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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: asparagus

Sicilian Style Swordfish

Swordfish is a noble ingredient from the gastronomic traditions of Sicily and Calabria: used in the most refined of recipes, it is extremely versatile and can be easily married with other ingredients from the Mediterranean region, such as capers, lemon, eggplant, mint and bell peppers.

2 servings

Ingredients

2 swordfish steaks, about 6 oz each and 1/2-inch thick
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 lemon, cut in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Cut one lemon half into thin slices and set aside. Juice the other half and set aside.
In a medium skillet with a lid, brown the garlic in oil, then remove it and add the fish, lemon slices and capers.
Season with salt, parsley, and oregano. Turn the fish over.
Drizzle the lemon juice over and finish cooking with the lid on for about 2 minutes more.

Baked Eggplant Slices

3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2-3 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt

Directions

Place the eggplant slices and tomato slices on paper towels and sprinkle both sides of the vegetables with salt. Let rest for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplant with cool water and blot dry with paper towels. Blot the tomato slices with a paper towel also.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with olive oil.
Mix the cheese with the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and garlic powder in a small bowl.


Arrange eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.


Sprinkle each slice with half the cheese mixture. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle the remaining cheese mixture on top.
Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. For a crispy top, place the pan under the broiler for 5-10 minutes.

Asparagus Gratin

Servings 4

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, small/medium thickness, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 1.5 to 2 quart or an 8×8 baking pan.
Place asparagus in the baking dish and spread them evenly.


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together heavy cream, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour cream mixture all over the asparagus.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.


Bake for 25-30 minutes until the asparagus are tender and the top of the gratin is golden brown.

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Scallops In Garlic Sauce

Serve this dish over rice or make my Cauliflower “risotto”. It is delicious.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz or 12 large sea scallops
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Directions

If the scallops are frozen, thaw in cold water. Remove the side muscle from the scallops if attached. Thoroughly dry the scallops with paper towels.

Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot and sizzling. Add the scallops in a single layer.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and fry for 2-3 minutes on one side (until a golden crust forms), then turn the scallops over and fry again for 2 minutes until crisp, lightly browned and cooked through (opaque). Remove the scallops from the skillet and transfer to a plate.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan, scraping up any browned bits left over from the scallops. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cream and allow to simmer until slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the lemon juice and add the scallops back into the pan to warm through slightly. Garnish with parsley. Serve over the cauliflower risotto.

Cauliflower “Risotto”

Servings 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups cauliflower rice (if using frozen, defrost and drain well)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

Heat a sauté pan and then add the butter, garlic, and shallots. Cook until the shallots are tender.
Add in the cauliflower rice. Stir to coat in the butter. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer.
Next, add in the Parmesan cheese, mix once more and then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

For each serving, you will need

4 asparagus spears
1 slice of bacon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425º F.
Wrap 3-4 stalks with a piece of bacon. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and repeat until all asparagus stalks have been wrapped with bacon pieces.
Brush the bundles with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake until asparagus is cooked through and bacon is done in about 20 minutes. Turn the bundles over halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and serve.


Filet Mignon

Two 4-ounce filet mignon, (1-inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper

Asparagus

½ lb asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Garlic Shrimp

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large shrimp deveined, tails removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

For the asparagus:

Oil a baking dish that will fit the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the dish in the oven about 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the steak.

For the steaks:

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before cooking. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Place a small heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the surface. When the oil shimmers, add the steaks and don’t move them for 3 minutes. Gently work a spatula under the steaks and turn them over. Cook for another 3 minutes and place the skillet in the oven with the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes and remove the steaks to a serving dish to rest. Let the asparagus cook for another 5 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack closer to the broiler.

For the shrimp:

In a second small skillet, heat the butter; add the garlic, sauté one minute.
Pour in the white wine (or broth), and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cream and continue simmering, while stirring. Add in the parmesan cheese; allow to melt in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Add the shrimp and cook until just pink on one side, about 1 minute; turn the shrimp over and cook until pink; about 1 minute. Place the shrimp and sauce on top of the steaks and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve the asparagus on the side.

Broiled Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato, halved
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat broiler. Arrange tomato halves, cut side up, in an oiled baking dish.
Mix garlic, parsley, and olive oil; pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil 5 inches from the heat for 3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve.


Chicken Scaloppine

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (8-10 ounces), tenderloins removed and trimmed of excess fat and halved horizontally
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Lemon wedges

Directions

Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to even 1/4-inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Combine the flour and grated Parmesan cheese in pie plate. In a second pie plate, whisk together the egg white and chives.
Coat the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer chicken to egg-white mixture; coat evenly and let the excess run off. Coat the chicken a second time in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Place the cutlets in the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the chicken is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn the cutlets with a wide spatula and continue to cook until the chicken is pale golden brown on the second side, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to individual plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Caprese Salad

2 servings

Ingredients

2 medium tomatoes
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Black Italian olives
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into 1/4″ slices.
Assemble the salad by layering slices of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves on a serving plate.
Season with salt, pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil.
Scatter a few olives around the serving plate and serve.

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

2 servings

Ingredients

10 thin asparagus spears, woody ends removed
2 very thin slices Prosciutto di Parma
Olive oil
Coarse black pepper

Directions

Bundle asparagus together in small batches (5 in each) and wrap one slice of prosciutto around each bundle. Place the bundles in a small oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the bundles with olive oil and black pepper. Roast in a 425 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes.


Stir-Fried Beef with Asparagus

I had enough Pork Fried Rice leftover to serve with this dish. See the recipe.

Ingredients

1 pound lean, tender beef steak (tenderloin, top sirloin, ribeye or strip steak) sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small bunch green onions, cut on diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, grated
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Combine beef and cornstarch in large bowl. Using hands, rub to coat well.
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add beef in single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the meat begins to brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until the second side browns, about 1 minute. Transfer beef to large plate.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, green onions, garlic and ginger; sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to boil. Return beef to the skillet and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve with rice or fried rice.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut crosswise into half moons
1 teaspoon sea salt
One small red onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

Garnish
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
¼ cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Dressing
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Mirin
1 scallion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Directions

Place sliced cucumbers into a fine-mesh strainer suspended inside a medium-sized bowl. Season with the 1 teaspoon sea salt. Toss thoroughly to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to overnight to drain the cucumbers of excess moisture.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar through the sugar. Whisk well and set aside.
Transfer the cucumbers to a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry. Combine the cucumbers and red onions scallions to a medium-sized bowl. Add the dressing and toss. Place the salad in the refrigerator and allow the flavors to develop, for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.


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.

 



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