Culture . Tradition

Food & Drink: Cretan “salad” Dakos, also called Koukouvagia (greek: owl)

Recipe: Cretan dakos
Dakos is a nutritious Cretan "salad", refreshing and also perfectly adequate for lunch on hot summer days
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A Cretan Dakos, also called Koukouvagia (Greek: owl), is a nutritious Cretan “salad”, refreshing and also perfectly adequate for lunch on hot summer days. Yes, and the most important ….. it tastes delicious!

And here the so simple preparation of the Cretan Dakos

You need 1-2 pieces barley rusks which should look as shown in the picture (concerning the thickness ), 1 ripe large freshly grated tomato, a little tap water, olive oil, salt, pepper, and of course one portion of cheese. The original cheese used for a Dakos is the local Mizithra cheese, which can be replaced easily by Feta cheese.Recipe: Cretan dakos
Preparation: hold the rusks briefly under the running cold water tap (you have to soften the rusk a bit) and put it on a plate. Then rub the sun-ripened, large tomato directly over the rusks and round taste up with a little salt and pepper on. The cheese is placed decoratively as a kind of crown around it, and finally comes the olive oil all over it (the quantity is up to taste).
(note: please serve the Dakos immediately, because otherwise the water totally soaks the rusks)

This is a Cretan Dakos how it is served in tavernas. There are of course numerous variations for your personal use.

  • My Dakos necessarily include a few olives and cucumber slices decorated on the plate, oh and fresh shallots should not be missed. Even dried oregano fits wonderfully. No limit to imagination.
Why is Dakos also called Koukouvagia?

The term “Koukouvagia” has its origins to a pub that existed in the post-war years, about 1950, on the outskirts of Rethymnon. Here, the men found everything their heart desired: tobacco, card games and women. In order to keep its customers at forces, the bar owner (it is said his name was Koukouvagias) served round barley rusks with all the above mentioned ingredients. Others claim that there were many owls around the pub. The fact is that the name Koukouvagia remains until today for the spherical round Dakos.

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