Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sauces

I served the grilled swordfish with a green bean salad and a Caprese salad.

For two servings

Ingredients

Dressing
1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Fish
Olive oil
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
One – 12-ounce skinless swordfish fillet (sustainable)

Directions

For the dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil, basil, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside.

For the fish
Brush the fish with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Press the panko crumbs onto one side of the fish.

Outdoor grill
Heat an outdoor grill to medium. Place a piece of foil on the outdoor grill or use a grill mat. Place the swordfish panko side up on the foil or mat. Close the lid of the grill and cook the swordfish for 8-10 minutes. The fish will turn white and the crumbs will toast..

Grill pan
Heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat
Grill the fish until golden brown and the fish releases easily from the pan, 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish. When turning the swordfish over, use a wide spatula and try to keep the crumbs intact.

Remove the swordfish to a serving platter. Spoon the dressing and olives over the swordfish and serve.


Steak de Burgo is a regional specialty in the Midwest, specifically Des Moines, Iowa. The dish usually consists of a beef tenderloin steak either topped with butter, garlic, and Italian herbs or served in a sauce consisting of those same ingredients.

Tracing the steak’s history
Des Moines Cityview food critic Jim Duncan researched the history and name origin of the de Burgo steak. The Des Moines Register’s archives indicate that the steak began appearing prewar on the menus of the more refined restaurants. Restaurants with names like Vic’s Tally-Ho and Johnny and Klay’s claimed to have created the de Burgo steak The steak became popular and began appearing in other restaurants but most of those restaurants have vanished. Duncan reports other historical sources, claiming the de Burgo steak has some kind of connection to the Castilian city of Burgos. The theory infers that, since many immigrants came to the United States during the Spanish Civil War, the original aioli recipe used in early versions of the dish came from a recipe that was outlawed by Franco due to its association with centers of rebellion, which resulted in giving the steak it’s “de Burgo” code name. It’s a fantastic and deeply untrue seeming theory.

Writing in DSM Magazine last year, Wini Moranville offered another theory after interviewing the son of Kay Campiano—part owner of one of the restaurants with claim to the de Burgo’s origin—who stated for the record that his father brought the recipe back from New Orleans after the second world war. However, steak de Burgo doesn’t seem to be prepared anywhere in New Orleans.
The Register’s archives also mention that steak de Burgo was in a 1963 newspaper column titled “Over the Coffee.” This column was written by Harlan Miller and tracks one man’s travels for a week in the 1960s Des Moines. He has steak de Burgo on a Thursday. The de Burgo appears in advertisements for restaurants throughout the 70s.

Source City View  http://www.dmcityview.com/

Steak de Burgo

For 2 servings

Ingredients

1 tenderloin steak about 1 lb

Steak rub
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ each Salt and Pepper

De Burgo Sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan. Mix the dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Dry the steak with paper towels, rub the mixture all over the meat. Place the steak on the grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; medium-well, 145°).

Remove the steak from the heat and tent with foil.
In a skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the butter. and heat over low. Whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the steak. Slice the steak and serve.

I served the steak with a baked potato and a wedge salad.


This dish is always a big hit when I take it to a potluck dinner.

Meat Sauce

Ingredients

3-26-ounce containers chopped Italian tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound meatloaf mix( pork, veal, beef)
1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

To prepare the meat sauce
Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, meatloaf mix and pork sausage and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat until the meat changes color and the water it gives off is boiled away, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the meat is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings and bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pot. Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and takes on a deep, brick-red color, about 3 hours.

The sauce can be prepared entirely in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Lasagna

Ingredients

Meat Sauce (recipe above)
12 uncooked fresh lasagna noodles
2 containers (15 oz each) ricotta cheese
1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg.
Oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread about 2 cups of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place 4 fresh noodles on top of the sauce. Layer half of the mozzarella slices on top of the noodles. Spread half of the ricotta filling over the mozzarella. Add 4 more noodles. Spread with some of the meat sauce. Add remaining mozzarella slices, remaining ricotta filling and cover with 4 more noodles. Cover the noodles with a good amount of sauce. You may not need all of the sauce from the recipe above.

Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and place it face down on the lasagna and seal tightly. Heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the lasagna for45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top of the lasagna with Parmesan cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and cook for 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

To bring to a potluck-cover the dish again and place it in a thermal carrier.


For 2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup quick-cooking Italian farro (available at Whole Foods)
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large minced garlic clove
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large green bell peppers halved lengthwise and seeded
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese plus more for topping

Directions

Combine the farro, water, and salt in a microwave bowl. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Set aside the bowl without draining the farro while you prepare the stuffing.
Mix the Italian tomatoes with the red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Pour into a baking dish large enough to fit the peppers.
In a large skillet, cook the onion and olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add the beef and sausage. Cook until light brown. Let cool.
Drain the farro.
In a mixing bowl, combine the meat mixture with the farro, mozzarella cheese, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together..Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.


Place stuffed green bell pepper halves in the baking dish over the tomato sauce; cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, top each pepper with additional shredded mozzarella cheese and return the dish to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Sauteed Tuscan Kale

Ingredients

2 bunches Tuscan Kale
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Wash the kale thoroughly. Remove the stems and cut the leaves into smaller pieces. Heat olive oil and red pepper flakes in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers, and the red pepper flakes start to sizzle. Add the garlic. Working quickly, so the garlic does not burn, add the kale. (Some splattering and crackling of oil may occur from the water on the kale.) Using tongs, toss the kale in the pan for 2-4 minutes until the kale has wilted and cooked to desired tenderness. Keep the kale moving to avoid scorching any pieces. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving.


Recently my PBS station aired a special about how Julia Child influenced many of today’s well-known chefs as well as the viewers who watched the shows. This special made me realize that I, too, had learned many cooking skills from her shows. Growing up I learned some basic Italian recipes from my mother and father (Italian men like to cook.) but not the kind of food America was eating when I got married. My mother was not an enthusiastic cook and tended to make the same things every week. My father would make things she did not like, such as rabbit or crab in spaghetti sauce. So as a young wife I liked cooking but needed to know more. It was about that time that Julia’s shows came onto PBS. There were no other cooking shows on TV at that time. While her recipes highlighted French cooking, she did focus on skills. I learned how to cook a whole chicken, prepare fish and make good sauces from watching her shows. If you have never made her chicken recipe, give it a try. It comes out moist and full of flavor.

Poulet Poele a l’Estragon

(Casserole- Roasted Chicken)

Ingredients

Seasoning Chicken
1 (3-4 pound) roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 shallot, halved

Browning Chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Vegetables
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

Sauce
2 cups brown chicken stock, or 1 cup canned beef broth and 1 cup canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons port wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 tablespoon softened butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 325° F. Thoroughly dry the chicken. Season the cavity of the chicken with the salt, tarragon and 1 tablespoon of butter. Insert the shallot and rub the remaining tablespoon of butter on the outside of the chicken. Tie legs together with kitchen string.

Heat a heavy, fireproof casserole dish or pot over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil. When the butter foam has begun to subside, lay in the chicken, breast down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, regulating the heat so butter is always very hot but not burning. Carefully turn the chicken to another side, using 2 wooden spoons. Be sure not to break the chicken skin. Continue browning and turning the chicken until it is a nice golden color almost all over, particularly on the breast and legs. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. Add more oil if necessary to keep the bottom of the casserole filmed.

Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour out the browning fat if it has burned, and add fresh butter. Cook the carrots and onions slowly in the casserole for 5 minutes without browning. Add the salt and tarragon.

Salt the chicken and place it breast up over the vegetables. Baste with the butter in the casserole. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken, cover the pan, and reheat it on top of the stove until you hear the chicken sizzling. Then place the casserole/pan in the preheated oven.

Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Baste once or twice with the butter and juices in the casserole. The chicken is done when the drumsticks move in their sockets, and when juices run clear.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter and discard trussing strings. Combine the cornstarch with ¼ cup of the chicken broth and the port wine and set aside. Add the remaining broth to the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping up coagulated roasting juices. Blend in the cornstarch mixture, simmer a minute, then raise heat and boil rapidly until the sauce is lightly thickened. Stir in tarragon and butter.

Serve chicken with sauce. Good sides are peas, potatoes, asparagus, carrots or broiled tomatoes.

The recipe above is from Julia Child’s, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, Pages 249-251.

You can watch the original episodes on Amazon Prime Video or your local PBS online site.

Amazon Season 1 Episode 3 Chicken Video is the recipe for Casserole-Roasted Chicken with Bacon, Onions, and Potatoes -a variation of the above recipe called Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme.

https://www.amazon.com/French-Chef-Julia-Child/dp/B0062246R8

 


The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the habits of those who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean sea, like, Spain, France, Greece, and Italy. Here is a good example of a dinner based on this type of diet. It is a very healthy way of eating.

Parmesan-Crusted Flounder

4 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Olive oil mayonnaise
4 flounder fillets (about 1 pound total)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a shallow dish, combine the Parmesan cheese with the paprika and parsley.  Season the fish with salt and pepper. Brush the fish lightly with mayonnaise and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on an oiled baking sheet or dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake until the fish is cooked through and beginning to brown along the edges 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.

Whole Grain Pasta With Zucchini And Tomatoes

4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt
1 medium zucchini (about 8 oz) quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon of prepared basil pesto
1 cup fresh mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz whole-grain linguine pasta
Pasta water

Directions

Combine 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside.

Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add zucchini and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.

Push zucchini to the sides of the skillet to create a clearing; add the oil-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine the garlic tomato mixture with the zucchini and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in pine nuts and pesto.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water; cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, drain pasta and return pasta to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat on to low.

Add sauce and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently purchased an air fryer. While I used my air fryer for cooking the salmon cakes and sweet potatoes, I also give directions for stovetop and oven baking methods.

Air-Fryer Salmon Cakes

When I make salmon or tuna fillets for dinner, I always make extra so I can make fish cakes at a later time.

Ingredients

Spicy Tartar Sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon capers
1/4 teaspoon hot Cajun seasoning
Pinch of salt

Salmon Cakes:

Cooking spray
10 oz cooked salmon (or you can use canned salmon)
1 to 11/4 cups plain panko breadcrumbs, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large egg

Directions

Mix the Tatar sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Coat the basket of an air fryer with cooking spray.

Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and break up into small pieces. Add ½ cup panko crumbs, dill, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, and pepper; stir gently until combined. Shape the mixture into four cakes. Lightly coat the outside of the cakes in panko crumbs.

Coat the cakes with cooking spray and place them in the prepared air fryer basket. Cook at 375 degrees F until browned and heated through about 15 minutes. Serve with the Tatar Sauce.

Directions for stovetop:
Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon cakes in the skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn cakes and cook until the second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cakes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain 1 minute. Serve with the Tatar Sauce.

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

16 ounces of sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons avocado oil

Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F.

Slice the sweet potatoes into finger-sized sticks (mine are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch). They don’t have to be perfect but try to keep the size fairly consistent.

Place the potato slices in a ziplock bag or mixing bowl, along with the oil, salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss to coat.

Transfer the sweet potatoes to the air fryer, and cook until tender and crispy (about 20 minutes). Shake the basket a few times to rearrange the fries, and use a metal spatula to turn them. Use your own judgment, cooking longer or shorter, if needed, keeping an eye on the fries to make sure they don’t burn.

Directions for Oven-Baked Sweet Potato wedges
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees K. Spread the coated potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Quick Saute Of Baby Spinach Leaves

Ingredients

1 clamshell package(5oz) of organic baby spinach leaves
1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic slices and then the spinach leaves. Cover the pan and let the spinach cook on medium for one minute. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to low and cook the spinach, stirring often until wilted, about another minute or two. Serve immediately.



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