Today I am sharing a favorite, traditional Greek recipe. Another lathero. These days, here in Greece we have been getting very little sleep, what with following all the developments taking place with our economy, so I cook dishes that are very easy, almost requiring no recipe. Just vegetables cooked with olive oil and tomato, that is what a lathero is. This one is called arakas latheros, translated as peas cooked in olive oil. Not only is it easy to make, but it is also a comfort food: cooked vegetables in a rich olive oil-tomato sauce, accompanied with tangy feta and good bread to dip in the yummy juices.
I feel peas are an underestimated food, usually served on the side plainly boiled with a lump of butter on them. However, in Greek cuisine we cook them in olive oil and tomato, along with dill. We also add carrots and potatoes-(today I added only carrots as I did not have any potatoes). This meal of course, is accompanied by feta and bread. Again this is a vegetable based main meal that is characteristic of the Greek diet, not a side dish. So in essence you fulfill almost all your vegetable needs of the day, in just one meal.
Peas although a starchy vegetable, are a good source of protein. Peas are actually considered a legume. Apart from protein it is a great source of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, but also a good source of iron and calcium. In addition peas have high antioxidant activity due to the presence of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
This dish, as with all lathera is consumed at room temperature and tastes better the next day.
Greek Style Peas-Arakas Latheros
- 1 pound peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 potato cut in bite size pieces
- 2 medium grated tomatoes or 10-12 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped dill
- Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot.
- Sauté onions until soft. Add carrots and potatoes and sauté 3-4 minutes more.
- Add peas and heat and mix until all peas are covered in the olive oil.
- Add the tomato, dill, pepper and a half teaspoon salt. Add enough hot water so that the peas are covered just a bit (about ¼ cup).
- Mix well and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until peas are soft and water is gone-they should only be left with the olive oil.
- Serve at room temperature with feta and bread. Add salt as needed.