Zakynthos is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands.
Zakynthos is a tourist destination, with an international airport served by many charter flights from northern Europe. The island is beautiful and has some of the most exquisite beaches in Greek territory. The island’s nickname is in Italian: Il fiore di Levante and in English: The flower of the East, given by the Venetians.
After 1185 it became part of the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos under the Kingdom of Naples until its last Count Leonardo III Tocco was defeated by the Ottomans in 1479. The Turkish rule lasted only until 22 April 1484, when it was swapped with the Turks by Venetian secretary Giovanni Dario, negotiator of the treaty of Constantinople (1479), against neighboring Cephalonia and an annual tribute of 500 ducats. From then on Zakynthos remained an overseas colony of the Venetian Republic until its very end in 1797, following the fate of the Ionian islands, completed by the capture of Cephalonia in 1500 and Lefkas in 1684 from the Turks. (Source:Wikipedia)
The cultural influence of Venice (and of Venetian on local dialect) was considerable. The wealthy made a habit of sending their sons to Italy to be educated. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, it was one of the largest exporters of currants in the world together with Cephalonia.
The Libro d’Oro (Italian: Golden Book) was once the formal directory of nobles in the Republic of Venice including the Ionian Islands. In 1542 a Libro d’oro was created also in Zakynthos. In its catalogue one could find prominent members of the local community councils having the right to vote, rich and powerful, large landlords, high ranked militaries and old families some of them coming from the Byzantine Empire.
After the Turkey took control of the Ionian islands all this tradition slowly but steadily started to faint.
In this island there is a particular variety of onion called water onion. It is large, white and sweet. Each balb can weigh between ½ kg. to 1 kg. it is very fragile and has to be consumed soon after its picking.
I found some of these beauties in the farmers market and I brought them home. Last year I participated in a TV show along with a very well known Greek chef. He cooked a delicious chicken with onions and herbs and from then I wanted to make it at home only I couldn’t find the time. Last weekend the time came eventually and I prepared it along with basmati rice. I made a few alterations but I kept the main body of the recipe. It is absolutely delicious.
- 1.400 gr./ 49 oz.chicken breasts, boneless, skinless about 7 pieces (the original recipe called for chicken drumettes)
- 1 zakynthos water onion, chopped ( the original recipe called for 300 gr. shallots)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 7 slices of cheese, any kind as long as it melts nicely
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup Corinthian raisin (original recipe called for blueberries)
- 1 cup white wine (original recipe called for ½ cup)
- 4 tbsp balsamic cream fig flavor (2 tbsp)
- 2 tsp sugar (1 tsp)
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 6 sage leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Salt and pepper the chicken.
- Add the butter and olive oil and saute them in medium high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary and raisins.
- Pour the wine, the balsamic cream and sugar and let them caramelize.
- Lower heat and boil for about 5 minutes.
- Pour everything in a pan.
- Salt and pepper.
- Add one slice of cheese on each chicken piece.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for about 20 minutes.
- Serve with basmati rice or any other side dish of your liking.
- 1.400 γρ. Κοτόπουλο στήθος φιλέτο
- 1 νεροκρέμμυδο, ψιλοκομμένο
- 1 σκελίδα σκόρδου, λιωμένη
- 7 φέτες τυρί που λιώνει
- 2 κ.σ. βούτυρο
- 2 κ.σ. ελαιόλαδο
- ½ φλ. Κορινθιακή σταφίδα
- 1 φλ. λευκό κρασί
- 4 κ.σ. κρέμα βαλσαμικού με γεύση σύκο
- 2 κ.γ. ζάχαρη
- 2 κλων. δενδρολίβανο
- 2 κλων. θυμάρι φρέσκο
- 6 φύλλα φασκόμηλου φρέσκο
- Αλάτι – πιπέρι
- Αλατοπιπερώστε το κοτόπουλο και σωτάρετέ το με το ελαιόλαδο και το βούτυρο.
- Προσθέστε το κρεμμύδι, το σκόρδο, το φασκόμηλο, το δενδρολίβανο και το θυμάρι. Ρίξτε τις σταφίδες και σβήστε με το κρασί.
- Προσθέστε την κρέμα βαλσαμικού με σύκο και τη ζάχαρη, για να καραμελώσουν.
- Χαμηλώστε τη φωτιά και αφήστε να βράσουν, για 5 λεπτά.
- Βάλτε τα σε ένα ταψί ή πυρέξ.
- Αλατοπιπερώστε και βάλτε πάνω σε κάθε κομμάτι κοτόπουλου και μία φέτα τυρί.
- Ψήστε σε προθερμασμένο φούρνο, στους 200°C για 20 λεπτά.
- Σερβίρετε με ρύζι basmati ή ότι άλλο σας αρέσει.