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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Herbs

In my kitchen, a pound of crab meat can go pretty far. At least two meals. Make the crab filling and use it to stuff fish fillets and to make crab cakes.

Crab Filling

1 pound Lump crab meat
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons seafood (Old Bay) seasoning

Directions

Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, minced garlic, fresh parsley, lemon juice, pepper and Old Bay seasoning.
Stir in the onion, celery and bell pepper. Gently fold in the crab meat, without breaking up the lumps. Set aside one cup of the mixture for the stuffed flounder and reserve the rest for crab cakes.

Crab Stuffed Flounder

Place the fish and sauce over cooked pasta or squash noodles. Serve with a tomato salad to complete the dinner.

Ingredients

2 large or 4 small slices flounder fillets, about 12 oz total
1 cup crab filling
4 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Lemon Cream Sauce, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 8-inch baking dish.
Place the flounder on a piece of wax paper. Arrange the crab mixture lengthwise down the wider section of the fillets. Starting from the thinner edge of the fillet, fold over the long way. Place the stuffed fillets in the baking dish and sprinkle each with cayenne pepper and thyme.

Place a teaspoon of butter on top of each fish fillet.


Bake for 15 minutes.
Make the sauce while the fish bakes. Pour over the cooked fish and serve.

Baked Crab Cakes

Ingredients

Crab Filling from above, about 2 cups
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Add the breadcrumbs to the crab filling and form the mixture into four patties. If you do not want to bake the patties immediately, they can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for several hours or overnight.

Place the patties in an oiled baking dish and place a teaspoon of butter on top of each crab cake. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve with the lemon sauce.

Lemon Cream Sauce

This recipe makes enough sauce for both the stuffed flounder and the crab cakes.

Ingredients

1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

To make the Lemon Cream Sauce

Melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet, add the shallot and cook until softened. Add the cream and remaining ingredients. Whisk until thickened, about another minute or two.

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Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Shallot-Thyme Butter

Steak
2 rib-eye steaks, 6-8 ounces each
2 tablespoons coarsely ground peppercorns
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Shallot-Thyme Butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
5 chive leaves, minced
1 small shallot or half of a large shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Prepare the butter: Mash the butter with a fork, integrating all the remaining butter ingredients. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Prepare an outdoor gas or charcoal grill and oil the grill grates. (You can also use a grill pan to cook the steak. Oil the grill pan after it gets very hot.)

Season the steaks with the peppercorns and salt. Press the mixture into the steaks.

When the fire is ready or the grill pan is very hot, grill the steaks for about 3 minutes per side for rare, and about a minute or two longer for medium-rare to medium.

Remove the steaks to a serving platter and place 2 tablespoons of the butter on each steak. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

Creamed Spinach

Ingredients

4 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and butter, and stir it around so it melts. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the spinach in batches, pushing it down with a wooden spoon to help it wilt. Keep adding more spinach when there is room in the pot.

Cook the spinach until it is wilted, then lower the heat and add the cream and cream cheese.

Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the cheese is dissolved throughout the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Oven-Baked Onion Rings

4 servings

Ingredients

1 large sweet onion – ends trimmed off, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 cups panko breadcrumbs, or more if needed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Separate the onion slices into individual rings. Place the onion rings in a bowl of ice-cold water before coating.

Whisk eggs with cream in a bowl until thoroughly combined; season egg mixture with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Place flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Place panko crumbs in a separate bowl.

Place the onion rings on paper towels to remove extra moisture from the soaking.

Work with one or two onion slices at a time, place them into the bag of flour mix.

Seal the bag and shake until the onion rings are well coated with flour.

Place flour-coated onion rings into the egg mixture, a few at a time, and toss lightly with tongs until coated.

Place rings into panko crumbs and gently shake the bowl to toss the crumbs with the onion rings until rings are coated with crumbs.

Transfer coated onion rings to a large baking sheet; spray rings lightly with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven until the onion rings are tender and crumbs are lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes.


Pacific Dover Sole is a Pacific Ocean flatfish from the flounder family which is found in the waters from Baja California to the Bering Sea. It takes its name from a resemblance to the common sole of Europe, which is called Dover Sole and is usually not available in the U.S.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch lists Pacific Dover Sole from California, US West Coast, and Alaska fisheries as a “Best Choice” selection.

Pacific Dover Sole is a meaty fish fillet with a delicate flavor. When it comes to cooking, simple preparations are best. A classic Meuniere is the usual preparation, but I prefer to make Sole Francaise. Here is my recipe along with some seasonal side dish recipes to round out the dinner menu.

Sole Francaise

Ingredients

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 4-oz sole or flounder fillets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs together with Parmesan cheese Add the flour to a second shallow dish and add the salt and pepper.
In a medium non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and then add the butter.
Dredge the fillets in the flour, coating them on both sides and then dip them into the egg-cheese mixture. When the butter is melted, add the fillets and until browned, 1 ½ minutes.
Turn carefully with a long, wide spatula and cook on the other side for an additional 1 ½ minutes.
Remove the fish to a warmed serving platter.
Add the lemon juice to the pan, and stir to absorb the liquids in the pan. Pour the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

Ingredients

1 bunch thin asparagus spears, woody ends removed
6 very thin slices Prosciutto de Palma
Olive oil
Coarse black pepper

Directions

Bundle asparagus together in small batches ( I made 6 bundles with 6 asparagus in each) and wrap one slice of prosciutto around each bundle.

Place the bundles in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the bundles with olive oil and black pepper. Roast in a 425 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Italian Style Spaghetti Squash

Cook the squash a few hours earlier, so it will be cool enough to handle.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce the squash in several places with a sharp knife. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the squash on top.

Bake for one hour or until the squash is soft and easy to cut with a knife. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until you can handle it.

Cut in half lengthwise and allow to cool some more. Remove the seeds and discard. Scoop out the flesh from the squash and place in a bowl.

Run a fork through the flesh to separate the spaghetti-like strands. Set aside half of the spaghetti squash strands for another recipe.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and sage.

When the garlic begins to sizzle and turns golden stir in the squash strands. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss all together over medium heat until the squash is infused with the garlic, sage and oil, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove to a warm serving dish and serve.


Look for compact heads of cabbage that are heavy for their size. Whether red or green, the leaves should be crisp and deeply colored. Check the stem to make sure it has no cracks around its base. Avoid discolored heads with wilted outer leaves.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Cabbage

Ingredients

1 lb cooked Italian hot (rope) sausage
8 savoy cabbage leaves
2 cups Marinara Sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Oil an 8×12 baking dish.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water or, as I do, freeze the leaves and then defrost them overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the bottom part of the stem on each leaf. Place the leaves on a kitchen towel.

Cut the sausage into 8 equal pieces. Place one piece of sausage on each cabbage leaf. Roll up the leave into little packages. Spread some Marinara Sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and arrange the cabbage rolls in the dish. Cover the rolls with Marinara Sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake the cabbage rolls for 1 ½ hours.

Garlic and Herb Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, or tarragon, or a combination of many
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Bring broth to a simmer in medium saucepan.
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add rice; stir 2 minutes. Add hot broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Turn off the heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Add herbs to the rice; fluff with a fork and serve with the cabbage rolls.

Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Dressing
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Adjust oven rack to uppermost position and heat broiler.
Mix the asparagus with the 1 tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste, then lay the spears in a single layer on a heavy rimmed baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from the heat, shaking pan halfway through to turn spears, until the asparagus are tender and lightly browned 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool the asparagus for 5 minutes and arrange them on a serving dish.
Whisk the shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, mustard, and 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil in small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the asparagus and serve.

 


Fresh asparagus stalks are firm, straight and smooth. They should be a rich green color with a small amount of white at the bottom of the spear. A dull green hue and wrinkles in the stems are an indication of old age. Also look for asparagus that stand up straight–the stalks should not be limp. The asparagus tips should be tightly closed and compact. If possible, buy asparagus that are standing in a shallow bin filled with a small amount of water which keeps the base of the stem from getting dry. There are endless ways to prepare asparagus and here is one of mine.

Asparagus and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 servings

Ingredients

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halve, about 6 oz each
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 slices prosciutto
10 very thin asparagus spears, trimmed – divided
4 large, thin slices provolone cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish with a cover (or you may use foil) or use individual baking dishes.

Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet until very thin. Brush one side with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place two slices of cheese on top of the chicken. Place a prosciutto slice on top of the cheese. Place 5 spears asparagus down the center of the chicken. Repeat with the other chicken breast and roll the chicken around the asparagus to make two compact rolls. Place the rolls seam side down in the prepared baking dish and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cover the dish and return the baking dish to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F. Sprinkle the chicken rolls with fresh chopped herbs before serving.

Sautéed Beet Greens

See Monday’s recipe for Marinated Beets. The beet greens from that recipe are used here.

Ingredients

2 bunches beet greens, stems removed and leaves cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon
Optional garnishes crumbled bacon or feta cheese

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the greens and cook until tender. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Place in a serving bowl and top with optional garnishes, if desired.


Pasta With Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
16 ounces lean ground beef
16 ounces lean ground pork
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
Two 26 oz container chopped Italian tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup heavy cream
Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
Fettuccine, cooked

Directions

Sauté the onion, celery and minced garlic in the olive oil and melted butter over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan for 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add the beef and pork and cook an additional 8 – 10 minutes until meat is lightly browned and no pink remains. add the wine and cook until reduced slightly.

Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and red pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer for 60 minutes then add the cream.

Stir to incorporate and heat through an additional 2 minutes. Serve over cooked fettuccine pasta and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Zucchini Ricotta Tart

Gluten-free pie crusts and pat-in-the-pan pie crusts all work well with this tart recipe.

8 servings

Ingredients

Crust

Pastry for a single crust, homemade or store-bought

Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-large zucchini, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/2 a medium fennel bulb, diced
2 scallions, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
8 ounces ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Crust

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9-inch pie pan.

Place the pastry in the prepared pan and pat firmly onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Flute the edges for a decorative crust.

Bake the pie shell for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove the baked pie shell from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.

Do not turn off the oven.

Filling

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the fennel, scallions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the diced zucchini.

Add the salt and pepper and cook the vegetables for another 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs and cream.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the bottom of the crust and top with the sautéed vegetables. Pour the ricotta mixture over the vegetables.

Place the quiche on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes, or until the center is no longer wobbly and a tester comes out clean.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Makes 12 cabbage rolls.

1 head of cabbage
4 cups cooked rice or 4 cups cauliflower rice (12 oz package frozen and defrosted, works as well)
1 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 teaspoon dried garlic
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Montreal spice
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Cut the core out of the cabbage head and remove 12 outer leaves.

Parboil the cabbage leaves in salted water for 2-3 minutes or until the leaves are slightly wilted.

Drain the leaves in a colander and them place them on a kitchen towel.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, cauliflower rice, onion and garlic. Add in the seasonings and the eggs and mix together.

Use a paring knife and remove about 2 inches of the large vein on the leaves to make it easier to roll up the leaves.

Take a cabbage leaf and place it with the core side towards you. Place a heaping spoonful of the filling in the center of the cabbage.

Rolling away from you, bring the cabbage over the filling, tuck in the sides and finish the roll. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

Heat a large, deep skillet and add 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, add the cabbage rolls and lightly brown them on all sides.

Pour broth over. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Serve with mashed potatoes of your favorite side dishes.


Shrimp Scampi

Be sure to purchase US wild caught shrimp for this dish.

2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
14 -16 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

Heat the butter and oil in a saute pan.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, salt, black pepper, red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook 2–3 minutes or until lightly pink. Turn the shrimp over and cook for another minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest.

Mushroom Risotto

(2 large side-dish portions)

Ingredients

1 cup Arborio rice
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 cup mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan over medium-low heat, to keep warm.

Drizzle the olive oil over the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot, and place it over medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt.

Add the garlic, onion and mushrooms and sauté until all are soft.

Add the Arborio rice and mix to coat with oil, allowing to cook for about one minute.

Ladle 1 cup of chicken stock over the rice, stirring until it is absorbed by the rice.

Continue adding chicken stock and stirring until the risotto is creamy and the rice grains are al dente – soft but a bit firm on the inside.

This will take about 15-20 minutes. Before serving, stir in Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Zucchini with Parmesan

2 servings

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini, washed and trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Then cut each piece in half crosswise for a total of 8 pieces.

Arrange the zucchini in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Lightly brush with the olive oil.

Season with the salt and pepper. Mix the Parmesan and garlic together; then sprinkle over the zucchini.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the zucchini are tender and the cheese is browned.



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