If you follow along on Instagram, you may remember that I recently received The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s huge! Packed with 500 new recipes, this book surpassed my expectations (even for an ATK book, you know how much I love their recipes).
This book had me intrigued from the moment I first heard it was in the works. If I had to categorize the way I eat, I would most accurately fall under the Mediterranean diet. My day-to-day consumption focuses heavily on vegetables, legumes, whole grains, dairy, and healthy fats with animal protein (fish and poultry) often second, or even third thought.
I don’t know about you, but from time to time I find myself in a “cooking rut”, eating similar meals from week to week. So when I first flipped through this book all I could think was how excited and newly inspired I was to add variety back into my weekly meals while still maintaining a healthy outlook. These recipes are flavorful, accessible, seasonal, and most importantly, they show how fun and satisfying eating healthy can be.
“Our recipes are authentic, but accessible; you won’t have to search for esoteric ingredients you’ll never use again. Some recipes hew closely to the traditional recipes, and others use ingredients in ways that follow the diet but provides more options. We knew that we could wholeheartedly embrace the tenets of Mediterranean diet while also translating its vibrant, healthy ingredients, smaller portion sizes, and less-meat-and-more-vegetables approach into interesting, appealing recipes.”
In addition to the hundreds of Mediterranean recipes (accompanied by nutritional information), this book includes in-depth information regarding the diet itself, pantry must-haves, a complete FAQ on olive oil, and even recipes for homemade spice blends like Za’atar, Ras el Hanout, and Green Zhoug.
Nearly every recipes features a “why it works” blurb on how the recipe came to be and why certain ingredients and processes are called for. I love this information ATK adds to their recipes, not only because it explains the recipe and the importance of following it, but because there’s always a takeaway that can often be applied to future recipes.
Each and every recipe in this book is absolutely stunning and I can say with certain that there isn’t one recipe I wouldn’t try myself (I obsessively read it cover to cover). I particularly can’t wait to try the Olive-Oil Yogurt Cake, Grilled Swordfish Skewers with Tomato-Scallion Caponata, and the Chickpea Cakes with Fennel and Arugula. I choose to share this recipe for Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Feta, and Croutons because it exemplifies how a simple ingredient list can lead to an incredible meal. Packed with flavor and texture, this dish surprised me, and I guarantee it will surprise you too.
Key concepts to keep in mind when following a Mediterranean diet from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook:
- Rethink your plate by choosing a veggie or grain as the main focus
- Moderation is key
- Eat what’s fresh and in season
- Eat beans and whole grains everyday
- Eat more fish and less red meat
- Use meat as a flavoring
- Serve fresh fruit and carefully choose sweets for dessert
- Embrace variety
- Meal plan
The types of recipes you’ll find in The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen:
- Meze, antipasti, tapas, & small plates
- Rice & grain
- Pasta & couscous
- Poultry & meat
- Breads, flatbreads & pizzas
- Fruit & sweets
- 3 slices French or Italian bread, cut into ½-inch pieces (4 cups)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 5 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 6 large eggs
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450°F. Toss bread with 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread bread into even layer in greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish; set aside.
- Whisk garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, tomato paste, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and toss to combine. Transfer tomato mixture to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and push tomatoes towards center of sheet. Scrape any remaining garlic and tomato paste from bowl into center of tomatoes; set bowl aside without washing.
- Bake bread on upper rack and tomatoes on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden and tomatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove croutons from oven and let cool in dish. Continue to bake tomatoes until blistered and browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oil to croutons, gently fold to combine, and smooth into even layer. Make 6 shallow indentations (about 2 inches wide) in surface of bread-tomato mixture using back of spoon. Crack 1 egg into each indentation and season eggs with salt and pepper.
- Bake until whites are just beginning to set but still have some movement when dish is shaken, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer dish to wire rack, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with feta and remaining 2 teaspoons oregano and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serve immediately.
I received a copy of The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, this recipe is used with their permission.