What is “stamnagathi”?

Stamnagathi is a chicory species called “cichorium spinosum”, or chicory of the sea.
It is native species of Crete. It is collected during winter and consumed raw as a bitter salad with plenty of salt and vinegar. In west Crete is eaten boiled or with kid and lemon-juice.

It has been declared as protected. Dioscorides calls it palatable and digestible. Nevertheless, it can be easily grown in gardens that have stony texture.
Its place is on the top of 25,000 different species of the Mediterranean.

Ways to eat it

raw, as a salad with oil and lemon combined with other vegetables such as lettuce, zochios, carrot, onion
boiled, with olive oil and lemon
sauté or braized with tomato

The recipe you are about to taste is saute with tomato and vinegar and I have found it in a magnificent book which is a study on the wild greens of Greece and especially in Crete, of Mirsini Lampraki.
The book is out of print at the moment as far as I know. But I will post you many of its great recipes. Do not worry!!

Stamnagathi or sour chicory of Dioscorides




Stamnagathi or chicory of the sea - the "sour chicory" of Dioscorides
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  • 1 kg stamnagathi
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 3 chopped tomatoes ( or baby tomatoes as I did in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsps vinegar
  • a little sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Wash very well stamnagathi
  2. Chop onions and tomatoes
  3. Cooking
  4. Saute the onions with olive oil (add a little salt in it), until blond.
  5. Add stamnagathi, tomato, sugar, vinegar and the 2 cups of water.
  6. Cover the pot and cook for almost 20'.
  7. Test to see if the stamnagathi is fairly soft and correct the taste with a little vinegar if necessary.
  8. Serving
  9. Serve warm with plenty of freshly ground pepper.