Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Mediterranean Lamb and Veggie Skewers

Lamb and Veggie Kebabs with an adventurous marinade consisting of onions, garlic, and trio of warm spices give the skewers a bold Middle Eastern flavor that is bound to grab your attention.

When marinating lamb, no need to be shy with flavors that will compliment its rich and assertive flavor. But it is equally important to use a marinade that will also help tenderize the meat while imparting character. This is especially true if you are using lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb as opposed to lamb loin fillet, which is more tender.

To make the marinade, combine onion, garlic, spices, fresh parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and zest in a food processor. Blitz until everything is well-incorporated and you have a thick onion mixture.

Because the veggies and meat require varying cooking times, I divide them into 3 categories—and 3 ziploc bags. First the meat cubes, then the tomatoes and mushroom caps, and finally the red onion and bell pepper pieces which take the longest to cook. Refrigerate all three bags for up to 2 hours. As the grill heats, thread metal skewers with the bag contents.

We served our skewers over a bed of tri-colored couscous, but if your counting carbs, gluten-free, or following a keto-friendly diet, you may want to skip it. Add lemon wedges for serving.

recipe title=”Mediterranean Lamb and Veggie Skewers” servings=”4-6″ time=”40 min + marinating time” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. cherry (cocktail) tomatoes
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1 yellow, 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 8 chucks each
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges, root intact
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

For the Marinade

  • 2 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Cut the lamb into 1 to 1 ½ -inch cubes or pieces and put them in a large ziploc. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, combine the onion, garlic, spices, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and zest. Cover and run the processor until everything is finely chopped (you should end up with a thick onion marinade).
  3. Divide the mixture into three equal portions and pour the first over the lamb and mix well to make sure all the lamb is well coated with the marinade. Repeat with the other two bags of veggies.
  4. Cover and refrigerate all 3 bags for up to 2 hours. (If you do not have time, leave the kebabs to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes).
  5. Brush the grates of a gas grill (or an indoor griddle) with oil and heat.
  6. Shake excess marinade off and thread the lamb pieces on some long metal skewers, allowing a little room between pieces. (Flat metal skewers are best, but wooden skewers soaked in water will also work).
  7. Repeat with the tomatoes and mushroom caps, and then the bell pepper and onion pieces.
  8. Assemble the bell pepper/onion skewers on the hot grill first. After 10 minutes, add the tomato skewers. Turn all skewers every few minutes as they begin to char.
  9. After five minutes more, add the lamb kebabs. Grill over high heat, turning each kabob one-quarter turn every couple minutes, until the meat is browned all over, anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how well you like your lamb cooked (5 minutes on our grill produced medium-rare kebabs).
  10. Remove all skewers at the same time. Slide all contents onto a large platter and pass around to each dinner guest. Plate with couscous, if using, and lemon wedges.

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[/recipe]

Loosely adapted from a recipe by The Mediterranean Dish

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives

Another one-pan wonder, and who doesn’t like that for ease of clean-up and prep? It works as well for company as it does for a weeknight dinner. According to ATK’s “Complete Mediterranean Cookbook”, cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through, which is rubbed with herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.

The Mediterranean seasoning inspired the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts (frozen, to keep things easy), and briny olives (which I doubled the quantity). After softening the fennel in the microwave, it was tossed with the other vegetables and olive oil, and the mixture was spread into the roasting pan (or rimmed baking sheet), placing the tenderloins on top.

The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork is done, so remove the meat to a moated cutting board and tent with foil. To the cooked veggies, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and lemon zest, and let them finish in the oven. After 10 minutes, the fennel should be tender, the tomatoes softened and releasing their juices.

NOTE: If using frozen artichoke hearts, be sure to thoroughly thaw and pat them dry; otherwise their moisture will inhibit the browning of the roasted vegetables.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • (12- to 16-oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with herbes de Provence, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top, tucking under the thin part of the tail. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
  4. Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and lemon zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices, and arrange vegetables and sliced pork on a platter, pouring any accumulated meat juices back over the plated pork and vegetables.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

OMG, The BEST Moroccan Chicken Skewers

WOWSER, these were so friggin’ good! While the original Milk Street recipe broiled the skewers, we decided to grill them for a more enhanced char. The skewers are then finished with the juice of charred lemon halves that have been drizzled with honey, along with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint are good choices, alone or, as we did, in combination.

As a perfect accompaniment we also grilled vegetables tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper. Some skewers were laced with red and green bell pepper along with onion wedges; while others consisted of cherry tomatoes and mushroom caps. We purposely arranged them separately because the onion and pepper pieces took longer to cook. And if you’re not restricting carbs or gluten, tricolored couscous can round out the meal nicely.

Some reviewers commented that they used pomegranate molasses as a finishing drizzle with the herbs because it’s not as sweet as honey but still adds another interesting texture and taste. I think that’s worth a try!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1½ lbs. halved boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Chopped fresh herbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill for direct high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, ginger, spices, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 2 tablespoons.
  3. Toss the chicken with the remaining mixture. Scrunch the chicken onto metal skewers, then place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Add the 4 lemon halves.
  4. Oil the grates and grill chicken and lemon halves until charred, about 12 minutes, flipping the chicken skewers halfway through.
  5. Spoon the reserved lemon-oil mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs.
  6. Drizzle the lemon halves with honey and serve alongside for squeezing over the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

White Wine-Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs

If you’re looking for an easy pear dessert that lets the fruit shine, look no further. The Hubs came across this lovely recipe in his new acquisition by Cook’s Illustrated (CI) “The Compete Mediterranean Cookbook.” Poached pears are a classic French dessert, and yet simple enough to make at home.

Because our bosc pears were a bit too firm yet, the simmering process took longer to render them tender enough. We also lengthened the sauce reduction time to get the syrup to the correct consistency. Making them the day before our dinner party gave the pears ample time to refrigerate overnight.

They can be served as is, or with crème fraîche… perhaps even a shortbread cookie on the side…

NOTES from CI: For the best texture, try to buy pears that are neither fully ripe nor rock hard; choose those that yield just slightly when pressed. Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of lemon zest, but take care to avoid the bitter pith beneath the skin. For the white wine, a medium-bodied dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay is recommended.

White Wine-Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 bottle dry white wine (750-ml)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 6 strips lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seed scraped out and reserved
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 ripe but firm pears (about 8 oz. each), preferably Bosc or Bartlett
  • Crème fraîche, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Bring the wine, sugar, lemon zest, mint, thyme, vanilla seeds and pod, cinnamon, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes; cover and set aside until needed.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel, halve, and core the pears following the illustrations in the related quick tips, adding them to the lemon water to prevent browning.
  3. Drain the pears, discarding the lemon water, and add to the wine mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender and a toothpick or skewer can be inserted into pear with very little resistance, 10 to 20 minutes, gently turning the pears over every 5 or so minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to a shallow casserole dish. Return the syrup to medium heat and simmer until it is slightly thickened and measures 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer, then pour over the pears, discarding the strained solids. Refrigerate the pears until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  5. To serve, spoon portions of fruit and syrup into individual bowls or on plates. Drizzle crème fraîche over the tops, if desired.

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Linguine with Tomatoes, Orange and Olives

We’ve been particularly enamored of Mediterranean-inspired dishes as of late and this vegetarian pasta dish is loaded with the robust flavors of that region. It’s a riff on a recipe from “The Italian Country Table” by Lynn Rosetto Kasper, who found inspiration for the citrusy, savory tomato sauce in the markets of Siracusa, on the island of Sicily.

We found this recipe in a recent copy of Milk Street Magazine where they prefer the meaty, concentrated flavor of oil-cured black olives, but insist milder green olives (such as Castelvetrano) work well, too. Having oil-cured black olives on hand, we used them. The only major difference we made was to use fresh oregano at a ratio of 3-to-1, that is 1 tablespoon of fresh for the 1 teaspoon of dried.

The sharp tang of pecorino Romano cheese is an especially good match for the fruity, herbal flavors. While warm, crusty bread makes a nice partner to the dish, we opted for less carbs and paired the pasta with a side salad.

It was wonderful again the next day for lunch. Just drizzle a little EVOO over the top, cover and microwave for a few minutes, top with more grated cheese.

TIP: Don’t boil the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it’s a few minutes shy of al dente, but don’t forget to reserve about 1 cup of cooking water first. The pasta will finish cooking directly in the sauce, which allows the noodles to absorb flavor.

Linguine with Tomatoes, Orange and Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. linguini or spaghetti
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest, plus ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives or green olives, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, orange zest, oregano and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and orange juice, cover and cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 4 minutes.
  3. Reduce to medium, then press on any whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon so they burst. If the pasta is not yet done, remove the skillet from the heat, cover and set aside.
  4. To the skillet, add the drained pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Bring to a simmer over medium and cook, tossing with tongs, until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Off heat, add the basil, olives and half of the cheese, then toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water if needed so the sauce coats the noodles. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and drizzle with additional oil.

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Adapted from a recipe from Rebecca Richmond for Milk Street

Mediterranean-Inspired One Pan Wonder

Treat yourself like company with this Mediterranean-inspired Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives recipe. In less than an hour, this one pan wonder works well for a weeknight dinner. It’s a mash-up from America’s Test Kitchen and Molly Stevens cookbooks. The revised recipe noted below serves six, but we halved it for just the two of us.

Cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through. Rather than searing the meat, it is rubbed with a spice mixture. The Mediterranean seasoning inspires the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts, and briny olives.

After softening the fennel in the microwave, toss it with the other vegetables and olive oil, and spread the mixture into the roasting pan, placing the tenderloins on top. The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork was done, so remove the meat, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and orange zest, and let the vegetables finish in the oven while the meat rests.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • (12- to 16-oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest, divided in 3
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry; or 6 oz. jarred packed in brine
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, combine thyme, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest, cumin, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Combine thoroughly and rub all over both tenderloins.
  3. Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and remaining teaspoon orange zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes more.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.

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