Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Wine

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 rib-eye steaks (about 1 ½ lbs total and 1 inch thick), trimmed of all fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil; more as needed
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3/4 lb Italian frying peppers, seeded and halved
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 ½ cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Directions

Cut each steak into 1-inch strips removing as much fat as possible and pat them dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-covered pan that can under the broiler.

In a 12-inch heavy frying pan over medium heat, place the oil, garlic and the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened but not browned, Add the peppers and cook until tender.

Pour the wine into the pan. As it comes to a boil, deglaze the pan juices by scraping the bottom of the pan well with a wooden or silicone spoon. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer.

Set the broiler to low. Place the pan with the steaks under the broiler and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly brown. Remove the pan from the broiler and place the steak strips and meat juices in the skillet with the tomato mixture. Stir in the meat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Serve this dish with mashed potatoes and green beans.


Roast Lamb Chops With Potatoes and Broccoli Florets  – the Italian Way

2 servings

Ingredients

4 loin lamb chops
2 unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, about 12 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided
1 lemon zested and cut into quarters
1 cup white wine
2 chopped sprigs fresh sage leaves and 2 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
2 chopped fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
10 oz pkg frozen broccoli florets, defrosted

Directions

Place the lamb chops in a plastic ziplock bag, add some salt, the lemon zest, 1 sliced garlic clove, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of sage, 1 sprig of oregano, a sprinkle of black pepper, the white wine and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Marinate for about 2 hours turning them occasionally.

Cut the potatoes into long wedges and put them in a bowl or bag with cold water and let rest while the lamb marinates. (This helps remove the starch and creates a potato that does not get mushy).

Using a slotted spoon, drain the potatoes, transfer them to a roasting pan, large enough to also hold the lamb and broccoli; add salt to taste, 1 sliced garlic clove, the remaining chopped rosemary, sage, and oregano sprigs, a pinch of black pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Toss well and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.

Remove the pan from the oven, tuck the chops in among the potatoes reserving the marinade, and scatter the broccoli florets around the outside of the potato/lamb mixture.

Sprinkle with the lamb marinade and roast another 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like lamb cooked. Serve with lemon wedges.


My Meyer lemon tree produced its first ripe lemon this week. The sea bass recipe was a good way to start using these delicious lemons.

Pan-Fried Sea Bass

Ingredients

For the sea bass
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Two 6- to 8-ounce fillets sea bass
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice and zest from half a Meyer lemon.
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the asparagus
1 lb asparagus, stalks trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the asparagus in a shallow pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and roasted garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Season the fillets with some salt and pepper and lightly coat in flour. Place fillets in the skillet with the minced shallots and cook the fish for 5 minutes on each side. Stir the shallots but keep them to the sides of the pan as the fish cooks. When the fish is cooked, place the fillets on a plate and deglaze the pan with the wine, add the thyme and lemon juice. Cook until it’s reduced by two thirds. Add remaining butter and lemon zest. Whisk followed by the heavy cream and heat through.

Divide the cooked asparagus between two serving plates. Place a sea bass fillet on top of each plate. Divide the sauce evenly over the fish and serve.


The photos show more than indicated in the recipe because I made this for guests and doubled the ingredients. You may want to do that so you have lots of leftover pot roast.

Pot Roast Italian Style

Ingredients

4-pound rump or chuck beef roast
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large celery stalk, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium red onion, diced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced plus extra for the roast
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups medium-bodied Italian red wine
One 28-ounce can Italian whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)

Preparing the meat


With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 slits in the roast and stuff slits with garlic slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with the salt and pepper. Tie the meat with kitchen string in several places to keep it from falling apart.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, shimmering but not smoking, add the meat and cook, turning it a few times, until it is brown on all sides, 10-12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a platter.


Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and sage, and stir until the herbs are lightly colored about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the wine and stir quickly, lifting up the richly browned caramelized vegetables that stick to the bottom of the pan. When the wine is almost all evaporated and thickly coats the vegetables, return the meat to the pan and turn it over a few times to coat it with the savory base.

Preheat the oven 350°F.
Raise the heat to high, adding the remaining wine, beef broth. the bay leaf, and the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven.

Roast for one hour and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Turning and baste the meat every hour until the meat is very tender and flakes away when pierced with a fork, 3-4 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil. If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a hard boil and reduce it until it has a medium-thick consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove the strings and cut the meat into thick slices (it will probably fall apart), and place on a warm serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve hot.


I can buy freshly shucked clams at my fish market, which I prefer for this type of pasta dish. Clams in the shell are fine for seafood stews but I don’t like trying to remove the shell from the clam and eat it with spaghetti. I know not everyone would agree, but this is the answer if you don’t like dealing with the shells in your pasta.

Spaghetti With White Clam Sauce

Ingredients

1 pint wild caught shucked clams with liquid (16 oz fresh, canned or frozen)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 oz thin spaghetti

Directions

If the clams are large, I like to chop them into smaller pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add wine and cook for a minute. Stir in chopped clams with their juice. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat just until hot.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the clam sauce and toss in the skillet letting the pasta cook in the sauce for a few minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve in pasta bowls.

Add a green salad and some crusty Italian bread to round out the meal.


As of January 2018, the largest population of French American people live in the state of Maine. French Americans also live in Louisiana where the largest French-speaking population in the U.S. is found in St. Martin Parish. Country-wide, there are about 10.4 million U.S. residents that declare French ancestry or French Canadian descent, and about 1.32 million speak French at home as of the 2010 census. An additional 750,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language.

Maine Farmers

Creole Musicians

While Americans of French descent make up a substantial percentage of the American population, French Americans are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups. This is due in part to a tendency of French American groups to identify more closely with “New World” regional identities such as Acadian, Brayon, Cajun, or Louisiana Creole. Unlike other immigrants who came to the United States from other countries, some French Americans arrived prior to the founding of the United States. In many parts of the country, like the Midwest and Louisiana, they were the founders of some of the villages and cities and were often the state’s first inhabitants.

New Orleans French Quarter

French immigrants introduced a wide range of interesting foods to America. For example, French Americans made the first yeast bread and brought technical farming skills that vastly improved American rice and wine. Huguenots grew and prepared the first okra, artichokes, and tomatoes. The popularity of French cuisine took off in the 1780s, following the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution. Many respected French chefs, such as Arthur Goussé in Los Angeles, immigrated to the United States and established restaurants. A number of French culinary terms remain prominent in modern times, including bouillon, purée, fricassée, mayonnaise, pâté, hors d’oeuvres, bisque, filet, sauté, casserole, au gratin, and à la mode.

Extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes form the basis of Provencal cuisine. This trio appears in sauces, soups, and salads, and as companions for dozens of fish, pasta and meat courses. The combo is often enhanced with fresh herbs, including parsley, oregano, fennel, basil and rosemary, as well as black Nicoise olives, capers, shallots or leeks. The stew below is classic French cuisine where beef and vegetables are simmered in red wine.

Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef Stew

Serve the stew with homemade biscuits.

Bouquet Garni
2 scallion tops (about 6 inches long)
1 bay leaf
1 medium celery stalk
2 sprigs fresh parsley, with stems
3 sprigs fresh thyme
One 2-inch-long strip orange peel

Stew
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 ounces bacon
2 pounds beef stew meat, such as chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 large, red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (I used portabella and cremini), halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 bottle (375 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2 cups of water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated zest of 1/2 orange

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

To assemble the bouquet garni: Place one scallion top on the counter. Top with bay leaf, celery stalk, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and orange peel. Place the second scallion leaf on top and tie the bundle together in four spots with kitchen string. Set aside.

To prepare the stew: Place the bacon in an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until barely brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving any drippings in the pot. When cool break into small pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add half the beef cubes (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Repeat with the second batch of meat, salt, and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the beef.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

Pour wine and water into the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Return the browned beef, the carrot mixture and the reserved bacon to the pot. Press down on the beef and vegetables, making sure to submerge them completely in the liquid; if necessary, add just enough hot water to make sure they are covered. Place the bouquet garni on top.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pot and press it directly on top of the stew, covering it completely. Transfer the stew to the oven and cook, with the lid off, until the beef is tender enough to cut with a fork, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Check every hour to be sure the ingredients stay submerged in liquid during the entire cooking time. If too much wine evaporates, add a little hot water to make up for the loss. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the reserved mushrooms.
Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Combine chopped parsley and orange zest in a small bowl and scatter on top of the stew just before serving.


The idea for this tomato-based seafood stew comes from the fisherman from Genoa who immigrated to the US and settled in the Bay area of California. Cioppino was developed in San Francisco by these Italian immigrants who prepared a fish stew with what they had on their fishing boats from their daily catch.

Legend has it that requests were made as the boats came in for the day asking for any seafood to “CHIP IN ” to the pot; add Italian seasoning and hence the name: Cioppino (chip-EEN-o). Most food historians and cookbook authors don’t even try to fix the recipe in time, although all point to San Francisco as the place of origin. Cioppino wasn’t well-known beyond the Bay area (or at least outside of California) until after World War II. John Thorne…describes in the September/October 1996 issue of his newsletter, Simple Cooking, how he came upon a vintage (1921) cookbook that discusses cioppino in detail. That book, Fish Cookery, by Evelyn Spencer of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and John N. Cobb, director of the College of Fisheries at the University of Washington, offers a recipe for cioppino that had appeared three years earlier by H.B. Nidever in California Fish and Game. Thorne believes that it may be one of the first, if not the first, ever published.

In 1925 Nunzio Alioto, an Italian immigrant, set up a stall at #8 Fisherman’s Wharf to sell lunchtime provisions to the Italian laborers. His business grew and by 1932 he had constructed the first building at the corner of Taylor and Jefferson, by combining the fish stand with a seafood bar. After Nunzio passed away unexpectedly, his widow Nonna Rose and her three children took over the stall. In 1938 she installed a kitchen in the original structure and officially opened Alioto’s Restaurant. Their specialty was Cioppino.

Here is my version that I have developed over the years and one that suits my family’s taste.

Italian American Seafood Stew (Cioppino)

Serve with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups fish stock
2 cups chopped Italian tomatoes in juice, crushed
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 pounds firm, skinless fish fillets (such as red snapper, grouper, swordfish, tuna, mahi-mahi or halibut), cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb shrimp, deveined
1 lb sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup white wine
2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked to remove the sand

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Sauté 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, fish stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes.

Add the wine to a large deep skillet and bring to a boil. Add the clams, turn the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Remove the clams as they open to a covered bowl. Discard any clams that do not open. Strain the juices in the skillet through a fine mesh colander. Set aside the clams and the strained cooking liquid.

Next add the fish pieces and shrimp to the tomato sauce, pushing them down into the liquid a little. Cover the pot and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the scallops and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the opened clams and strained wine and heat for a minute or two.

Immediately scoop the stew into large bowls, garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with Italian bread.


Baked Chicken In Wine Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

2 large skin on, bone-in chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
4 oz white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, plus extra for the roasted chisken
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour, cornstarch or arrowroot
Chopped chives to garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter until melted, then add the chicken, skin-side down. Brown on each side until golden, about three minutes per side, then remove to a greased baking dish just large enough to fit the chicken. Sprinkle each breast with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

When the chicken is almost done, add the remaining butter to the skillet and heat until melted. Add the shallots; sauté until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to release their liquid, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the thyme and white wine. Cook for a minute or two.

Combine the broth and cream in a large measuring cup. Whisk in the flour. Pour the mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened. Add the baked chicken breasts, skin side down, and simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Savoy Cabbage

2 servings

Ingredients

Half of a medium head of Savoy cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 oz. butter
Salt and pepper

Directions

Melt butter in a deep frying pan. Add the garlic and onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the shredded cabbage.
Sauté the cabbage on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Lower the heat and continue cooking until the cabbage is silky soft.. Stir regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Zucchini Rounds

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place zucchini slices in an oiled shallow baking pan in one layer.

Brush each round with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Beef Rolls
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef top sirloin or top round, cut into 4-6 thin slices
4-6 slices of prosciutto
Olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Filling
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper

Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced carrots
1/4 cup minced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes
One container (26-28-ounces) Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
4 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Directions

Beef Rolls
Place each slice of beef between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder until very thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each one.

Mix together the parmesan cheese, onion, bell pepper, garlic and parsley and sprinkle evenly on top of the beef slices with prosciutto.

Roll up the slices, tucking in the ends and tie with kitchen string.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the beef rolls until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

Sauce
If needed add some more olive oil to the pan then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir. Add the red wine and cook, stirring up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, salt, bay leaves, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Place the beef rolls back into the sauce, turn heat to low and cook at a simmer until beef is tender 1.5 – 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves.

Sprinkle the rolls with the mozzarella and basil leaves, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer.


The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel on the east; the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco on the south and the Mediterranean Island Countries of Cyprus and Malta. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same healthy ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the cuisine in the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and Libya. This series continues with the country of Tunisia.

Tunisian cuisine is a combination of French, Arabic, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Seafood is eaten in the coastal communities and features recipes like fettuccine with fresh seafood and a green harissa dressing, grilled mullet with lemon and celery salad, and fricassee salad with grilled cedar plank salmon. The spicy paste harissa is a staple side to every Tunisian meal. It’s made from chilies, garlic, lemon and a combination of caraway, cumin and coriander seeds. Tunisian sweets are also impressive. Their doughnuts, called “yo-yos”, are soaked in honey, lemon syrup and orange blossom water.

The diverse blend of flavors in Tunisian cuisine is representative of the country’s past and location. While the cuisine varies by region, Tunisian food usually combines French and African flavors with spicy seasonings. Couscous, the main staple in Tunisian dishes, is often topped with fresh seafood or hearty lamb depending on local availability. A melting pot of cultures, Tunisia doesn’t just feature local food but all types of international cuisine can be found in the country’s larger cities.

Though the country’s Mediterranean climate and rich soil make it an ideal location for wine production, it’s often overlooked as a wine region. But Tunisia has a rich wine history and a modern cultivation of numerous grape varietals. Tunisians first began producing wine over 2,000 years ago, but Arab control in the eighth century nearly eliminated the practice. French colonization brought winemaking back to Tunisia in the late 1800s.

The Foods of Tunisia

Couscous

Couscous is derived from semolina and is present on nearly every dinner table in Tunisia. Couscous is prepared in endless ways across the country. In coastal regions, cooks prefer to serve it with fish, while interior regions opt for lamb and dried fruit. A local favorite, Sfax Couscous, is named for Tunisia’s second largest city, which is filled with freshly caught seafood.

Briks

Briks are another staple and can be found in little shops throughout the country. Similar to a samosa, a brik is made from wrapping pastry dough around a variety of fillings, including potatoes, eggs, or tuna. The packets are then fried in grapeseed oil and served piping hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Harissa

A thick, spicy paste made from hot chili peppers and garlic, harissa is a condiment for grilled meats and fish or stirred into soups and stews for added flavor. It is often served as a dipping sauce alongside bread. Harissa’s heat level varies depending on the number and type of chili peppers used. The peppers are typically smoked to add a complex, deep flavor.

Ojja

While typically a breakfast dish, ojja is often considered fast-food by Tunisian standards. Traditional ojja combine eggs and merguez, a spicy lamb sausage, in a savory tomato sauce for a hearty, filling meal. Ojja is served with a side of grilled bread in place of a spoon or fork.

YoYos

Tunisians take dessert seriously and they are routinely served after a large evening meal and accompanied with mint tea. Some local desserts include sweet cakes, fried almond pastries, and ice cream. But the Tunisian doughnuts, YoYos, are the favorite.

Mint tea

The melding of many cultures and flavors is apparent in Tunisia’s most popular drink, sweet mint tea. Served hot or over ice, this beverage is topped with pine nuts, a twist of flavor and texture, especially for those not accustomed to nuts in their tea.

Wine Regions

Muscat

Tunisia has seven distinct controlled designation-of-origin regions known locally as AOCs (for their French name, appellation d’origine controlee). The naming of wine regions is modeled after the French, with whom Tunisia shares many of the same grape varietals, such as Muscat.

Sidi Saad

Sidi Saad is a wine blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Produced using traditional methods in the Gran Cru Mornag region, Sidi Saad is corked in a distinctively shaped bottle.

Gris de Tunisie

Gris de Tunisie, or grey Tunisian wine, is the country’s most famous and unique wine. The wine is a dusky rose in color and tastes like a fruity rosé. It is best served on hot days paired with a spicy seafood dish.

Chateau Mornag Rosé

Chateau Mornag Rosé is the country’s most popular. Produced in the Mornag area in Northern Tunisia, it is light, crisp and tastes best with the region’s Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.

Make Some Tunisian Recipes At Home

Tunisian Harissa

Ingredients

100 g dried long red chilies, seeded
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Directions

Soaking time 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Place chilies in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Place a small plate directly on top of chilies to keep them submerged then set aside for 1½ hours or until very soft. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat, add the spices and fry, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Finely grind spices in an electric spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Combine the drained chilies, spices, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and the remaining ingredients in a small food processor. Process to a smooth paste, occasionally scraping down the sides. Push mixture through a food mill, extracting as much purée as possible; the solids should be dry. Transfer mixture to a sterilized jar and seal. Harissa will keep for up to 1 year stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tunisian Chickpea Soup (Lablabi)

Tunisian breakfast. Capers, chopped almonds, chopped olives, yogurt and some mint can all be added at the end, and the soup is commonly served ladled over cubes of day old bread. Tuna is often added also.

Ingredients

100 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Large pinch saffron
1 tablespoon harissa
2 liters (8 cups) chicken stock
4 (400g) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tomatoes, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons white vinegar
4-6 eggs (depending on the number of servings)

To serve

Large handful coriander leaves
Slices of baguette, extra harissa, and lemon wedges, to serve
2 tbsp baby capers, drained
2 tbsp chopped blanched almonds

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes or until softened. Add the cumin and coriander and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes. Stir in the harissa then add the stock and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan then cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer and add the vinegar. Crack each egg into a saucer then add them, one at a time, to the simmering water. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Carefully remove each using a slotted spoon to a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain excess water.

Divide the hot soup among large bowls. Place an egg in each bowl. Scatter over the coriander, capers, and almonds. Serve with the baguette, extra harissa, and lemon wedges to the side.

Broiled Red Mullet with Celery Salad

Ingredients

4 red mullets, cleaned (each 340 g net)
12 g mixed fresh bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed using a mortar and pestle
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoon salt

Lemon and Celery Salad

4 long, thin green capsicum (peppers), or 1 regular green capsicum (pepper) (140 g gross)
50 ml olive oil
1 lemon, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 cm dice (35 g net)
3 tender celery stalks, cut into 1 cm dice (120 g net)
10 g tender celery leaves, finely chopped
15 g parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
30 g black olives, pitted
½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sumac

Directions

To make the salad, place the capsicum in a baking dish. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil and roast in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes ( or longer for regular capsicum), or until the skin is blistered and the flesh is soft. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, peel, cut into 1 cm dice and place in a large bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, the lemon, celery, and leaves, parsley, garlic, olives, chili flakes, and salt. Stir well and set aside.

Score the red mullet 2–3 times on each side in parallel lines at a 45-degree angle to the fish. Slice the bay leaves into fine strips and stuff into the incisions, followed by each of the other herbs. Place the fish on a baking tray lined with foil. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, olive oil and salt. Drizzle or brush this over the fish.

Preheat a broiler on high. Once hot, place the fish underneath and cook for about 6 minutes on each side, or until the flesh is firm and cooked through. Serve the fish with the salad on the side, garnished with sumac.

Tunisian Doughnuts (yo-yos)

Ingredients

7 g sachet dried yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) orange juice
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry
300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted

Honey syrup

2 tablespoons lemon juice
110 g (½ cup) white sugar
360 g (1 cup) honey
2 teaspoons orange blossom water, optional

Directions

Place yeast, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) lukewarm water in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Add orange juice, zest, and 2 tablespoons oil, and stir to combine. Place flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour yeast mixture into the well and stir until combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.) Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.

To make the honey syrup, place the lemon juice, sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Add honey and orange blossom water, if using, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook the mixture for 35 minutes or until the consistency of a runny honey; watch syrup to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.

Fill a deep-fryer or large pan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, tear off a piece of dough about the size of a plum and flatten slightly with your hand. Tear a hole in the middle and stretch the dough to make a 12–15cm ring. Gently drop the dough into the oil and deep-fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until crisp, golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Using a skewer, pierce yo-yos on both sides, then soak in honey syrup for 4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.



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