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MEDITERRANEAN GRAINS AND GREENS: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes by Paula Wolfert

Order "Mediterranean Grains and Greens" today!

By now, who hasn't heard of the health benefits of eating foods grown in or associated with Mediterranean cuisine. But there is more know about cuisine of this part of the world...it's not all about breads, olive oils and wine. Paul Wolfert, the grand dame of Mediterranean food and cooking wants the world to know that grains and greens are also definitive of the Mediterranean region. Grains are used in many forms; whole berries, pearled and cracked grains, flours and meals, and the products of great grains such as pasta, couscous and bulgur of which there are many varieties explained in the book.

The abundance of leafy greens and herbs found in the Mediterranean are also essential to every regional cuisine. Whether cultivated or edible wild plants, greens and herbs are used in main dishes a well as salads, soups and sauces. Foraging for wild greens was an inspiration to Wolfert and throughout the Mediterranean, she discovered wise women wearing aprons with three pockets gathering delicate greens and shoots and separating them according to their taste and texture and then combining them to create a complex balanced flavor to many dishes. There is an entire chapter devoted to the techniques for handling, storing and cooking the increasing variety of greens available in the U.S. today.

All of Paula Wolfert's books are considered the essential reference books to the foods of the Mediterranean. This one is no exception.

Greek-Style Rice with Spinach, Feta and Black Olives

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a supper dish with crusty bread

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
¾ cup finely chopped onions or leeks
½ cup fresh tomato purée reduced by boiling to 3 tablespons
½ cup long grain rice
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Oily black cured olives for garnish
Chunks of feta cheese or spoonfuls of thick yogurt for garnish

1. Wash the spinach and tender stems until the water runs clean; drain. If leave are large and crinkly, sprinkle lightly with salt and mix well. Let stand in a colander 15 minutes; rinse and squeeze out excess moisture. Shred the spinach to make about 3 cups.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch straight sided skillet. Add the scallions, onions, a pinch of salt and ¼ cup water and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. When the water evaporates, slowly let the onions turn golden, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup water, the reduced tomato purée and rice. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Spread the spinach and dill over the rice, cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat, mix, then place a double thickness of paper towel over the rice, cover again, and let stand until cooled. Taste and adjust the seasoning with black pepper and salt and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Serve at room temperature garnished with black olives and feta cheese or yogurt.

 

 

 

 
     
 
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