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Mediterranean Easter (Part 1)


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Ingredients for Mediterranean Dishes
Ingredients for Mediterranean Dishes
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Urban, Martina
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La Belle Cuisine


Mediterranean Easter (Part 1)

Recipe Source:
Williams-Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook

General Editor Chuck Williams, Menu Concepts and Recipes
Joyce Goldstein, 2000, Readon Publications Incorporated


“Easter is a joyous holiday in the Mediterranean, where it is usually celebrated
with a midday or evening feast laden with symbols of the birth of a new season.
Crisp greens, fresh seafood, tender spring lamb, fragrant herbs, plump eggplants
and artichokes, sweet honey, and rich nuts and cheese – each is a gift from the reawakening earth and each finds its way onto the Mediterranean Easter table…
…You don’t have to observe the holiday to enjoy this Easter repast; its requires
only a desire to celebrate the season. The food for this meal is perfect for family-
style serving, with everything passed informally on platters at the table…”


Gypsy Spinach Pie
Salmon Dolmas with Avgolemono
Rack of Spring Lamb Marinated in Garlic,
Allspice, Cumin and Thyme
Artichoke Hearts with Tomatoes and Currants
Stuffed Eggplant
Asparagus & Potatoes with Almonds & Mint
Citrus & Honey Cheesecake with Nut Crust

 Each recipe yields 6 servings and can easily be doubled to serve 12.

Wine Recommendations:  With the spinach pie, serve a Sauvignon Blanc
from Chile, France or California, or a moderately rich Italian Soave. With
the salmon, pour a dry Chenin Blanc or a Washington State Riesling. For
the lamb, offer a hearty, rich Italian red such as Barolo, or an American
Merlot. With dessert, a Spanish cream or brown Sherry.

Gypsy Spinach Pie

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) pie (6 servings)

“This robust two-crust pie also makes a nice lunch on its own.”

Basic pie pastry for a double-crust pie shell
2 lb (1 kg) spinach (about 4 bunches),
washed well and stemmed; or a mixture
of beet (beetroot) greens, sorrel and
Swiss chard (silverbeet), about 8-9 cups;
or two 10-oz (315 g) packages frozen
chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter or
olive oil (2 fl oz/60 ml)
2 bunches green (spring) onions, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) dried currants, soaked
in warm water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup (3/4 oz/20 g) chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup (3/4 oz/20 g) chopped fresh dill
4 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup 1 oz/30 g) toasted bread crumbs
Olive oil for brushing

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Roll out the pastry for the bottom crust and use it to line a 9-inch (23-cm)
pie pan. Roll out the pastry for the top crust and set it aside.
Place the spinach or greens with the water clinging to the leaves in a large frying pan and stir over medium heat until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain
well, chop coarsely, and squeeze as dry as possible.
Heat the butter or oil in a small sauté pan. Add the green onions and cook
until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
Add this mixture to the chopped greens and season well with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Fold in the pine nuts, drained currants, parsley and
dill. Slice the hard-cooked eggs.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs on a layer in the bottom of the pastry-lined pie
pan, then add the greens mixture. Top with the sliced eggs. Brush the edge
of the bottom crust with water, place the top crust on the pie and trim the excess dough, then crimp the edges together. Cut a steam hole in the center
of the top crust and decorate the top with the pastry trimmings [if desired]. Brush the crust top with olive oil and bake on the middle rack of the oven
until golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10
minutes before slicing.


Salmon Dolmas with Avgolemono

Serves 6

“In traditional dolmas, a rice filling is wrapped in the grape
leaves and fresh lemon juice is squeezed over the top.”

1 1/8 lb (560 g) salmon fillet, skinned
12 bottled grape leaves, rinsed of brine
and stemmed
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) fish stock or
chicken stock
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh dill
Lemon wedges

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Cut the salmon into
twelve 1 1/2-oz (45-g) strips, each about 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) long and
1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide.  Wrap each piece in a grape leaf. Place the
dolmas seam-side down in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle the fish stock
or chicken stock over the dolmas and bake until the fish is firm but not
mushy, about 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks and lemon juice together until
frothy. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and
fold them into the yolks.
Remove the dolmas to warm individual plates. Pour the stock into a small sauté pan. Add the egg mixture to the warm stock, whisking constantly
until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the dolmas, sprinkle
with pepper and the chopped dill and serve at once, garnished with
lemon wedges.


Rack of Spring Lamb Marinated in Garlic,
Allspice, Cumin and Thyme

Serves 6

“The marinade combines Greek, Turkish
and North African flavors.”

For the marinade:
1 onion, grated
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves,
or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) olive oil

For the lamb:
2 racks of lamb, trimmed, or 12 lamb chops
Oil for brushing chops
Salt to taste for chops

To make the marinade, combine the onion, garlic, lemon juice, zests,
mustard, allspice, cumin, cayenne, thyme and ground pepper in a food processor or blender; purée. Gradually add the olive oil until the mixture
is blended.
Place the lamb in a glass or plastic container and coat the meat with the
marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.
To cook the racks, preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Sear the racks in a cast-iron frying pan over high heat or on a hot griddle
until browned on all sides, then transfer to a roasting pan and roast in the
oven until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of a rack reads 125 degrees F (52  degrees C), about 10-12 minutes. Let the lamb rest for 10 minutes on a carving board, covered [loosely] with aluminum foil, before slicing; meat will be medium rare.
To cook the chops instead, preheat a broiler (griller). Or, prepare a fire in
a grill and position the oiled grill rack 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) above the fire. Brush the chops with oil, sprinkle with salt and broil or grill them for 3
minutes on each side for rare, or 4 minutes on each side for medium rare.

Mediterranean Easter, Part 2

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