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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Salad

Though cod is not a fish found in the Mediterranean, Italians consume large quantities of it dried (called stoccafisso), and salted (called baccalà). In Venice, baccalà, creamed and spread on bread, is one of the most common and popular appetizers.
Codfish cakes are traditionally made with salt cod, which needs a day or more of soaking to soften and desalinate the fish. For the most part, though, salt cod has gone out of style, at least in North America. It’s too bad since there are so many wonderful Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French dishes that feature it.

A simple solution is to use a light cure which gives the fish the seasoning it needs. It also helps keep the flesh firm when cooked and gives the cakes a moist texture. See the instructions below.

Sicilian Codfish Cakes

Ingredients

1 lb of cod fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
Olive oil, for frying

Directions

Curing the fish

Season cod fillet all over with the salt and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Boil and mash the potatoes and set them aside.
Rinse the codfish briefly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Cooking the cod

Fill a saucepan with water. Add a thyme sprig and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Carefully slip fish into the water and turn off the heat. Wait 3 minutes and test with a fork; the fish should be just done. Drain fish and let cool, then transfer to a mixing bowl and flake.

Mix the flaked fish, the potatoes, parsley, cheese, garlic, onion, pepper andeggs together well by hand. Form into 4-6 patties and place them on a sheet of waxed paper.

Dredge the patties in panko crumbs, pressing them into the fish cakes. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the fish cakes until brown on the bottom,2-3 minutes and turn the cakes over and fry 2-3 minutes more.

Roasted Butternut Squash Noodles

Ingredients

12 oz pkg. frozen butternut squash spirals, defrosted
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400*.F

Let the noodles drain in a colander and then place them on a kitchen towel. Gently squeeze out some of the water. Toss the noodles with the avocado or olive oil and spread out on a sheet pan in a single layer.

Transfer to the oven, and roast the squash until tender and al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring the noodles halfway through.
Remove the butternut squash noodles from the over and season with salt and pepper.and serve immediately.

Cucumbers in Dilled Sour Cream

2 servings

Ingredients

Half of an English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 whole scallions, chopped
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Directions

Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine sour cream, scallions, vinegar, sugar, and dill in a mixing bowl. Add cucumber slices and toss to coat. Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill for up to one day.

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Salmon Souvlaki with Tzatziki

For 2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
12 oz skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes

Tzatziki Sauce

3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped ( about ¾ cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 scallions, finely chopped
Pita Bread

Directions

Combine lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, parsley, oregano, 1 tablespoon oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large shallow dish. Add salmon; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Place the finely chopped cucumber and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Blot dry on a paper towel.
Combine yogurt, scallions, and cucumber in a medium bowl. Stir in dill, 1 minced garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Refrigerate the tzatziki until ready to serve.

Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high.

Remove the salmon from the marinade and blot dry with a paper towel. Carefully thread the fish onto 2 metal or wooden skewers.

Grill the skewers until seared on the bottom, 5 minutes. Use potholders or oven mitts to turn the skewers over. Continue grilling, turning the skewers as needed, until the salmon is cooked in the center, 4-5 minutes.

Serve the salmon and tzatziki with pita bread.

Greek Salad

Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Salad

4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/4 of red onion, sliced
Half cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, diced
12 kalamata olives
4 pepperoncini peppers
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Pour all the dressing ingredients into a large jar and shake well.
Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend flavors.
Combine the Greek salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Pour half of the dressing over salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired.


Italian Ribeye Steak

The rub adds delicious flavor to the steak.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt Rub, recipe below
2 (10-ounce) ribeye steaks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 thyme sprigs

Directions

Season the rib eye steaks all over with the citrus rosemary sea salt. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until crusty on the bottom, about 4minutes. Turn the steaks over and add the butter, thyme, and garlic to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, basting the steaks with the melted butter, garlic, and herbs, until the steaks are medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer.

Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the meat and serve with the pan juices poured over the steak.

Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt Rub

1 cup of coarse gray sea salt
Grated lemon peel from 1 lemon
Grated orange peel from 1 orange
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

Combine the above ingredients and spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
Let it air-dry for 2 days or dry it in the oven at the lowest oven setting your oven has 2 hours
Store in an airtight container.

Spinach, Tomato, Blue Cheese Salad

Ingredients

5 oz baby spinach leaves
1 large or two small scallions, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1-2 tablespoon Italian vinaigrette

Directions

In a large salad bowl toss together the baby spinach, scallions, blue cheese, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Toss until salad is completely mixed and coated with dressing. If you need more dressing, add just a little bit more.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Breaded Mushrooms

This recipe can be doubled. I like to prepare this recipe earlier in the day and refrigerate the breaded mushrooms until baking time so that the crumbs are extra crispy.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
10 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
2 ½ tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 egg white
10 large white button mushrooms

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees. Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and spray the foil with olive oil cooking spray; set aside.
In a plastic ziplock bag combine the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried parsley. Add the oil and shake.
Place the egg white in another ziplock bag. Add all the mushrooms and shake until all are coated with egg white. Place all the mushrooms in the bag with the crumb mixture and shake.


Place the mushrooms in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the mushrooms.
Bake the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


Panzanella

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small country bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic, grated
11/2 lbs ripe, meaty tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
Half an English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the bread preparation:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad:
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, mint, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Italian Style Grilled Tuna

For 2-3 servings

Ingredients

12 oz fresh tuna fillets (albacore and yellowfin, 1/2-inch thick, cut into serving pieces
1/2 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tablespoon each of coarse salt and coarse black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating the tuna

Directions

Combine the lemon zest, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the tuna fillet and rub the herb and garlic mixture into the fish, coating evenly on all sides. Let stand 10 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan.
Grill tuna steaks 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Serve with the salad.


Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad

Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.

For 2 servings

Dressing
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper

Salad
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

Directions

To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.

To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.

To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Ingredients

6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

directions
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.

Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.


Potato Salad

Ingredients

2 lbs whole small unpeeled red skinned potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/4 cup minced bread and butter pickles
1/2 a large sweet onion finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large pot with a lid. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook the potatoes with the lid ajar until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes into a storage bowl. Add the pickle juice and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so.

Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and taste to see if the salad needs salt. Add black pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator until serving time.

Basic Barbecue Sauce

This is a delicious sauce to have on hand during the summer grilling season. Use it to baste chicken or to top hamburgers and hotdogs right off the grill.

Yield: about 1-1/3 cups.

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Few drops hot pepper sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

 

BBQ Ribs

Prepare the rub and marinate the ribs one day ahead.

Rub Mixture

1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Ribs

1-2 St. Louis-cut spare rib racks
BBQ Sauce, recipe above or your favorite sauce

Directions

Combine the rub ingredients in a small dish.
Prepare the ribs by removing the silver skin or scoring it between the bones on the underside of the ribs.
Place the ribs in a baking dish and coat the sides of the ribs with the rub.
Allow the ribs to sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Roast the ribs, meat side up, covered with foil, in the oven for 3 hours.

To finish on an outdoor grill
When the ribs are done baking, heat the grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack.

Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce and place them on the grill. Grill the ribs, basting with more BBQ sauce and turning occasionally until they begin to char about 5 to 6 minutes.

Cut into serving pieces and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping.

To finish indoors
Remove the ribs from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slather the tops of the ribs with the BBQ sauce.
Return the ribs, uncovered, to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes.

Vegetable Kabobs

For every 2 servings

1 small zucchini
1 small green bell pepper
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian salad vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Cut the zucchini into 6 diagonal slices
Cut the bell pepper into 8 pieces
Place the cut vegetables and cherry tomatoes in a mixing bowl, Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate at room temperature for several hours.

Thread the vegetables on one skewer and the tomatoes on another, Place the skewers on the grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving plate.
The kabobs can also be grilled on a stovetop grill pan.


While many readers are experiencing spring at this time of year, here in the deep south it is summer – hot -90’s already! Here are some ideas for supper when it gets hot in your region.

Sliced Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

2 large slices of smoked salmon per person. Place the slices of salmon on a serving plate.
Sprinkle the salmon slices lightly with fresh lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh dill.

Cantaloupe

Slice or cube a ripe cantaloupe and place in a serving bowl.

Pasta Salad

Ingredients

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional leaves for garnish
½ teaspoon black pepper

Salad

Salt
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
½ cup shredded carrot
3 scallions, finely diced
½ cup finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded

Directions

Cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
In a large casserole dish with a cover, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the hot pasta and mix well. Stir in the vegetables. Cover the dish and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, mix the salad again and garnish with parsley.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

4 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scallion, finely diced
1 tablespoon of finely diced celery
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paprika, for garnish

Directions

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until the water begins to boil, then cover and turn off the heat. Let the eggs rest in the covered pan for 14 minutes, then place in a pan of ice water. under cold water
When cool carefully peel the eggs and gently dry them with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks to a medium bowl, and place the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise (only enough to bind the mixture), mustard, scallion, celery, and pepper, and mix well.
Evenly spoon heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.



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