Central Diner offers Greek specialties and traditional diner fare
Central Diner & Grille Moussaka
Traditional Greek Moussaka is a favorite at Central Diner & Grille in Robinson. Chef Nick Voidakos uses fresh ingredients and a layering of flavors to create the rich, tasty dish.
The dish “flies out the door,” says Jennifer Takos, who operates the restaurant with her husband, Dimitri.
Some moussaka recipes use either eggplant or potatoes. The Central Diner version uses both. The béchamel sauce is especially flavorful. The hearty one-dish dinner balances vegetables, starch and meat.
For the meat layer:
2 to 2 1⁄2 pounds ground beef
1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped
1 1⁄2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1⁄2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 fresh tomato, chopped
For the béchamel sauce:
1⁄2 pound butter
1⁄2 tablespoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 quart milk
1⁄2 pound flour
For the vegetable layer:
2 1⁄2 pounds potatoes, peeled, and sliced
Greek olive oil
2 1⁄2 large eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 cup marinara sauce
1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
1 1⁄2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish
To prepare the meat layer: Brown the ground beef in a skillet with the parsley, garlic, green onion, leek and tomato. Set aside.
To prepare the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a pot. Add the nutmeg, eggs and milk. Stir, then carefully add the flour. Stir for about 15 minutes to blend well.
To prepare the vegetable layer: Fry the sliced potatoes in Greek olive oil and drain well; do the same for the sliced eggplant.
To assemble: Heat an oven to 375 degrees. Layer the marinara sauce in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish. Then put down a layer of the prepared potatoes, then a layer of the prepared eggplant, then a layer of the meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the potatoes, eggplant and meat, seasoning the layers with salt and pepper. Once the layers are completed, place the béchamel sauce on top, using a spatula to help the sauce penetrate the layers.
Bake the moussaka for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Slice into squares and garnish with grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese.
Makes about 18 servings.