Monday, January 20, 2020

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Another Mediterranean dish I love - I make it all summer long, and sometimes even in the winter!
  • 2 pounds large shrimp
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ( if you can get smoked sweet Spanish)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Makes 4 servings but can be doubled!!

Peel the shrimp, or buy already peeled. Mince the garlic with the salt, mix it with the cayenne and paprika, then make it into a paste with the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix the sauce over the shrimp. Let the shrimp come to room temperature while you turn your grill on or use your broiler. Grill or broil the shrimp on each side for 2 to 3 minutes., serve immediately or at room temperature.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Burrata Cheese with Fresh Pesto Drizzle

Burrata cheese has been described as the "Rolls Royce of fresh mozzarella".  I agree, it's a splurge in pocket book and calories, but it's worth it!!  If you can't find it, you can use goat cheese, or fresh mozzarella.

  • 2 cups basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
Combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garlic in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the olive oil and roughly puree. Season with salt to your taste.

Cheese and Pesto
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 16 ounces Burrata cheese
  • 1 cup yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • basil sprigs
  • baguette, sliced
8 Servings.

To assemble the dish combine 1/2 cup of the pesto with the olive oil in a small bowl, Thin with 2 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt. Drain the Burrata, place in a dish. Gently break open the cheese in the middle and drizzle it with the pesto mixture. Surround it decoratively with the tomatoes. Sprinkle sea salt, garnish with basil sprigs and serve with sliced baguette.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salad

Make this salad during July, August, and September, when you can get fresh corn and vine ripened tomatoes. Grilling the corn gives it a smoky, rich flavor. If your vegetables aren’t super-flavorful, you can add basil leaves and Kalamata olives to liven this up.
  • 4 ears white or yellow corn with their husks
  • 4 medium tomatoes, ripe and fresh (this is a summer dish!)
  • at least 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
Grill corn (must be completely covered with husk) over medium heat, turning every 5 minutes, until the outer husk is black and the kernels are steaming and soft to the touch, for about 20 minutes depending on heat. Peel back some of the husk and quickly roast one side of each cob, so that some of the kernels are slightly blackened.

Cool the corn completely, letting it sit in the charred husks to flavor the corn. Remove the husks and remove any corn silk. Note - if you don’t want to grill the corn, just remove husks and silk and boil it in ½ inch water for 5-10 minutes.

Slice the kernels off of the cobs using a sharp knife, and holding the cobs vertically. Chop tomatoes and add to corn kernels. Dress with olive oil and salt to taste. Toss, let sit a few minutes for the flavors to mell, and add more oil and salt as desired.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Oregano Salad

This is one of my favorite Mediterranean salads!  My daughter and her friends (all 21 year old) love it as well. If you happen to have oregano growing in your garden and you are like me, you love Mediterranean cooking and have an abundance of it, this is a great way to use some of it up. And if you love it like we do, you will be looking forward to the new growth. An added bonus, it is believed in the Arab world to strengthen the memory!!
  • 6 cups (about eight 3/4 ounce packages) fresh oregano, stemmed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 15 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ground sumac
  • White onions, halved and thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Arab flat bread or pita for serving
Serves 6.

Combine the oregano leaves, onions, scallions, and tomatoes in a medium bowl.

Whisk the garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice together in a small bowl, and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss, so that all the oregano leaves are coated with the dressing. Season with the salt. Taste, and add more salt or a bit more lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle the sumac over the salad, reserving a bit for the garnish, and toss again.

Transfer the salad to a serving platter, garnish with the onions, and sprinkle the remaining sumac over the onions. Serve immediately, with wedges of  Arab flat bread or pita.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Skirt Steak With Salsa Verde

Skirt steak has so much flavor - if you like beef, this is for you!  It is without a doubt our family and friends favorite. Plan ahead, the steak needs to marinate at least four hours or overnight. The salsa verde can be made ahead. Another reason to love this dish, it can be made ahead of time, all you have to do is grill the meat.

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 Serves 4

Combine the rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic and olive oil in nonreactive medium casserole. Stir well to blend. Place the steak in the casserole and turn to blend both sides with the herb mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Remove the steak from the marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Place on the hottest part of the grill, cook for 3 minutes on one side, then on the other side for 2 minutes.
Let the meat rest for at least five minutes before slicing(on the bias) about 1/2 inch thick.

I like to place the sliced steak on a platter family style, and the salsa verde sauce (recipe below)in a small bowl. Family and friends can help themselves.

Salsa Verde

I have to omit the anchovies for my son and daughter, they haven't acquired a taste for them (yet)! It still takes great, so I don't mind.
  • 1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup capers, rinsed
  • 8 pieces anchovies, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In your food processor, pulse/chop the parsley, basil, mint, garlic, capers and anchovies until roughly blended.
Transfer to a large bowl and add the vinegar. Slowly pour in the olive oil, stirring constantly, add the mustard. Check for seasoning, you might not need salt, just pepper.