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Add Mediterranean Flair To Your Dinner Table

Family Features

April 13, 2023

During the past year, many people have missed the opportunity to travel and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the world, but it's easy to explore other cultures and cuisines by experimenting in the kitchen.

If you're looking to transport your taste buds to the shores of Spain or the beaches of Greece, one of the best places to start is with the Mediterranean Diet. Renowned Chef Geoffrey Zakarian recommends these tips to help home cooks elevate their dishes and easily incorporate the popular diet into everyday cooking.

Reach for Pantry Staples. There's no single definition of the Mediterranean Diet, but it's high in Vegetables, Fruits, Whole Grains, Nuts, Seeds, Olive Oil and Seafood. By keeping your pantry stocked with canned versions of ingredients like Beans and Fish you can easily add them to your favorite dishes. Yellowfin Tuna Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto and Dates and Tuna Aioli Dip with Balsamic Drizzle are flavorful ways to bring Mediterranean flair to your dinner table.

Add Seafood. Eating more Seafood is one of the leading principles of the Mediterranean Diet. Tuna Salad is one tried-and-true dish that can help incorporate Fish into your menu. To make it more nutritious, opt for Tuna that's packed in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, so you don't have to add much Mayo to the base. For example, Genova Premium Tuna provides a tasteful addition to recipes and is high in Protein, a great source of Omega-3's and has a uniquely rich and savory flavor that offers a taste of the Mediterranean in every bite.

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Tuna Aioli Dip With Balsamic Drizzle
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 4

• 6 Ounces of Genova Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil
• 1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
• 1 Dried Bay Leaf
• 1 Sprig of fresh Rosemary
• 1/3 Cup of Mayonnaise
• 2 Tablespoons of capers, drained
• 2 Anchovies
• 1/2 Lemon, Juice only (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
• Raw Vegetables, such as Carrots, Celery, Cucumber Spears, Endive Leaves, Sliced Fennel and Bell Pepper strips, for dipping

Drain the Tuna, reserving 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.

In a small saucepan, combine the Balsamic Vinegar, the Bay Leaf and the Rosemary Sprig. Bring it to a boil and reduce it until it's syrupy, about 1 Tablespoon. Let it cool slightly; discard the Bay Leaf and the Rosemary Sprig.

In a blender or a food processor, process the Tuna and the reserved Olive Oil, the Mayonnaise, the Capers, the Anchovies and the Lemon Juice to make a smooth Dip. Transfer it to a flat serving bowl. Drizzle it with the Balsamic syrup. Serve it with the raw Vegetables.

Yellowfin Tuna Pasta Salad With Arugula Pesto and Dates
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Servings: 4

• 2 Cans of (5 ounces each) Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil, drained
• 1/2 Cup of Pine Nuts
• 4 Cups of Arugula
• 1 Garlic Clove
• 2 Tablespoons of Butter (optional)
• 1 Cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for garnish (optional)
• 2 Lemons, Zest only (optional)
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
• 1/2 Teaspoon of freshly ground Black Pepper
• 3/4 Cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
• 8 Ounces of Whole-Wheat Orecchiette
• 1/2 Cup of jarred Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, chopped
• 1/2 Cup of Dates, pitted and quartered
• 1/4 Cup of Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped
• 1/4 Cup of Dill, chopped (optional)
• 1/4 Cup of Parsley, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

On a sheet tray, toast the Pine Nuts for 8-12 minutes, or until golden. Set it aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of Salted Water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with cold Water and ice. Stir the Arugula into the boiling Water and cook it until it is bright green and tender, about 30 seconds. Drain the Arugula, immediately shock it in the ice Water and set aside to fully drain; cover it with a towel.

In a blender or food processor, add the Arugula; the Garlic; the Pine Nuts; the Butter, if desired; Parmigiano-Reggiano; Lemon Zest, if desired; Salt and Pepper. Puree on high, incorporating the Olive Oil to the desired thickness.

Place the Pesto in a bowl and cover it tightly to avoid discoloring.

Bring a large pot of Salted Water to a boil.

Add the Pasta and return it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Taste the pasta for doneness 2 minutes earlier than the package's instructions. Once cooked, drain the Pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Do not rinse.

Add the Pesto gently until it is evenly distributed. Fold in the Tuna, the Sun-Dried Tomatoes, the Dates and the Olives.

Divide between the shallow bowls and finish it with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano, Dill and Parsley, if desired.

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