Ofto Antikristo

Ofto Antikristo (roasted meat around the fire)

Ofto Antikristo is goat or lamb meat. It was prepared by shepherds centuries ago usually in mountain areas. You can find it almost anywhere in Crete nowadays. The traditional way to cook it: the animal is divided into four pieces, every piece is salted and rolled in a wooden skewer. Some shepherds used the antikristo cooking way: they would place stones in square-shape, where they’d set up the meat skewers. In the middle of the square, not too close or too far by it, they would place some dry woods. They would light up the fire so that the meat would slowly be cooked by the flames, taking into consideration the direction of the wind. The meat would be placed all around the square, facing the fire and not on top of it. After 45 minutes, the shepherds would turn over the side of the meat. The secret of this tasty meat is that it is cooked in its fat and with lots of salt. Shepherds used lots of salt in order to regain the lost electrolytes they would lose daily from climbing mountains for their animals to be fed.

In Homer’s Iliad we find the first refer to ofto meat (in the 10th Rhapsody). In other ancient sources we discover that the spears of the warriors were also used as kitchen pears for the lamb meat. In Crete during the Ottoman period they cooked and ate ofto meat half grilled because they feared that the enemy (Turks) would see the fire and go after them.
Ofto or antikristo was mostly common around the villages of Psiloritis Mountain and during the past two or three centuries it can be found anywhere in Crete.