Quick and Easy Mediterranean Recipes

Mediterranean Food
Made Quick & Easy

By Bobbie Kitto

Two Recipes Included: Citrus-Marinated Salmon with Fennel Cream/Salmone agli agrumi con crema di finocchio and Mussels in Tomato-Saffron Broth/Moules a la Provencales

Known as the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean diet has both fascinated and intimidated world cooks.

We all want to eat healthier, but we want to consume food that makes us feel it was worth the effort to create and we can recognize. We also don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

All of these objectives can be found in the Quick and Easy Mediterranean Recipes by Amy Riolo. This is the second book of Amy’s that I have had the pleasure to review. As with her first book I reviewed, Mediterranean Life Styles for Dummies, she gives not only easy and crave worthy meals, but an overview of the Mediterranean life style and diet.

Amy Riolo

Amy explains in both books, the Mediterranean diet has more to it than just rules and recipes. This is a way of life that will allow us to enjoy our relationship with food and it stresses the importance of eating with someone we like.

Two share worthy dishes can be found on the video provided by Melissa’s produce. First recipe demonstrated is Citrus Marinated Salmon with Fennel Cream. Found on pages 72-73 this easy one pan dish can be made in less than an hour from start to finish.

Next recipe on the video is for shellfish lovers. Mussels in Tomato-Saffron Broth (pgs. 74-75) and can easily be turned into a French seafood stew with an addition of some cod and shrimp in the same amount of time. Makes for an easy meal stretch in case of Surprise Company.

Amy lives by six simple rules of life. Live each day with both pleasure and heath in mind.  Find ways to make exercise enjoyable. Begin to incorporate more plant-based food in our diet and make them simple so they can be easily incorporated into our daily schedule. Plan to eat, exercise, and socialize with friends and family more often. The most important rule is to realize that sharing food with family and friends is what makes a life worth living.

This is a great companion book for any other cookbook you may have that stresses healthful cooking. I loved the easy to follow directions and author’s notes about each recipe. The book is arranged in the order of the Mediterranean Diet food pyramid. The book rates a solid Five Stars.

Amy Riolo is an international chef, television personality, and educator. She also owns her own line of specialty foods called Amy Riolo Selections.  In her spare time she leads Eno-gastronomic tours to Italia, Greece, and Morocco with Indigo Gazell Tours.

Try these recipes compliments of the author.

Citrus-Marinated Salmon with Fennel Cream/Salmone agli agrumi con crema di finocchio

Orange and salmon are a match made in heaven. The sweet citrus flavors combine with the rich, oily textures in the salmon for a healthful dish that seems too decadent to be good for you. Fennel and yogurt are two popular Mediterranean ingredients that are as virtuous as they are delicious.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), skin on

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve fronds)

1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 oranges, 1 zested, 1 thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, orange juice, salt, and pepper together until emulsified.

Place the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish and pour marinade over the top. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Scatter fennel and onion around the sides of the salmon, and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in color, 20 to 25 minutes.

While the fish is baking, combine the Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, finely chopped, and orange zest.

Remove the fish from oven and place on a serving plate. Dollop with about ¼ cup of yogurt mixture and garnish with orange slices.

Yield: 4 servings

Mediterranean Tradition

Fennel, known to be a digestive aid, is often eaten raw in salads, braised, or roasted as in recipes like this one. Its seeds are also used as a spice and boiled to make soothing after-dinner teas.

Mussels in Tomato-Saffron Broth/Moules a la Provencales

If you’ve never made mussels before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Buy the freshest mussels possible, preferably the day you’re using them. If your local purveyor only sells muscles in a mesh bag, buy more than you need, as the bags make it seems as if all the mussels crammed into it are closed (living), but this isn’t always the case. Scrub mussels with a clean kitchen brush and rinse under cold water. Use only mussels that are closed and have no cracks. (If a mussel is only slightly open, tap it on the kitchen counter; if it closes up within a minute or two, it is safe to use.)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

2 teaspoons fresh oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar to release aroma

1/4 teaspoon saffron

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest

½ pound tomatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups Seafood Stock (see page TK)

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper

1 pound fresh mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the thyme, oregano, fennel, saffron, garlic, and orange zest, and cook, uncovered, until the garlic begins to release its aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, add in the mussels, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the mussels are open completely. Resist the urge to open the cover and check the mussels often. Each time you release steam it adds on to the cooking time and could yield tough mussels. I usually check the first time by carefully removing the lid with the steam releasing away from me. If mussels aren’t open, I quickly recover them, and allow them to cook for a few more minutes.

When mussels are ready, they are completely open. If you have some open mussels and other closed ones, remove the cooked ones with a ladle and allow the rest to continue to cook. If any still refuse to open after 10 minutes, discard them.

Taste the broth, and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Pour into individual cups or bowls, and add mussels. Sprinkle the tops with fresh parsley. I like to serve it with toasted bread crostini slathered with Aioli Sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Mediterranean Tradition

The ingredients in this recipe are based on my favorite version of the classic southern French seafood stew, bouillabaisse. To make your own seafood stew, simply double the ingredients for the broth used above. In addition to the pound (455 g) of mussels, add ½ pound (225 g) shelled shrimp, ½ pound (225 g) firm white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes into the pot at the same time that you add the mussels. Everything should be done at the same time, and you’ll have a Mediterranean seafood feast in minutes.

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Review by Bobbie Kitto

Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a free copy of the book to review. Her opinions are her own.

To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! Bobbie  highly recommends products fromMelissa’s

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Quick and Easy Mediterranean Recipes: Delicious Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Diet (New Shoe Press) Paperback – April 4, 2023
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