Recipes from Father Epiphanius

Recipes from Father Epiphanius

The famous ascetic from Mount Athos, winemaker, educator and monk Epiphanius Mylopotamsky also wrote a book titled Gastronomy of The Sacred Mount Athos, which has been translated into several languages, including Russian. We’re happy to share some of his original recipes with our readers.


Vegan (Fast)

Hello, all my fellow fans of tasty and healthy food out there. In the Orthodox tradition, Wednesday and Friday are fast days, so I prepared a menu of vegetables dishes for you special for these days. First, I would like to present the main dish, which is hearty enough to be a main course, made from oven-baked potatoes and eggplant. This dish may seem simple, but it doesn’t make it any less delicious.

Recipes from Father Epiphanius

For six portions we need

  • 1kg potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 200g olive oil
  • Salt
  • Sweet paprika
  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Caraway seeds
  • Bay leaf


Peel and wash the potatoes, and cut them into long slices. Lay them out in the baking pan and add chopped garlic, salt, olive oil and all the herbs and spices. Using your hands, mix everything together thoroughly until the oil covers every slice of potato. Then, very carefully add a glass of water to the pan. I recommend you pour from the very corner of the pan, so the water doesn’t wash the spices off the potatoes.

Immediately place the pan in the oven, which has been pre-heated to 250°C (480°F). When the potatoes get their desired delicious color, lower the temperature to 180°C (350°F) and leave them in the oven for another 45 minutes.

Don’t forget that every oven is different! So, it would be good to know all the strong and weak sides of your oven.


For six portions we need

Recipes from Father Epiphanius

  • 10 large eggplants
  • 6-7 onions
  • 250g olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 8-10 fresh ripe tomatoes
  • Fresh mint (10 leaves)
  • 1 shoot of parsley
  • Several leaves of fragrant basil
  • Sweet paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Caraway seeds


Wash and peel the eggplants. Make cross-like cuts in them lengthwise, leaving 1.5-2 cm on each side, so they don’t fall into four parts. Add some salt that isn’t too coarse, and put them in a strainer. Before cooking, wash them again to remove the extra salt, and press them again in the strainer. Why this step? There is a reason for it, and I’ll explain it a bit further down.

Add a large amount of olive oil to your frying pan, and when the oil heats up, fry the eggplants, turning them from one side to the other until the color says cooked on both sides. If we hadn’t strained them before, now the excess moisture would have made contact with the heated oil and exploded out. Use a spatula to remove the eggplants from the frying pan and place them in a row on the baking pan.

Add minced onions and garlic to the saucepan and cook on low heat. When they are slightly golden, pour in a glass of water, add the blended tomatoes, all the spices and herbs, and turn up the heat. Once the mixture begins to simmer, take it off the heat and spread it around on top of the eggplants using a deep ladle. Make sure it covers all the eggplants completely. On top, add the chopped parsley, mint, and basil. Put the baking pan into the oven pre-heated to 250°C (480°F). You can serve the dish as soon as it’s cooked and ready.


Recipe for a non-fasting day

All days except for Wednesday and Friday are non-fasting days. On Tuesdays I love to serve fish dishes. First, we’ll make soup from a fish that lives among stones, and the second dish will be risotto with different kinds of seafood, to show the treasures the sea offers us.


To make eight portions of soup, we need

Recipes from Father Epiphanius

  • 1.5-2kg fish (a type that lives among stones)
  • 5 large potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 3 large carrots
  • 5 lemons
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • A handful of dill
  • Ground black pepper
  • Ground caraway seeds
  • Salt
  • 200-300g olive oil


When I say a «fish that lives among the stones,» I mean types of fish that populate areas close to the shore and rocks. These include, for example, goby, abalone, angler, serranus, pike perch, sea dragon, sea robins, stingray, sea eel, stargazer and many other species. Here, the choice of fish depends on your preferences, region, and climate.

Remove the scales and innards, wash the fish, salt and drain the excess water in a strainer. Peel and wash the potatoes, onions, carrots and celery. Cut all vegetables into small cubes 1.5 x 1.5 cm. Juice the lemons.

Place the whole fish into a saucepan filled with 1.5 liter of water on high heat. Once the water starts to boil, add the vegetables, salt and olive oil.

Leave it to simmer for 25-30 minutes, then remove from the heat. In about 15 minutes, when it cools down, filter it and pour the clear broth back into the saucepan for further use.

Spread the fish and vegetables on a pan to let them cool down faster and get ready for the next step: remove all the bones and fins from the fish. Cut the fish into pieces and, along with the vegetables, put them back in the saucepan with the broth. Put the saucepan back on the burner and leave it to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Before taking it off the heat, add the finely chopped parsley, dill, pepper, caraway and lemon juice. Now our soup is ready. Now it’s time for the second course.


To make five portions of risotto, we need

Recipes from Father Epiphanius

  • 0.5kg rice
  • 0.5kg frozen mussels
  • 0.5kg squid (whole or cut into rings)
  • 0.5kg of frozen shrimp without shells
  • 8-9 chopped green onion stalks (alternatively, 2-3 white onions)
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 200g olive oil
  • caraway seeds to taste
  • 2-3 lemons (for juice)

Defrost and wash the mussels, squid and shrimp. Wash the rice as well. Take a tavas (a clay pot for cooking; or you can use a deep saucepan instead), add the chopped onions and olive oil, and fry over low heat, constantly stirring.

Once the onions are slightly golden, add the rice and stir 2-3 times, without adding water. Add the water a little later (preferably, hot). Be careful with the amount of water, as the success of our dish depends on the rice to water ratio (which should be one part rice for two and a half parts water). Then add the finely chopped dill, salt and caraway seeds (to taste).

Wait until the rice is almost cooked and add the seafood. I can’t stress enough that the seafood should be added at the end of the process, or it will shrink. When the liquid evaporates, take your tavas off the heat, stir everything together well, cover with a towel, and then with a lid. After a while, stir well once again to make sure the rice absorbs all the tasty juices, and then add lemon juice.

I would also like to add that in this recipe, as well as with all other seafood, the key component is how fresh the products you use are.

I hope you enjoy your meal!