Friday, September 2, 2022

Riganada from Kefalonia

Food from the Greek island of Kefalonia and the island itself always mesmerized me.

The last time I was there was far too long ago, a little over a decade, but recipes from the island are often cooked in my home, following those given to me by friends and acquaintances who are from Kefalonia.



Pastitsada,stewed meat in tomato and spices, will forever be my favorite Kefalonian dish as well as Kreatopita, a luscious meat pie. Riganada is an appetizer, breakfast, snack which isn’t very well known to people who haven’t visited Kefalonia. Beats the Spanish pan con tomate any time of the day if you ask me.




A dish with Venetian influences, as is the case with lots of other dishes from the Greek Ionian Islands, Riganada consists of toasted or dry, stale bread, grated or chopped fresh tomato, olive oil, a little vinegar and lots of Greek wild dried oregano. I rub a garlic clove on the bread because I’m a garlic fiend, but that’s totally optional. Also, some add crumbled feta (the one from Kefalonia is among the best I’ve ever had) or a different white soft goat’s cheese. Your choice.






Riganada from Kefalonia

Traditionally, Riganada is made with stale, dry bread that is soaked very briefly in water to soften a bit. If your bread is too dry, then you can do this too.

A pinch of crumbled dried summer-savory leaves (throubi in Greek, bonnenkruid in Dutch) to finish the dish, makes it even more authentic, but unfortunately I was out. 




Toasted or stale, dry bread, preferably sourdough, sliced

Garlic clove, peeled

Juicy, ripe, big tomatoes, coarsely grated or chopped

Red-wine vinegar

Greek Extra virgin olive oil

Greek wild dried oregano

Dried summer-savory (throubi in Greek), optional

Feta or another semi-hard goat’s or sheep’s cheese you prefer, optional



Take your bread and rub it on one side with the garlic. Pour a little olive oil on top.

Then add the tomato and a splash of vinegar, and drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle with lots of dried oregano and a little summer-savory if you have it.

Crumble the cheese on top, if using.

Serve, imagine you have the Ionian Sea in front of you, and devour!