Photography Annette Spaan
Yesterday during the hot summer afternoon I heard the cicadas sing while I felt hypnotized by their song. Thinking about something to prepare for lunch, I knew I did not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The tomatoes, warmed and sweetened by the sun, gave me inspiration for a recipe that I decided to share with you. It’s an easy and lazy recipe, just like the sound of the cicadas: Greek crostini with lovely fresh tomatoes, crispy bread, cool salty feta and fresh herbs!!
Before we discuss the Greek crostini, I would like to talk a little more about the Tzitzikia, as we call the cicadas. In Greece we know that summer has arrived, when we start hearing the sound of the cicadas. Their strong noise at the hottest time of the day almost makes you deaf. The hotter the weather, the louder they become. Cicadas are so characteristic of the Greek summer that if one day we can’t hear them, we think that something is wrong.
Trouble with Zeus
In Greek mythology there is a very interesting story about the cicadas that goes like this: In ancient Greece, Io was the beautiful daughter of the king of Argos, and Zeus (God of Gods) fell in love with her. That was not the best thing that could happen to Io as Zeus had a very possessive wife, Hera. After all her troubles with Zeus (I will have to tell you about all that another time) she fell in love with a very handsome young man by the name of Tithonn.
Io being an Immortal God, begged the gods to make Tithonn immortal too, and they did. Zeus owed it to her after all the troubles that she went through because of his love for her. The gods made Tithonn immortal, however Io had forgotten to ask the gods a very important thing: not only to make Tithon immortal, but also to stay young forever.
From immortal to an insect
So Tithonn indeed lived forever but he aged and aged and he became very old. The only thing he always did was talk and talk, like old men that can’t do anything else but complain and talk all the time. Io probably at that point had enough of him (she as a goddess remained young for ever) and asked the Gods to do something about the situation.
Zeus felt pity for him and changed him into that small, loud, constantly singing and very wrinkled insect. An insect whose eggs stay in the ground sometimes for 17 years! The insect then appears on land for a few weeks and in those weeks it has to mate and procreate. Not surprisingly they sing as much and as loud as they can!
To make the Greek crostini, take 4 slices of artisan bread from the day before. If possible, the best way to grill them is on a barbecue. It would be great if you can get some fresh tomatoes, rosemary and oregano. Mix them in a bowl with feta (cut in cubes) and olive oil and season it all with pepper. Put the mixture on the grilled bread with a spoon, top it up with some olive oil, and you are ready to serve this delicious summer food!
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