Μάραθος-Maratho (Fennel) is among the most aromatic herbs of Crete. It is used very often in Greek and Cretan cuisine in order to highlight and give flavorful emphasis to different products, such as snails or cuttle fish. Maratho is mostly known in different cuisines for its very aromatic root, Finokio, which is used in salads. Crete though is one of these places that will give special culinary attention to the greens of fennel more than the root.
Fennel (Foeniculum Sativum) and its dietary properties have been known from antiquity. In Ancient Greece it was considered a therapeutic herb that assisted in problems related to indigestion or the urinary system. Dioskorides suggests that for people that have problems with the urinary system and pee “drop by drop” fennel is a remedy. Fennel is also an antidote to poison from mushrooms. It contains Vitamins A, C and B3, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Here is an easy to make delicious recipe that will satisfy your hunger and culinary curiosity during these fasting days in Crete as found in http://www.explorecrete.com/cuisine/crete-recipes-psoma.htm#marathopita.
3 bunches fennel
Some wild horta (greens) or spinach
2 shot glasses olive oil
½ kilo all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1 shot glass raki
Make pie dough : Mix ½ kilo flour with raki, 1 shot glass olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and some lukewarm water until dough is ready.
Filling: Wash greens and drain well. Then chop and toss lightly with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon oil and 2 tablespoons flour.
Separate dough into small round pieces the size of tennis balls. Make a small cavity in the middle of each and add a tablespoon of filling. Then enclose the filling and work into balls again. With a floured rolling pin, press each ball into a thin round, the size of a plate. Brush each side with olive oil and cook in a stick-free frying pan over very low heat for several minutes on each side until golden brown.
NOTE> In years past, housewives would cook them on a stone or sheet-iron over a wood fire, and accompanying wine was a must.”