Fresh Fridays

April 17, 2015
Vol. VII No. 8
In This Issue
Now that spring is finally here, green is appearing all around us. Buds sprout from the ground, leaves grow on the trees, and it's time for the first crop of edible spring greens to be harvested.

As much as we love our hardy winter greens like chard, kale, and collards, we look forward to this time of year when a variety of buttery lettuces and delicate greens become available. It's our first taste of all of the wonderful produce to come in the next several months.

In the Mediterranean, greens play an important role on the table, and they are often a source of local pride. They are one of the easiest foods to grow, and that means they are abundant, inexpensive, and prolific in home gardens. Spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress, romaine, chicory, endive, butter lettuce... the list of varieties goes on. Each green has a unique texture and flavor that is best celebrated simply in a salad with some light dressing or barely cooked. It's easy to get creative with so many greens to choose from!

Photo from National Geographic

Foraging for wild edible greens is a traditional pastime in the Mediterranean. According to Paula Wolfert, author of Mediterranean Grains and Greens:

"Today, in most of the places where I have foraged, wild greens are revered as the finest yield of the earth. Whether in the town of Cibin along the Euphrates in southeastern Anatolia, or an hour's drive from Heraklion on the island of Crete, or on the outskirts of Campobasso in Italy, along the Tunisian coast south of Sfax, or in an area not far from the center of Jerusalem, I foraged with people who still believe that the earth's bounty is there for the taking. Sometimes it was wild asparagus and wild garlic that they were after, or sow thistle, or nettles and mallow, or wild salsify, or wild greens far more exotic. I have seen them smile when they find these treasures, smiles that make them grow." (XV)

Spring greens are great because they don't require a lot of prep or cooking, they are easily interchangeable in recipes, and they are good for your health! Greens have barely any calories, and many are excellent sources of vitamin A.

Read on for some delicious Mediterranean-inspired spring greens recipes!

Click on a title or photo below to go to the recipe.
This is Paula Wolfert's favorite recipe for greens, adapted from her book Mediterranean Grains and Greens. This recipe makes us recall fondly her trips with Oldways to Turkey, Greece, and southern Italy where she relentlessly pursued horta, or greens, and older ladies who would show her their "old ways" of cooking them.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Wolfert for The Oldways Table.
Fattoush is a classic bread salad from Lebanon, making use of leftover pita (toasted or fried) and mixing it with greens and vegetables. It belongs to the family of dishes called fatta, which means crushed or crumbs. 

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Al Wadi Al Akhdar
This salad features a slightly spicy tomato vinaigrette - a perfect complement to spring greens. The recipe calls for spinach or escarole, but feel free to substitute any full-bodied combination of greens you have on hand.

Recipe by Diane Kochilas for Mediterra; photo courtesy of Mediterra.

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be. 

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        





Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being.       



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Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day
is an international celebration of raw-milk cheese and the individuals who bring it to life from the pasture to the plate.

Join fellow cheese enthusiasts around the world and learn more about this delicious, nutritious, and traditional style of cheese.

Go to the Cheese of Choice Events page for more information.  

Vegetable Literacy
by Deborah Madison
In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America's leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light.

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In this new reissue of Leafy Greens, Bittman describes and explains more than 30 different types of greens - from arugula to kale to wakame (a sea vegetable) - and offers healthy recipes for each green along the way.

by Nava Atlas
Celebrated vegan and vegetarian cookbook author Nava Atlas serves up a comprehensive collection of scrumptious recipes, all featuring ultra-healthy, super-nutritious leafy greens. Kale, collards, spinach, Asian greens, and many more leafy greens are a breeze to grow and prepare - and these 125 recipes showcase the most commonly used varieties in a wide selection of flavorful dishes.