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Video: Opa! Go Greek on your next burger

updated 8/30/2007 10:42:36 AM ET 2007-08-30T14:42:36

Need to add a little spice to your menu? Jim Botsacos, executive chef of Molyvos, shares his unique, tasty cuisine — Greek style hamburgers with marinated onions, grilled spicy potatoes and peaches and samos wine over Greek yogurt:

Recipe: Bifteki (Greek Style Hamburger, Sumac Marinated Onions, Tomatoes, Shredded Romaine and Tzatziki) (on this page)

Recipe: Grilled Spicy Potatoes (on this page)

Recipe: Grilled Marinated Eggplant (on this page) Recipe: Peaches and Samos Wine - Over Greek Yogurt (on this page)

About Jim Botsacos
Jim Botsacos is the executive chef of Molyvos in New York, New York and the author of "The New Greek Cuisine," which reinvents one of the world’s classic cuisines in 150 recipes that celebrate its fresh ingredients and bold flavors.

Recipe: Grilled Marinated Eggplant

  • 2 Medium Eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch thick disks (7 to 8 slices per eggplant)
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Place the eggplant on a cookie sheet.   Using a pastry brush, lightly brush one slide of the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.   Turn the eggplant slices over and repeat the process.

2. On a grill with medium heat, lay the eggplant down and let grill until the eggplant has grill marks.   Turn counter clock until they get additional grill marks resulting in a diamond pattern.   Let the eggplant cook slowly on grill with the grill lid closed until the eggplant is soft and fully cooked, approximately 8-10 minutes per side. 

3. Once the eggplant is done, lay out the slices on a cookie sheet to cool. 

4. Place the eggplant into a baking dish large enough to hold all the eggplant.   Drizzle with the red wine vinegar, and then sprinkle with the chopped parsley and finish with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the grilled eggplant.

Recipe: Peaches and Samos Wine - Over Greek Yogurt

  • 6 Ripe Peaches, peeled, pit removed and sliced in to 1/4 inch wedges
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
  • 2 cups Samos wine (or Moscato wine)
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 2 Tbs Water
  • 2 Tbs Pistachio Nuts, chopped, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

In a pot over medium high heat, combine the wine, water, sugar and the vanilla bean bring to a boil and lower to a simmer.

Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half then cool to room temperature.   Place the peaches into a non reactive bowl and pour the wine syrup over the top combine and let set 15 minutes.  Reserve until ready to serve.

To serve: Place ¼ cup of Greek yogurt in 6 small serving bowls, equally distribute the peaches with the syrup over the yogurt and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Recipe: Bifteki (Greek Style Hamburger, Sumac Marinated Onions, Tomatoes, Shredded Romaine and Tzatziki)

  • 1 3/4 lb Ground Beef – Chuck
  • 2 tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Greek Oregano
  • 2 Tbs Parsley, chopped
  • 5 Tbs Grated Kefalotyri Cheese
  • 3 slices White Bread, soaked in a 1/2 cup of milk – broken up until milk is absorbed
  • 1/4 cup Onion, finely diced, cooked until soft and cooled
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbs Bread Crumbs
  • to taste Salt and Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Sugar
  • 4 Tbs Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Sumac
  • 3 Red Onions, peeled and julienne
  • 1 Vine Ripe Beef Steak Tomato, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups Romaine, washed, dried and chiffonade
  • 6 7” Round Wrapping Pitas
  • 1 1/4 cup Tzatziki (recipe follows)
  • 2-3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • For Tzatziki
  • 1 Large Hothouse Cucumber, peeled
  • Coarse Salt and Freshly Ground White Pepper
  • 2 cups Greek Yogurt*
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Dill, finely chopped
  • Warm Pita Bread Triangles for serving

1. In a non-reactive bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar and sumac with a pinch of salt.  Whisk together until sugar has dissolved.  Fold in the onions, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, toss to coat thoroughly.  This will help to draw out the moisture from the onions.  Cover let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 2 hours before using.

2. In another non-reactive bowl, place the ground beef, garlic, dry Greek oregano, parsley, Kefalotyri cheese, the soaked bread with the milk, cooked onion, egg and salt and pepper to taste (work thoroughly, with clean hands).  Combine the mixture for approximately 1 minute until well incorporated and slightly sticky add the bread crumbs to tighten the mixture should be moist to the touch.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3. Remove from refrigerator and form six – 5 ounce oval burgers, approximately 6” long and 2 ½ “wide.  Prepare standard gas grill to medium heat or charcoal grill to light ash stage.  Rub the grill with olive oil or non stick spray.  Then brush the burgers with the extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper on both sides.

4. Place on the grill and grill for 2- 3 minutes until grill marks are visible.  Turn the burgers to make cross grill mark, cook for another 2-3 minutes, turn and repeat this process.  The burger will be cooked through and will no longer be pink.  Set aside to rest 1 minute. 

5. Lightly grill pita bread on both sides 1-2 minutes until soft and pliable

To make the sandwich
Put down a ¼ piece of parchment paper, place the warm pita down on the parchment paper, then 2 tablespoons of tzatziki, the Bifteki, top with 3 slices of tomato, 1 tablespoon of marinated  onions, shredded romaine.  Fold over pita and wrap the pita in paper in a cone fashion so that the top half is exposed and serve.

For Tzatziki
1. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth.  Place the colander over a bowl deep enough to catch draining juices without the juices touching the bottom of the colander.  Set aside.

2. Using a box grater, grate the cucumber through the medium holes into a mixing bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and toss to combine.  Transfer the cucumber to the colander and allow the juices to drain for 1 hour.  Pull the cheesecloth up and twist the ends together to squeeze any remaining juice from the cucumber.  Transfer the well-drained cucumber to a clean non-reactive container with a lid.

3. Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint and dill.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

4. Serve chilled with warm pita bread triangles.


Greek yogurt is creamy, thick, and rich.  It is available from Greek markets or specialty food stores.  An excellent commercial brand, Total, is sold in fat-free, low-fat, and whole milk versions in many supermarkets.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Recipe: Grilled Spicy Potatoes

  • 1 1/2 lbs Fingerling potatoes, medium size, washed and lightly scrubbed
  • 3 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Salted butter
  • 1 Tbs Spice Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1 Tbs chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbs Grated Aged Kefalotyri or Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sea Salt to finish
  • Hot pepper mix
  • 1 Tbs Aleppo Pepper
  • 3/4 Tb Dried Greek Oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Grated Orange Zest
  • 3/4 tsp Dried Mint, crumbled
  • 3/4 tsp Dried Basil, crumbled

1. Wash the potatoes and drain in a colander.

2. Take the potatoes and place them in a heavy gauged stainless steel pot topped off with cold water.  Highly season the water with salt.  Place on a medium to medium-high flame, bring to boil, lower to a simmer and cook until fork tender approximately 10 minutes. 

3. Drain and lay out the potatoes on a cookie sheet until cool.  Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half length-wise.

4. Place the potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil season with salt and pepper, toss until thoroughly coated.

5. Place on the grill cut side down, for about 2-3 minutes until lightly charred and then turn over to the skin side for an addition 2-3 minutes until the skin is lightly charred. 

6. While the potatoes are grilling, take the butter and 3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil in a stainless steel bowl and lightly warm that on the burner until the butter is lightly melted and the bowl is warm.

7. Remove the bowl from the flame and add the lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.   Once the potatoes are done, place the potatoes in the bowl and coat with the butter-lemon-oil mixture, then sprinkle in the spice mix, parsley, cheese and lastly the sea salt.

For hot pepper mix
1. Combine the Aleppo pepper, oregano, fennel seeds, orange zest, mint, and basil in a mortar and pestle.  Grind until well blended.

2. Set aside until ready to use.


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