The first Olympic athletes were Greek, of course, but many classic Greek foods have made their way into the new world. Celebrate the origin of the Olympics with recipes based on historical Greek ingredients. These ingredients were the basis of the original Olympian diet, but the recipes are updated.
The olive is native to the Mediterranean, and many of the original winning athletes received prizes of olive oil. Although this dish was created in Mexico by an Italian immigrant, it incorporates three of the classic Greek foods eaten by historical Olympians, namely olive oil, garlic, and anchovies.
The Greeks believed the fig was a gift of Demeter, and made sacred to Dionysus. Cooked figs were used as sweeteners in lieu of sugar in historical times. This recipe uses wine and honey, two other prominent Olympian foods.
Leeks have long been treasured in the Mediterranean area. Aristotle claimed the clear cry of the partridge was due to its diet of leeks. This simple vegetarian dish of leeks and noodles would have been a perfect carb-booster for an early Olympic athlete.
Lamb and mutton were traditional foods in Greece during the time of the first Olympics and remain so today. Roasted garlic, red wine, Greek feta cheese, and Mediterranean herbs are stuffed into a butterflied leg of lamb. The slices make an attractive presentation, and the accompanying roasted potatoes make it a complete meal. Don't be intimidated by the long instructions. Much of it can be done in advance.
Anchovies, capers, and rosemary are native to the Mediterranean and thus very popular in the local cuisine. This quick and easy recipe pulls them all together admirably. If you cannot get brill fish, you can use halibut, turbot, or any thick firm-fleshed white fish.