The New Mediterranean Table: Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired by Traditions Spanning Three Continents

The New Mediterranean Table: Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired by Traditions Spanning Three Continents

by Sameh Wadi


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Mediterranean dishes are known for their fresher, lighter ingredients and unique and inspiring spices. The recipes in The New Mediterranean Table are no different, giving readers tons of delicious and one-of-a-kind meals that'll impress everyone at the dinner table.

Sameh Wadi, chef and co-owner of the popular Minneapolis restaurant Saffron and Iron Chef contestant, provides recipes that are simple enough for home cooks but that still represent the flavors and cooking techniques that define the Mediterranean. Recipes include Duck Kefta Meatballs with Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce, Whole Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Ancient Arab Spices, Goat Cheese Manti with Light Herb Broth, and Spanish-Inspired Braised Chicken & Prawns.

These recipes span the Mediterranean—from Lebanon and Morocco to Egypt and Turkey—and everywhere in between, making this cookbook the perfect companion for anyone who wants to explore the region without ever leaving their kitchen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624144721
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 8.05(w) x 10.08(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Sameh Wadi is the chef and co-owner of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge and World Street Kitchen in Minneapolis. Saffron was voted one of "America's Top Restaurants" by Zagat for 2011 and 2012, and "Best Middle Eastern Restaurant" by Bon Appetit named World Street Kitchen one of the "50 Best New Restaurants in America 2013" and named it one of the "33 Best New Restaurants in America 2013." Sameh is the youngest contestant to compete on Iron Chef America and he was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation "Best Chef" and "Rising Star" awards. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Read an Excerpt

The New Mediterranean Table

Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired by Cooking Traditions Spanning Three Continents

By Sameh Wadi

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2015 Sameh Wadi
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-104-1


Small Plates

The recipes in this chapter are about the little bites offered at the start of a meal or gathering. The majority of these dishes are designed for sharing, encouraging you to take part in the communal dining tradition that is customary in the Mediterranean. Several of these recipes are mezze, or pre-appetizers; others are composed salads, appetizers and soups. Seasonal, vegetable-based dishes make up the majority of these recipes. They can be easily adapted into side dishes.

Traditionally, an assortment of these small dishes are served together to showcase contrasting flavors and textures in the beginning of the meal, usually with accompanying beverages. Everyone sits around the table and helps themselves to small bites of whatever they like. Sometimes, people forgo main dishes altogether and make a plentiful meal by combining a variety of these dishes.

Baked Giant Beans with Tomato & Dill

This preparation of giant beans, or gigantes, is Greek in origin. In this recipe they are paired with tomato sauce that is cooked with cinnamon. When cinnamon is used in savory dishes, it gives the dish warmth and depth. The cooked beans can be used in different ways. A crowd favorite at Saffron is the giant beans simply dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, diced shallots and lots of fresh chopped dill.



3 cups (570 g) dried giant beans, rinsed and soaked in water overnight
1 celery stalk
1 handful of fresh dill, thyme and a bay leaf, wrapped into a bundle with kitchen
Sea salt
5 tbsp (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 ½ tsp (3.9 g) ground cinnamon
½ tsp chile flakes
2 tsp (8.4 g) sugar
8 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups (750 g) San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 tbsp (6 g) fresh dill, roughly chopped


1 cup (150 g) cow's milk feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp (57 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (64 g) panko breadcrumbs
Dill leaves, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish


Place the giant beans, celery and herb bundle in a large saucepan, cover by 2 inches (5 cm) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just tender, about 2 ½ –3 hours, adding more water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches (5 cm). Season the cooked beans with a generous amount of salt and refrigerate for 1 hour. They can be reserved under refrigeration for up to 3 days in the liquid at this point.

When ready to use, drain the beans and discard the liquid, celery and herb bundle.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, season with a small amount of salt and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 6–7 minutes. Add the cinnamon, chile flakes, sugar, garlic, tomatoes and chopped dill. Season with salt and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 10 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 425 ºF (218 ºC). In a 13 inch (33 cm) terra-cotta baking dish, mix the cooked beans with the tomato sauce and sprinkle the feta on top. Bake in the upper rack of the oven for about 15–25 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and the cheese is browned. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the butter until it starts to bubble, then add the breadcrumbs and cook over moderate heat, stirring continuously, until they are toasted and have a deep golden color, about 4–5 minutes. Season with salt and top the beans with the breadcrumbs; garnish with leaves of fresh dill and a drizzle of olive oil.

CHEF'S TIP: When soaking beans, use a container that is at least five times bigger than the amount of beans. Forgot to soak the beans? No problem. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with 3 inches (8 cm) of water. Bring them to a boil, turn off the heat and let them stand in the liquid for 50–60 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid, rinse under cold water and use in the recipe as needed.

Carrot Salad with Grapefruit and Charmoula

This recipe is inspired by one of the most popular Moroccan "7 salads," the ubiquitous carrot and orange salad. Here, thinly sliced carrots are paired with grapefruit slices and charmoula. The sweet and tart flavor of the ruby grapefruit balances the earthy and sweet flavor of the carrots while the charmoula gives them a nudge of flavor and some heat. I love serving this salad as part of a large mezze spread for parties or pairing it with a hearty meat stew.



1 ruby grapefruit
6–8 heirloom carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced on a Japanese mandoline
3 radishes, very thinly sliced on a Japanese mandoline
2 tbsp (8 g) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped Maldon salt


1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 ml) grapefruit juice, reserved from cutting grapefruits
2 tbsp (20 g) Charmoula
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt


Using a sharp paring knife, peel the grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith, then cut between the membranes to release the segments. Cut the grapefruit segments in half and squeeze the peel of the grapefruit over them to keep moist.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the grapefruit segments and carrots, reserving the grapefruit juice for the grapefruit charmoula dressing.


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, reserved grapefruit juice, charmoula and olive oil, season with salt and reserve.


Arrange the carrots and grapefruit segments on a large platter or individual plates. Drizzle a small amount of the charmoula dressing on top. Garnish with the radishes, parsley and a bit of the crunchy salt.

CHEF'S TIP: I will be honest with you: I can't bring myself to just serve the carrots thinly sliced. I typically soak them in ice water for an hour to help make them curly and crunchy.

Deviled Eggs with Preserved Tuna and Cumin Salt

Growing up, I loved eating hard-boiled eggs with olive oil and cumin salt, and that's where one of the inspirations for this dish came from. The other came from Niçoise salad, which is one of my favorite lunchtime snacks. The high-quality preserved tuna gets mixed with Niçoise olives, piquillo peppers, capers and tarragon and it tops the egg that gets seasoned with the cumin salt. The olives and capers add acidity and brininess, which balances the richness of the tuna.



6 ounces (170 g) high-quality preserved tuna in oil, drained
1 piquillo pepper, finely minced
6 Niçoise olives, pitted and finely minced
½ tbsp (4 g) finely minced capers
½ tbsp (5 g) finely minced shallot
½ tbsp (7 ml) good-quality red wine vinegar
1 ½ tbsp (23 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Tarragon leaves, as needed for garnish


8 eggs
¼ cup (63 g) mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
¼ tsp mustard powder
2 tsp (10 ml) hot sauce, Frank's is recommended
Pinch of cayenne
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
Spice Salt made with cumin


In a medium bowl, gently toss the preserved tuna with the piquillo peppers, Niçoise olives, capers, shallot, red wine vinegar and olive oil, making sure to leave the tuna in larger chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made a day in advance.


In a medium saucepan, cover the eggs with 1 inch (3 cm) of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain the water and chill the eggs under cold running water in the sink, then peel them under running water and pat them dry with a towel.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks, transfer the yolks to a small bowl and mash well with a fork. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard powder, hot sauce, cayenne and lemon juice. Season with salt and keep mashing until you have a smooth paste.

Season each egg white with a pinch of cumin salt and spoon some of the filling in the middle of the egg white, then top with a spoonful of the tuna salad. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the tarragon leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

CHEF'S TIP: Cut a small sliver off of the bottom of each egg white half, so the eggs can sit on the serving platter without wobbling. At Saffron, we pass the egg filling mixture through a fine-mesh strainer for an ultra-smooth texture.

Charred Fresh Chickpeas with Sea Salt and Lemon

While living in Jordan, I used to go to a street cart in the market and pick up a bush of freshly roasted chickpeas—yes, a bush with all of its leaves and stems. It would be wrapped in a newspaper, sometimes sprinkled with salt, but most of the time not. It was a favorite snack when it was in season. Fresh chickpeas taste nothing like the dried variety, which tend to be nuttier and starchier. Eating fresh chickpeas is a little messy. You pop them in your mouth and eat the green pea inside. The majority of the flavors get soaked up in the pods.


¼ cup (50 g) sea salt
1 lb (454 g) fresh chickpeas, in the pod
Canola oil
1/3 cup (91 ml) fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
Maldon salt, for garnish

Bring a large saucepot with about 4 quarts (3.8 L) of water to a boil, then add the salt. Blanch the chickpeas for about 2 minutes, or until the pods are slightly soft. Drain the water, and dry the chickpeas by patting them with a towel.

Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until smoking; add a small film of canola oil. Working in batches, cook the chickpeas until they start to brown and blister, about 3 minutes. Shake the pan around and continue to cook on high heat until the chickpeas are evenly charred and slightly soft, shaking the pan often. Add the lemon juice and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and garnish with a sprinkling of crunchy salt. Serve immediately.

CHEF'S TIP: The fresh chickpeas can also be roasted in the oven. Just toss them with a little oil and sea salt and roast them at 400ºF (205ºC) until they start to brown, about 8–10 minutes.

Cucumber & Yogurt Salad with Dill, Sour Cherries and Rose Petals

I realize that the combination might seem odd, but trust me, it's delicious and addicting. This recipe is a riff on the Persian yogurt and cucumber dip. I swapped out the traditional raisins for dried sour cherries and the pedestrian walnuts for the more luxurious pistachios.


2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 cups (400 g) Homemade Thick Yogurt, or Greek yogurt
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (4 g) fresh dill, roughly chopped
1 ½ tsp (0.8 g) dried mint
3 small Lebanese cucumbers, finely diced
Sea salt
½ cup (62 g) pistachios, crushed
1 ½ tsp (1.4 g) dried rose petals, crushed
3 tbsp (30 g) dried sour cherries, chopped
Fresh mint and dill leaves, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic with the yogurt, lemon juice, dill and mint. Fold in the cucumbers and season with salt to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with the pistachios, rose petals, dried cherries, mint and dill leaves. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and serve immediately.

CHEF'S TIP: Can't find dried rose petals? No problem! Purchase some organic, non-sprayed roses and hang upside down in a dry, warm place until they are dry. These keep in an airtight container indefinitely. You can do the same with mint if you desire.

Fresh Chickpeas with Cumin Butter

The combination of chickpeas and cumin is classic, and for good reason: it works. Cumin finds its way into many chickpea-based Middle Eastern dishes, from hummus and falafel to chickpea stew; it's everywhere. In this simple recipe, the fresh chickpeas bathe in cumin-spiked butter, giving them a rich and earthy flavor profile.



¼ lb (114 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp (6 g) cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
Sea salt


½ cup (100 g) sea salt
½ tsp (2.5 g) baking soda
2 lb (908 g) fresh chickpeas, in the pod
2 tbsp (8 g) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped


Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, season with salt and mix to combine. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to a month.


Bring a large pot with about 4 quarts (3.8 L) of water to a boil, then add the salt and baking soda. Blanch the chickpeas for about 3 minutes, or until the pod softens up and the chickpeas are softer. Shock the cooked chickpeas in a water bath of equal amounts of ice and water. Once cooled, drain and pick the chickpeas out of the pod, discarding the pods.

Place a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the shelled chickpeas with a few tablespoons (45 ml) of water, followed by the cumin butter; swirl the pan until the butter is melted and fully incorporated into the chickpeas. Garnish with the parsley and serve warm.

CHEF'S TIP: Baking soda helps green vegetables keep a beautiful vibrant color after cooking, but it's not essential to the recipe.

Fresh Figs with Za'atar and Fresh Cheese

Every time I eat a perfectly ripe fig it reminds me of my childhood. Growing up, I had a fig tree across the street from my house in Jordan. I remember sitting up in the tree with my friends, picking and snacking on the ripe fruit. The success of this recipe is all in the hands of the figs; be sure to select ripe figs, because anything else will yield a less-than-stellar salad.


¼ cup (6 g) chervil, leaves
¼ cup (5 g) wild or baby arugula leaves
¼ cup (5 g) upland cress leaves
2 tsp (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
12 medium ripe figs, at room temperature
¼ cup (85 g) Fresh Cheese
Za'atar, for garnish
Aged balsamic vinegar (the good stuff), for garnish
Maldon salt

In a medium bowl, toss the herbs and greens with the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt. Arrange the salad on a platter to form a circle. Cut the figs into rounds and wedges and place them around the greens. Dot the fresh cheese around the figs. Garnish with the za'atar, a drizzle of balsamic, some olive oil and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.

CHEF'S TIP: When buying figs, be sure to pick ones that are soft but not mushy. Ugly ones tend to be the best-tasting ones. They should also have a noticeably sweet aroma.

Fried Artichokes with Tahini "Tarator"

Here, the quintessential Mediterranean vegetable gets a quick braise in a lemon- scented broth and then a light fry. The accompaniment is a tahini sauce that has Turkish roots but is very popular in the Middle East. The sauce also works well with other fried or roasted vegetables and fried seafood.



1 cup (230 g) tahini
1 tsp (4 g) Homemade Thick Yogurt, or Greek yogurt
½ cup (34 g) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup (34 g) cilantro, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
About ½ cup (120 ml) water
Sea salt


1 tbsp (15.6 g) citric acid or ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
12 baby artichokes
Sea salt
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup (240 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (240 ml) white wine, preferably sauvignon blanc
1 lemon, halved
Canola oil, for deep-frying
Cornstarch, as needed
Ground sumac, for garnish
Ground Aleppo chile, for garnish


In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the water, season with salt and stir with a spoon. Slowly add the water while stirring. The tahini will thicken and start to break, then it will magically loosen up as you add more water. The sauce should have the consistency of thick cream. Refrigerate for 10–15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Can be made up to 4 hours ahead.


Excerpted from The New Mediterranean Table by Sameh Wadi. Copyright © 2015 Sameh Wadi. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Small Plates,
Large Plates,
Side Dishes,
The Larder,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews