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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

A fresh step into spring; Mediterranean cooking at home

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Mediterranean Chicken recipe below... check it out.

Looking to brighten things up this spring? Try taking a Mediterranean culinary tour. Many ingredients in Mediterranean dishes are seasonal this time of year and heart-healthy. There are many fabulous breads and pasta from this European coast. However, there are other fresh options that make excellent plate buddies.

Fresh fish, chicken, lamb, and cured meats are all easy to cook and are perfect for starting this savory adventure.

When thinking about Mediterranean cooking, I think of quick-cooking ingredients like tomatoes, fennel, olives, and lemons. The perfect meal for me incorporates soups, sauces, and salads. Fresh fish, chicken, lamb, and cured meats are all easy to cook and are perfect for starting this savory adventure.

Soups are traditionally tomato or stock-based with a lemony kick. Simply sauté spring vegetables in a little olive oil, stir in vegetable broth and diced or crushed tomatoes, and finish with fresh lemon juice for a ten-minute soup option. A soup that can be a meal is Avgolemono. This is a chicken and rice or chicken and pasta soup that is finished with a lemon and egg mixture. This mixture thickens the soup and adds a creamy texture without using heavy cream. Be sure to temper the egg first so it does not scramble in the soup.

Sauces, similar to soups, are either tomato or stock-based. Typically, tomato sauces begin with fresh tomatoes, shallots, and garlic. Stock-based sauces begin with olive oil and shallots and a little white wine. Throw in all of your favorite coastal light vegetables and ladle these light sauces over grilled or seared meats and seafood.

I am beyond excited that we are coming back to salad season. Salads are spring and summer staples at my house. Whether you are chopping one up as a meal or a side, this European coast can throw a few savory ideas your way. Try kale, prosciutto, and roasted peppers or sliced fennel, romaine, and parsley with a lemon garlic vinaigrette. Both are fabulous in flavor and both go brilliantly with my Mediterranean Chicken recipe.

Inspired by the cooking classes I taught at Sur La Table, my Mediterranean Chicken is a quick-cooking healthy dinner option. It cooks faster than take-out and is a healthier option for you and your family. Keep these ingredients on hand throughout the summer months to create a quick scrumptious entrée anytime.

Mediterranean Chicken 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed Salt and pepper to taste 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 shallot, finely diced 1 clove garlic ½ cup dry white wine 1 cup chicken stock 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tbsp. parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken breasts one at a time in a gallon size Ziploc bag and pound with a heavy skillet to ½ inch thickness each. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear chicken breasts, in batches if needed, on both sides for 3 to 5 minutes until browned. Place all breasts in the skillet and place skillet loosely covered with foil in the heated oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of each breast reaches 165. Remove skillet from the oven. Remove chicken breasts from skillet. Do not drain skillet. Place chicken on a cutting board to rest. Return skillet to the stove. Sauté shallot and garlic in the skillet over medium-high heat for one minute. Add white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to release all of the browned bits. Add chicken stock and reduce liquids by half, approximately 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, and lemon juice. Cook stirring until heated through. Slice chicken and place on a serving plate. Cover chicken with tomato and olive sauce. Garnish with parsley.

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