In the nineties we went to Crete to celebrate my late grandpa’s 70th birthday. We went to a kinda café-restaurant-ish place in a village he and my grandma had been to before. They instantly recognized him and after some pleasantries and most likely some customary Raki (booze, usually home-made), we decided to have dinner there that same evening. It wasn’t a big establishment. We had to decide what to eat so they could go kill it in time for dinner. You know, that sorta place. We decided on chicken and came back a couple of hours later. I vividly remember two things about that meal.
One. From the start the waiter was a bit… off I guess I’d say. The second time he came in… was he drunk? The third time, yes, decidedly drunk and now he also started to apologize profusely. He couldn’t sing to us you see, “I’m very sorry, I can’t sing for you… I’m so sorry”. After a while we understood that the village was in mourning. The waiter cried and apologized. No singing.
Two. The chicken and rice. Crispy, lemony, wonderfully roasted chicken with some kind of risotto-ish rice. Creamy and lemon-infused. It was all just really, really great.
So, back to Sweden. A bunch of years later, my dad started to make a lemon tasting, greek style chicken thing, but with potato instead of rice. I just assumed that this was a riff on that memorable meal. Turns out, it was from a recipe booklet he got from our part-greek cousins. That doesn’t really matter though. What matters is this: that chicken and potato is the bomb. And, ironically, the star of the show is the potato! Don’t get me wrong, the chicken is great, but I tend to think that roasted chicken can only be that good. The potato though… beyond great.
What’s also great with this dish is that it’s so, so simple. It needs some time in the oven but takes very little time to prepare.