Mediterranean Meals: More Than Just Olives

feta-florentine-omeletAlthough popular conception would have you believe that the vaunted Mediterranean diet mostly consists of olive oil and vegetables, in reality, it also involves a lot of pastured eggs and dairy. What self-respecting Greek would be without her feta cheese? Or halloumi or kasseri? Then there’s the whole extra-thick, double-strained yogurt that has caught on like wildfire in the States. And what about egg-drop lemon soup? Yet another Greek classic.

Note that the key word here is “pastured.” If you’re living in the Greek countryside, you probably have access to sheep and/or goat milk and all the assorted delicious dairy products that go along with that lush milk. (And the sheep and goats most likely spend their days chomping away at grass and flowers and shrubs and whatever vegetation they can get their hooves on.) You probably also have eggs from hens clucking about and pecking for bugs while they avoid getting stepped on by a goat or a sheep.

Wild greens are another staple of Mediterranean diets and one that we tend to be sorely lacking. From dandelion greens to sorrel to arugula, if you can forage it, it’s going to end up on your plate. Many of our unwanted lawn weeds are actually tasty edible greens. (Young spring greens are tender and mild enough to eat outright; older, more bitter greens are best when lightly cooked.) A great way to save money and boost your health is to NOT spray your lawn: eat your weeds, don’t douse them with chemicals!

In homage to the Mediterranean way of eating, I came up with an easy dish that combines some of my favorite things I love most about Mediterranean food: eggs, cheese, and greens. The potato tortillas made for a nice side dish. In an Irish-Mexican kind of way.

Feta Florentine Omelette with Potato Tortilla Cakes
Assume 1 or 2 eggs and 1/4 pound potatoes per person. How much cheese and greens you use is completely up to you and your taste buds. I like a lot of both!

For the cakes:
Yukon Golds, redskins. or any other small, waxy potato, skins left on and potatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces
Sea salt
Masa harina (a corn flour used to make tortillas; Bob’s Red Mill sells a very tasty whole-grain masa harina)
Butter from pastured cows (Kerrygold and Organic Valley are great choices; Kerrygold is my favorite)

For the omelettes:
Eggs, preferably from pastured hens
Feta, preferably made of sheep or goat milk (which are more likely to come from pastured animals than domestic cow’s-milk Feta is)
Assorted greens (dandelion, arugula, baby spinach, sorrel, whatever you like)
Butter from pastured cows

To make the cakes, simmer potatoes in a pot half-filled with water for 10 minutes. Drain well. Mash potatoes with a pinch of salt until smooth, then add enough masa harina to make a dough that’s stiff enough to shape into cakes but not so dry that it crumbles and falls apart. Shape into balls (start with just enough dough to be able to close your fist around it) and then press into cakes about 4″ in diameter. Heat a dab of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until sizzling. Cook cakes in batches, flipping them over after about 3 minutes or when cake has turned a golden brown. Add more butter when the cakes start to stick to the pan.

To make the omelettes, whisk eggs in a bowl until well blended. Hand-crumble the Feta and stir that in. Stir in the greens. Heat another dab of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until butter is sizzling. Pour in egg mixture and cook, every minute or so gently stirring the eggs with a heatproof spatula to scramble them, for 4 minutes or until they’re cooked through (i.e., not runny) but are still soft.

Serve your Mediterranean omelette alongside your Irish-Mexican cakes. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

You may also like:

A Mediterranean Take on Baked Cheese

Unleashing Your Inner (and Thrifty) Gourmet

Consider A Mediterranean Diet For Optimal Health

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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  1. Sounds so yummy! Thanks, Lisa

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