Monday, July 11, 2011

A Greek Feast

I love Mediterranean food. It's crazy how much I enjoy fish now because when I was younger I definitely was not a fan. I didn't even have seafood until I was 16! My favorite meal: branzino with lemon potatoes and a greek salad. They serve this meal at my favorite restaurant: Taverna Kyclades. I could eat here every day. No, really. Every one of my friends will let you know that if we make plans to go out to dinner, and you let me choose the place--- it will be: kick the ladies (inside joke). I attempted to make the meal myself, or my interpretation/variation of these 3 dishes. I so hope you make them at home because this was simply DELICIOUS. 

I started out with the lemon potatoes because these take about an hour in the oven. 

Ingredient List:                                                       
1c water
1/3 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried rosemary
2 cubes chicken bouillon
black pepper
6 potatoes, peeled & quartered (or sliced)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all of the ingredients above, minus the potatoes into a bowl and mix. Put to the side. Peel and quarter potatoes and arrange them evenly in the bottom of a medium sized baking dish. Pour the olive oil mixture over potatoes. 
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, turning occasionally. You can remove the foil the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Yield: 4 servings. 
While the potatoes are in the oven, prepare your branzino. Branzino is a European sea bass. It's a white fish that is low in fat but high in taste. 

Ingredient List:
4- 1lb. whole branzino, scaled & gutted, heads & tails removed
4 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced & 1 cut in wedges
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
finely chopped parsley, for serving
Light a grill  or preheat a grill pan. Season fish cavities with salt and pepper. Stuff each cavity with a thyme sprig and a bay leaf and 2 lemon slices. Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. 
Grill the branzino over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp and just cooked thru (about 7 minutes on each side). 
Sprinkle some parsley on top and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings. 
While the fish is on the grill, start preparing your Greek salad.

Ingredient List:
1 head romaine lettuce (not typically in Greek salad, but Taverna usually adds it, and I so enjoy it)
1-2 tomatoes, heirloom or any large red tomato, wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
feta cheese (however much you like; in this household, more feta, mo' betta ;)
1 T chopped fresh parsley
3T red wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
*usually, Greek salads have green peppers (pepperocini) in them; but I couldn't find any, so I omitted them. Feel free to subtract what you don't like/don't have!

Begin making the dressing first. Add red wine vinegar in bowl along with the parsley. Slowly add the olive oil in thin streams while whisking, thus emulsifying the dressing. Set aside. Begin assembling salad. Add dressing and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Try not to drool and resist eating the whole thing. I barely did. 

What did we have for dessert you ask? I had a lot of blackberries, strawberries and blueberries in my fridge, and I knew we wouldn't eat them all, and was reluctant to throw them out, so I used the strawberry sorbet recipe and made multi-berry sorbet! It was refreshing after this meal. 

What do you think?

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