cover image Mediterranean Grains and Greens: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes

Mediterranean Grains and Greens: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes

Paula Wolfert. HarperCollins Publishers, $27.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017251-0

In this return to the well of Mediterranean cooking, Wolfert (Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean; Mediterranean Cooking) takes an agreeable, sensible approach. Rather than repeating early recipes, she directs readers to the books in which they appear, and instead of trying to adapt recipes for dishes that would be patently impossible to re-create here, she simply describes such delicacies as Cretan ""Scarf"" Pies, filled with an elaborate collection of wild greens, in appealing sidebars. Nevertheless, there are plenty of challenges and specialties, e.g., Honeycomb Tripe Stew with Celery, Parsley, and Sardo Cheese and Homemade Cretan Rustic Pasta with goat's milk and skinned wheat. Young Mustard Greens with Pomegranate Molasses is a simple dish--for readers who can get their hands on pomegranate molasses. Wolfert can always be counted on to deliver some real discoveries: The Monk's Pizza with Pan-Seared Cabbage, made with a yeastless dough; Black Sea-Style Chard Bundles Filled with Veal, Toasted Corn Kernels, and Fresh Mint; and Bran-Crusted Barbecued Whole Fish with Chard Stem Tahini Sauce. Wolfert's expertise lies in linking the various Mediterranean cuisines, as in the highly informative mini-essays on rough-hewn pastas such as fregula, couscous, miftool and mhamma, and on Spanish rice dishes that accompany recipes like Tunisian Fish Couscous with Pumpkin and Leafy Greens and Black Rice with Mussels and Shrimp. (Sept.)