Samantha Ferraro’s fresh and simple dishes make it easy to eat healthy food throughout the week. Enjoy all of the amazing benefits of the Mediterranean diet, no matter how busy your schedule. Lean proteins, bright produce and heart-healthy oil make for light meals full of zesty, aromatic spices that leave you nourished and satisfied.
Try One-Pot Paprika Chicken with Olives and Orzo when you need dinner in a hurryyou’ll be transported by each layer of flavor, with a bonus of quick cleanup. Red Lentil Falafel is a fun, family-friendly meal, and Stuffed Tomatoes with Lamb and Feta make a colorful spread for guests. With so many choices of creative soups and salads, richly-spiced meats, healthy grains and indulgent desserts, cooking the Mediterranean way is a breeze even on your busiest weeknights.
|Publisher:||Page Street Publishing|
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About the Author
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APPETIZERS AND MEZZE
FAST AND FRESH LIGHT FARE
It wasn't until my husband and I visited Turkey and Spain a few years back that we really appreciated mezze and tapas. Mezze and tapas are small plates of appetizers with different textures and flavors, each one more exciting and interesting than the last. Some examples are petite bites of bruschetta, cheese, olives and savory pastry pockets called bourekas. All can be enjoyed as a quick mezze or as part of a Mediterranean breakfast.
I will never forget the times we stood at bars in Spain in front of rows and rows of different small plates. Crostini topped with tomatoes and small bowls filled with fresh seafood were some of my favorite eats.
All of these memories and flavors inspired the recipes in this chapter and are perfect for the quick last-minute get-together or afternoon snack.
Spiced Baked Pita Chips with deep aromatic spices are crunchy and addictive. Add them to salads or make a batch for a quick snack. Savory Cheese-Filled Pastries with Spicy Tomato Herb Sauce are eaten at breakfast in Turkey or can be made ahead of time and easily reheated for a weekday lunch. If you have some last-minute guests and need a quick appetizer, Citrus-Roasted Olives and Artichoke Hearts are easy to prepare with minimal prep time and are always a crowd pleaser.
BEEF AND PINE NUT PHYLLO ROLLS
8 to 10 phyllo rolls
When my husband and I were traveling in Turkey, we ate our weight in their popular savory pastries known as bourekas or boreks. They come in an array of shapes and sizes — some layered and cut into squares or boreks folded into little pockets like the Savory Cheese Pastries here. But it was the cigar-shaped bourekas that intrigued us the most due to their unique and fun shape. Serve them as a quick appetizer or small bite and dip them into Magical Herb Tahini Sauce or Mediterranean Green Romesco.
6 tbsp (90 ml) olive oil, divided
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-size skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil and the ground beef. Use a wooden spatula to break up the meat and cook until mostly cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the shallot and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until both the shallot and garlic soften and turn a light golden color.
Stir in the cinnamon, allspice, cumin, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt, along with the pine nuts and parsley, and sauté everything together. Once the meat is fully cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Turn off the heat and transfer the meat mixture to a bowl or plate to cool down for a few minutes.
Unroll the phyllo sheets and cut them in half horizontally, so you'll have two stacks of square sheets. Place a damp towel over them as you work to keep the sheets from getting dry.
Layer 4 to 5 phyllo sheets on a clean surface and spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 g) of meat filling towards the bottom one-third of the phyllo. Brush the edges lightly with olive oil and roll up the phyllo, tucking in the ends about halfway through and rolling tightly until a long cigar shape forms. Continue with the rest of the sheets until you have used up all the filling.
Place the phyllo rolls on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the remaining olive oil.
Sprinkle the remaining salt, sesame seeds and Aleppo pepper all over the tops of the pastries, and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are lightly golden brown and crunchy on the outside.
Once done, allow to cool for a few minutes and serve with your favorite dip.
TIP: The trick to working with phyllo is to be confident and forgiving. Some phyllo sheets will dry and break, but that is OK, and once they are rolled up no one will know the difference. As you are working with the phyllo, keep the unused pile covered with a damp towel so it won't dry out.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO BRUSCHETTA WITH LABNEH
8 to 10 bruschetta
I can still smell the tomato vines from my grandmother's New Jersey tomato garden. Ever since then, tomatoes have been my candy. I eat them as often as the season allows and keep them as classic as can be. A simple and flavorful bruschetta is quick to pull together and teams up beautifully with tangy labneh cheese. If you can't find labneh, feel free to substitute full-fat Greek yogurt.
1 large baguette, cut into 10–12 diagonal slices
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C) and arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast the slices for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown. You can also grill the bread slices in a grill pan or over an outdoor grill.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Spoon about 1 tablespoon (15 g) of labneh onto each baguette slice.
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, mint, olive oil, vinegar, salt and Aleppo pepper and toss well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the labneh.
Garnish the bruschetta with an extra drizzle of olive oil and fresh mint leaves.
TIP: When heirlooms aren't in season, feel free to use any deep red vine or roma tomatoes. Be sure to store them at room temperature with the stem side down for the best tasting tomatoes.
BAKED FETA TWO WAYS
3 to 4 servings for an appetizer
I couldn't resist sharing a recipe for both a sweet and savory cheese mezze. Feta is a wonderful base for flavorings and pairs beautifully with a touch of sweet honey and fresh herbs or with the classic flavors of tomato, garlic and oregano. Either way, this delectable cheese appetizer is done in nearly 20 minutes with minimal prep time. Serve with Spiced Baked Pita Chips or fresh vegetables.
SAVORY BAKED FETA WITH TOMATO AND GARLIC
SAVORY BAKED FETA WITH TOMATO AND GARLIC
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and add the feta, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, oregano, mint, parsley, oil and vinegar to a 6-inch (15-cm) oven-safe dish. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top of the cheese is a light golden color and the tomatoes have softened and released their juices. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
SWEET BAKED FETA WITH HONEY AND THYME
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and add the feta, thyme, oil, honey, zest and dates to a 6inch (15-cm) oven-safe dish. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top of the cheese is a light golden color and the honey has melted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
TIP: Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of orange zest. The oils in the orange zest will add a deep sweet citrus flavor.
CITRUS-ROASTED OLIVES AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS
4 to 6 servings for an appetizer An appetizer could not get any simpler than this. Mixed olives are paired with strips of citrus peel that, when cooked enough, can be eaten entirely. Serve with Baked Feta Two Ways and Za'atar Flatbread.
16 oz (453 g) assorted olives
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C) and arrange the olives, artichokes, citrus peels and herbs in an oven-safe dish or cast iron pan. Toss to combine and drizzle the top with olive oil.
Bake for 20 minutes until the citrus peels begin to caramelize and become aromatic. Serve immediately garnished with fresh oregano.
TIP: Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin strips of citrus peel.
SAVORY CHEESEFILLED PASTRIES WITH SPICY TOMATO HERB SAUCE
18 pastries and ½ cup (120 ml) of spicy herb sauce
These savory pastries, called bourekas, are found in Turkey and all over Israel. You can find bourekas filled with everything from meats to eggplant to spinach and, my absolute favorite, cheese. Think of this as a savory hand pie of sorts; the vessel can be anything from puff pastry to phyllo. The spicy tomato herb sauce is a boureka's best friend. A fiery condiment called zhoug is full of fresh herbs, spicy chilies and, in my version, a sweet roasted tomato. My advice: Make extra sauce and slather it on grilled vegetables and meats. It will be your new favorite condiment. If fresh tomatoes aren't in season, feel free to substitute ¼ cup (14 g) of sundried tomatoes.
1 whole medium-sized tomato, cut in half and seeded
Place the tomato on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400°F (204°C) for 25 minutes or until softened and slightly charred. Once done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce the temperature to 375°F (190°C) for the pastries.
Once the tomato is cool, remove the outer skin and roughly chop the flesh. Set aside.
For the pastries, unfold the thawed puff pastry sheets and gently roll out the pastry so it's a bit thinner to work with. Use a sharp knife and cut each sheet into 9 equal squares.
In a bowl, add both cheeses and 1 egg, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Place a spoonful of the cheese mixture into the center of each pastry square and seal the edges, forming a triangle. If the pastry is a bit dry, use a wet finger to help seal the edges. Place all of the pastries on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Whisk together the other egg and milk in a bowl and brush the egg wash onto all the pastries. Sprinkle sesame seeds and sumac on top and bake the bourekas at 375°F (190°C) for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and the outside is a nice golden brown.
To make the spicy herb sauce, add the tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, cardamom, allspice, oil, water and salt to a food processor and pulse until it's finely chopped, but not overly pureed. It should be the consistency of a coarse chimichurri. Taste for seasoning and adjust the consistency as needed, adding a bit more water to help it get moving.
Serve the savory cheese pastries with the herb sauce on the side.
TIP: Instead of roasting the tomato, you can grill it for a smokier flavor.
TAHINI TOASTS, ANYWAY YOU LIKE IT
Step aside avocado toast, tahini toast is where it's at. A thick creamy spread made from ground sesame seeds, tahini has a deep nutty flavor and is loaded with protein to keep you fed, fueled and ready to take on the day.
Spread tahini on your favorite toasted bread and top with desired toppings. Here, I have both sweet and savory toasts for your inspiration — but really, just have fun with it.
3 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
SAVORY SPICY TAHINI TOAST
SAVORY SPICY TAHINI TOAST
Spread the tahini on the toast and then top with the harissa. Lay the tomato slices on top and garnish with cheese, mint and a light drizzle of oil.
SAVORY TAHINI TOAST WITH VEGETABLE RIBBONS, LEMON AND ZA'ATAR
In a small bowl, toss together the cucumber and zucchini ribbons along with the za'atar, juice and oil. Spread the tahini on the toasted bread and layer the peeled vegetables on top. Crumble the goat cheese on the top and season with salt.
SWEET TAHINI TOAST WITH FIG AND THYME
Spread the tahini and fig jam on the toast. Lay the fig slices on top and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.
BREAKFAST EGG AND AVOCADO PASTRIES WITH HARISSA SALSA
8 breakfast bourekas and about 1 cup (240 ml) of salsa
There is nothing like a Mediterranean breakfast filled with cheeses, olives, fresh fruit and savory pastries like bourekas. I took inspiration from some of my favorite American breakfast flavors and folded them into a savory pastry to create a sort of mash-up of food cultures, if you will. The paired harissa salsa has all the flavors of common Easy Homemade Harissa Sauce, just chopped up a bit differently into a free-form salsa.
For the breakfast pastries, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over low-medium heat and whisk together the 5 eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and slowly scramble the eggs until gently cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as the eggs are almost done, add in the feta, turn off the heat and fold in. Once done, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Unroll the thawed puff pastry and use a rolling pin to gently roll the pastry a bit thinner. Cut each pastry sheet into four equal squares or 3-inch (7.6-cm) rounds and divide the egg mixture and mashed avocado among the squares.
Fold over the puff pastry, creating a hand pie, and crimp the edges with a fork. Use a small paring knife to cut a small slit on the top of each pastry.
Whisk the remaining egg and brush over the pastries. Sprinkle with za'atar and sesame seeds and bake for about 25 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is lightly golden brown. Allow them to cool slightly before handling.
To make the harissa salsa, add the tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, salt, fresno pepper and cilantro to a bowl and mix thoroughly. For a saucier consistency, use the back of a spoon to gently mash the tomatoes. Serve alongside the pastries.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen"
Copyright © 2018 Samantha Ferraro.
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
Mediterranean Pantry Staples 8
The Spices 10
Chapter 1 Appetizers and Mezze: Fast and Fresh Light Fare 17
Beef and Pine Nut Phyllo Rolls 18
Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with Labneh 21
Baked Feta Two Ways 22
Citrus-Roasted Olives and Artichoke Hearts 25
Savory Cheese-Filled Pastries with Spicy Tomato Herb Sauce 26
Tahini Toasts, Any Way You Like It 29
Breakfast Egg and Avocado Pastries with Harissa Salsa 30
Breakfast Pitas with Lamb, Tomatoes and Feta 33
Steamed Mussels with Tomato and Harissa 34
Pita Nachos with Fried Eggplant and All the Toppings 37
Grilled Za'atar-Spiced Flatbread with Squash Blossoms 38
Quick Pickled Vegetables 41
Spiced Baked Pita Chips 42
Chapter 2 The Main Meal: Easy and Vibrant Mediterranean Dinners 45
Shakshuka with Lamb and Spices 46
One-Pot Paprika Chicken with Olives and Orzo 49
Poached Fish with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Herbs 50
Stuffed Tomatoes with Lamb and Feta 53
Yogurt-Marinated Lamb and Eggplant Kabobs 54
Olive Oil-Braised Chicken with Fennel and Citrus 57
Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini 58
Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Chops 61
Everyday Chicken Shawarma 62
Za'atar Chicken Skewers 65
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Green Beans, Potatoes and Spices 66
Salmon Puttanesca 69
Saffron Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta 70
Chapter 3 Soups and Salas: Flavorful One-Pot Meals 73
Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup with Broiled Halloumi Cheese 74
Turkish Lentil Soup 77
Lemony Chicken Soup with Rice 78
Cumin-Scented Squash and Lentil Soup with Crispy Chickpeas 81
White Bean Soup with Herbs, Lemon and Arugula 82
Creamy Saffron Cauliflower Soup with Paprika Oil 85
Fennel Fattoush Salad with Pistachios 86
Sweet-and-Spicy Chopped Salad 89
Summer Fruit and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Basil Mint Vinaigrette 90
Charred Radicchio Salad with Israeli Couscous and Anchovy Citrus Vinaigrette 93
Chopped Salad with Farro, Crispy Chickpeas and Turmeric Vinaigrette 94
Jeweled Tabbouleh Salad with Couscous 97
Chopped Rainbow Salad with Crispy Lavash 98
Autumn Squash Salad with Figs and Arugula 101
Chapter 4 Vegetables, Grains and Pulses: Effortlessly Healthy and Wholesome Eats 103
Farro Paella with Seafood and Chorizo 104
Unstuffed Grape Leaves 107
Zucchini and Halloumi Rollatini 108
Red Lentil Falafel 111
Turmeric Lemon Couscous with Currants 112
Baked Orzo with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Halloumi 115
Beet-Infused Israeli Couscous with Beet Vinaigrette 116
Basmati Rice with Pistachios, Lima Beans and Dill 119
Roasted Cauliflower with Capers, Almonds and Pomegranate Tahini Sauce 120
Persian Rice with Turmeric and Saffron 123
Leek and Spinach Fritters with Lemon Yogurt 124
Turkish Eggs with Spinach and Yogurt 127
Mediterranean Ratatouille with Pistachio Pesto 128
Deconstructed Baba Ganoush 131
Roasted Turmeric Potatoes with Mint Fennel Slaw 132
Mediterranean-Style Baked Omelet with Potatoes and Lima Beans 135
Harissa-Roasted Butternut Squash with Dates 135
Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas and Garlic Pine Nuts 139
Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Lentils, Fried Onions and Burst Tomatoes 140
Chapter 5 Sauces, Dips and Spreads: Aromatic Condiments to Enhance Any Dish 143
Easy Homemade Harissa Sauce 144
Magical Herb Tahini Sauce 147
Pistachio Pesto 148
Mediterranean Green Romesco 151
Roasted Beet and Yogurt Dip Two Ways 152
Yogurt Feta Dip with Fresh Herbs 155
Persian Style Eggplant and Yogurt Dip 156
Everyday Hummus 159
Cucumber, Yogurt and Mint Dip 160
Mediterranean Chimichurri 163
Blood Orange and Pomegranate Salsa 164
Roasted Red Pepper and Tahini Spread 167
Chapter 6 Sweets and Sips: Light and Fruity Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth 169
Baked Cardamom French Toast with Peaches and Orange Blossom 170
Mini Baklava Bites 173
Fruit Rose Tart with Rose Whipped Cream 174
Saffron-Poached Pears with Cardamom Pods 177
Mini Fig Tarts with Pomegranate Molasses 178
Rose-Saffron Crème Brûlée 181
Tahini Date Bites with Cardamom 182
Citrus Pomegranate Cocktail with Cardamom 185
Muddled Mint and Cucumber Cooler 186
About the Author 189