Recipes from ‘Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean’

All of the “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” recipes are on the table in less than 45 minutes, with many clocking in under 25 minutes. To get the job done, the recipes occasionally call for some prepared ingredients, like the canned beans and ready-made pesto stirred into the Soupe au Pistou. “If […]

All of the “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” recipes are on the table in less than 45 minutes, with many clocking in under 25 minutes. To get the job done, the recipes occasionally call for some prepared ingredients, like the canned beans and ready-made pesto stirred into the Soupe au Pistou. “If you’re doing a pistou, where you’re just adding some to the soup, jarred (pesto) is fine. Look, whatever is going to get people in the kitchen, if that makes it easier to make a soup, there’s no problem,” Kimball said.

ExploreNew ‘Milk Street’ cookbook offers ‘rules’ to elevate home cooking

Christopher Kimball and the Milk Street team deliver Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are easy enough for any day of the week. Courtesy of Channing Johnson

Credit: Channing Johnson

Credit: Channing Johnson

ExploreCOOKBOOK REVIEW: The essence of good cooking

Few recipes are easier than the Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken, which transforms the ubiquitous chicken and rice combo into an elegant weeknight event. It tastes like risotto, but it’s made without the tedious add-a-quarter-cup-of-broth-and-stir technique. “If you see people making risotto in Italy, they make it in about 10 or 15 minutes. They stir it like crazy (at the end) and they get it over with and they’re done. Risotto should not be hard,” Kimball explained.

If there is one takeaway from this cookbook, it’s that gourmet meals don’t require gourmet effort. This writer threw together the Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu, and my 17-year-old son announced, “It tastes like a holiday!” With “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” we can celebrate every night of the week.

RECIPES

“Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” offers fast, relatable recipes, full of flavors that are as diverse as the Mediterranean itself. Like the other recipes in this book, the following dishes deliver exciting and unexpected results using ingredients you already have on hand.

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu, from "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean" (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu, from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Credit: Connie Miller

Credit: Connie Miller

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu

Don’t skimp on the mint in this flavorful vegetable ragu. It makes the vegetables taste light and bright, yet not particularly minty. “Mint is one of the greatest underused herbs,” Kimball told the AJC. “Mint is a game changer, like lemon juice. It perks something up.”

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu

  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped, divided
  • 1 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the steak and brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total, flipping the pieces once. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan over medium-high, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the eggplant and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the tomatoes with juices, the garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the eggplant has begun to break down, about 5 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in any accumulated beef juices and half the mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and place on a platter. Spoon the eggplant mixture on and around the steak, then sprinkle with feta and the remaining mint.
    Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 478 calories (percent of calories from fat, 53), 40 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 29 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 120 milligrams cholesterol, 477 milligrams sodium.

Recipes excerpted from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean.” Copyright © 2021 by CPK Media LLC. Photographs by Connie Miller. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken, from "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean" (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken, from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Credit: Connie Miller

Credit: Connie Miller

Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken

Unlike chicken breasts, which can easily overcook and dry out, chicken thighs retain their flavor and moisture while the rice cooks. Beat the Arborio rice at the end to make a creamy risotto texture without the usual risotto work.

Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup), divided
  • Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the broth, covered, until simmering, 2 to 3 minutes; set aside, covered.
  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine has mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the hot broth, the rice and chicken. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce to low and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir, then re-cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chives, butter and about three-fourths of the cheese, then stir vigorously until the butter is melted and the rice is creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
    Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 568 calories (percent of calories from fat, 57), 35 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 34 grams total fat (12 grams saturated), 178 milligrams cholesterol, 516 milligrams sodium.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika and Oregano, from "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean" (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika and Oregano, from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Credit: Connie Miller

Credit: Connie Miller

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika and Oregano

For this recipe, the Milk Street team advises: “Don’t use a heavy hand when pounding the pork, which can result in tears and uneven thickness. And when pounding, work from the center of the piece outward to the edges.” Kimball prefers to use the bottom of a 2-quart saucepan, rather than a mallet, to achieve an even thickness. “If you have something that’s bigger, you hit the entire surface all at once,” he explained.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika and Oregano

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 (1 1/4-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, smoked paprika, dried oregano and sugar; set aside. Halve each tenderloin crosswise, then halve each piece lengthwise, stopping about 1/4 inch short of cutting all the way through; open the meat like a book. Using a meat pounder or mallet, pound the pork to an even 1/4-inch thickness, then season each piece all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil until shimmering. Place 2 pieces of pork in the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second sides are browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Lightly brush some paprika oil onto each piece, then flip the pork and brush the second sides. Transfer to a platter.
  • Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and pork. Brush the remaining paprika oil onto the pork, then let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano.
    Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 499 calories (percent of calories from fat, 50), 59 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 27 grams total fat (5 grams saturated), 184 milligrams cholesterol, 179 milligrams sodium.

Soupe au Pistou, from "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean" (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Soupe au Pistou, from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean” (Voracious; 2021; $35). Courtesy of Connie Miller, CB Creatives Inc.

Credit: Connie Miller

Credit: Connie Miller

Soupe au Pistou

Why use a combination of broth and water for the soup base? “I think it allows other flavors to come through if you’re not so stock-heavy,” Kimball told the AJC. The beans are added in the last few minutes of cooking because canned cannellini beans are already soft and only need to be warmed through.

Soupe au Pistou

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 ounces small pasta, such as ditalini or elbows
  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto, divided, plus more to serve
  • In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and tomatoes, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown and the tomatoes begin to break down, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 2 cups water, then bring to a simmer. Stir in the pasta and zucchini. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is almost tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, the zucchini is completely tender and the beans are warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Using tongs, gently squeeze any tomatoes that are still whole so they burst.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, then swirl 1 tablespoon pesto into each serving and drizzle with additional oil. Serve with additional pesto on the side.
    Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 491 calories (percent of calories from fat, 29), 23 grams protein, 65 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams fiber, 16 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 529 milligrams sodium.

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Traci J. Lewis

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