Makes 4 to 6 servings
This is an “urban” summer dish in Lefkada, savored in its capital. It calls for the grey mullet, which spawn at the end of summer. The female, called bafa, is swollen with eggs, and the male is at the height of his sperm production—details, granted, that are difficult to appreciate out of context. The secret of this dish is to cook it without water but with a fair amount of olive oil. As the fish simmers, it exudes its own liquid, and as the potatoes cook—slowly and for a long time—the starch in them breaks down, which helps give this dish its final thick consistency.
- Salt to taste
- 3 pounds grey mullet, cleaned, gutted, and cut into 2-inch-wide pieces
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more if desired
- 1 large onion, minced or grated
- 3 to 4 large waxy potatoes, to taste, peeled,
- halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
- 3 large firm, ripe tomatoes, grated
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Salt the fish and refrigerate until ready to use. In a large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over low heat, add the onion, and cook until wilted and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, pour in the tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are about half
cooked, about 15 minutes.
2. Place the fish over the vegetables, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes, until the stradia is a thick, hearty consistency, somewhere between a soup and a stew.