Mediterranean Feast for Two

So I finally got around to making the aubergine recipe from My New Roots! And to stick with the Mediterranean theme, I made patatas bravas (spanish) with a smoked paprika sauce from the newest issue of Bon Ap, and a no-greens greek salad with shaved lemon and feta cheese. Even though there’s no meat in this meal, we literally fell into a food coma and watched all two hours of Sleepless in Seattle, unusual for a busy Sunday night. Definitely try these aubergines; I was very impressed by the paprika sauce for the potatoes too (which reminded me a little of hungarian goulash). I adapted both recipes a little bit, and here are some step-by-step photos.

Baked Turkish Aubergines

also Aubergines n’ Greens taken from MNR (Serves 2)

1 large eggplant

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

Feta cheese

Honey

Crushed red pepper

Toasted sesame seeds

Ground pepper

Mint (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Halve the eggplant lengthwise and score at an angle to make cross-hatch pattern. Drizzle olive oil on each half and sprinkle with salt.

Place on baking sheet and bake in oven 35 minutes, until very tender. Take out and set oven to broiler. Crumble a generous amount of feta on eggplant halves and place in oven for another 2-3 minutes until cheese starts to melt (but keep a close eye on it!). After taking it out of the oven, drizzle a couple tsp of honey on each half (or more if you like), sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes, and top with fresh mint and pepper. 

These lovely ladies are great as a side dish or main, just scoop out the insides. They are meaty, spicy and ever-so-sweet! I opted out of the sesame tahini the other recipe calls for, but I dont think it missed it at all— you could really taste the eggplant this way. Next time ill try these with goat cheese and caramelized onions for a bit of variety… because they are too good not to make again!

Patatas Bravas (a traditional Spanish tapa dish)

as seen in Bon Appetit Magazine

Note: rather than using Russet potatoes I used baby dutch potatoes which have a lot of flavor and are the perfect size for dipping. I also opted out of frying these and baked them instead making them a lot less greasy. I used good smoked paprika Tia Di brought back from Spain and added a touch of cayenne for spice. Serves 4

1-2 lb dutch yellow baby potatoes

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp smoked paprika (I used Pimenton de la Vera)

1/2 tsp of cayenne (spice it up!)

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and ground pepper

(Heat oven to 400F.)

For Sauce: Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent (about 8 min). Add bay lead and next 3 ingredients and cook, stirring constantly for 2 min. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until flavors comt together, about 10 more min. Remove bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and purée in a blender or food processor. Serve warm with potatoes (below).

For Patatas: Cut potatoes into wedges, leaving skins on, and toss with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. Bake in oven 45 min or until tender and slightly golden. Sprinkle with more salt, if needed, and serve with dipping sauce (above)


No-Greens Greek Salad

Cucumber, quarter-sliced

Ripe vine tomatoes, quarter sliced

Kalamata olives, halved

Garbanzo beans, rinsed

Extra virgin olive oil

Feta cheese

Lemon juice and peel

Fresh mint

Toss first four ingredients together with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Crumble large chunks of feta on top, grate or zest some lemon peal (trust me, more is better here) and top with fresh mint leaves and some ground pepper. Opa!

So there it is, a mediterranean feast for two. Though I regret not having friends over because this really is party food. It’s healthy, its comforting, its fun to prepare and it goes great with some homebrew (Red IPA is what we’re drinking here). Like they say in Greece, “Stin Iyiamas” also known as “to our health!” 

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