunch of flat leaf parsley, medium chopped
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 – 2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium/large ripe lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: This recipe is about tasting along the way. Start with a base and add more as needed to achieve balance. The flavors, and the garlic in particular, will get stronger over time.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Rinse the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a knife, slice into the flesh of the fish on both sides in two places equal lengths apart, about half way between the outer flesh and scales. This will help crisp the skin and evenly bake the fish. Place the fish in a baking dish and season generously with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place 2 or 3 lemon slices into the body cavity of the fish. Cook ~25 minutes until cooked through, then turn the oven to low broil for 3 - 5 minutes to further crisp the skin.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 generous tbsp honey, 1 clove crushed garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, juice of 1 lemon, and ~1/3 c olive oil. Whisk together and taste. Add more honey/oil/lemon as needed until balanced flavor is reached. Remember that the garlic will intensify over time!
Give the parsley a good medium chop including all of the leaves and the thin stems. Mix ~3/4 of the chopped parsley into the dressing mixture, reserving the remaining parsley for later. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 - 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
When the fish is cooked and ready to serve, add the remaining chopped parsley to the gremolata mixture, combine and taste, adding more oil if needed. Top the fish with the gremolata and serve.