I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

June 10, 2010

Baked or Roasted Fish (p. 354) with Skordalia (p. 273) and Risotto con Funghi Shitake (p. 229)

Last night was Matt's and my 3rd anniversary so I decided to tackle three recipes for a delicious and special meal.

First up was Baked or Roasted Fish, which I chose salmon steaks for. Rub olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan and then add your fish of choice (the book also recommends haddock or sea bass) and rub a little oil into the top of the fish as well. In a small bowl, combine more oil, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs (I used rosemary, but you could do anything depending on what flavor you want), and hot red pepper flakes.  Pour this mixture over the fish.

Roast the fish for about 20 minutes, basting with the pan juices. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Risotto con Funghi Shitake actually calls for dried porcini, but Fresh Market only offered me two types of dried mushroom -- shitake or lobster (at $11.99 a packet.) Shitake it was.

The dried mushrooms need to be soaked in a bowl of very hot water for about 45 minutes before they can be used. I set mine in a bowl and went for a lovely walk around the lake with my husband where we saw some awkward teenage goslings. Once around the lake was perfect timing -- when I got back the mushrooms were plump and juicy.

At this point, strain the mushrooms and reserve the water they were soaking in. Rinse the mushrooms with fresh water and then chop them coarsely.

The recipe calls for the remaining water from the mushrooms to be run through a sieve or cheesecloth, but I had neither. I just threw it in with chicken stock (veggie is also okay, I just had the chicken already open in my fridge) and began to simmer them together.

In a skillet, sauté minced yellow onion in olive oil for about 15 minutes and then stir in arborio rice and the mushrooms. Mix the ingredients together until the rice is completely coated in the olive oil and onion mixture.

The simmering stock can now be ladled slowly into the rice dish, just a little at a time. Let the rice absorb the majority of the stock before adding more liquid. Continue to do this until the rice is done (when it is al dente with a little bite at the center) or until all the liquid has been used. Once I began adding the stock, the rice took about 20 minutes.

When the risotto has been removed from the heat stir in grated cheese (I used parmigian) and salt and pepper. Serve with more cheese sprinkled on top.

Even though Matt and I don't really like mushrooms this was pretty good. Next time I would chop the mushrooms more finely (their texture is really what grosses me out) but otherwise, this is a pretty quick and easy risotto recipe.

Since the fish was so simply prepared, I wanted to make a sauce for it. Skordalia is a "Greek Garlic Sauce for Fish or Vegetables" and is often used as part of the Friday meal in Greece.

The recipe calls for a baked potato, but I wanted to speed through that process a little, so I just "baked" mine in the microwave, as per my mom's instructions. Remove the skins from the softened potato and mash it up with a fork. Tear a piece of country bread into chunks and soak them in water for about a minute. Once the bread has been removed from the water, squeeze as much liquid as possible from the pieces.

In a large mortar (larger, in fact, than any mortar I own -- I had to upgrade bowls midway through this process) grind salt and garlic together into a paste. Add the bread and continue pounding until combined, and then do the same with the potato. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture and stir continuously. After about half of the olive oil has been poured in, add strained yogurt (I just used Fage) and then the rest of the olive oil, slowly. This will create a very thick and creamy sauce (and a lot of it.) Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and serve on the side of the fish.

I was really hoping this would be similar to Anissa's Garlic Sauce, and I event amped up the garlic, but it's definitely a completely different kind of sauce. Still, I enjoyed it, and it added a nice flavor to the fish. I need to figure out something else to eat it on, though, because it makes a ton.

Happy Anniversary to Matt and me!

wine -- $8.99 (we only needed about 1/4 cup for the recipe, so we also had this with dinner)
salmon -- $11.32
Total Cost of Baked or Roasted Fish: $20.31 (with one serving leftover for lunch today)

lemon -- $.79
yogurt -- $1.89
potato -- $.97
bread -- $3.49 (with plenty leftover)
Total Cost of Skordalia: $7.14 (any ideas what to do with the rest of it?)

dried mushrooms -- $6.99
onion -- $.85
Total Cost of Risotto con Funghi Shitake: $7.84 (with two servings leftover)


  1. happy anniversary, lovebirds! We should do a cooking retreat and blog our way through it.

  2. I love this idea. Move somewhere closer and then let's do it!


Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.