A Taste of the Mediterranean: Herb Baked Fish and French Potato Salad

Several weeks ago, I decided to try cooking some Mediterranean style meals for me and my husband. I’m not sure how it happened, but over the years he became the family chef and I admit it, I took him and his cooking skills for granted! He was more than happy to get out of the kitchen and be on the receiving instead of the serving end for a change.

Our usual diet consists primarily of chicken or fish and vegetables and we prefer to buy fresh and organic. I wanted to experiment with the Mediterranean diet because of all the research that show it’s a healthy way to eat. Remember, it’s not a diet per se, but a way of eating — a lifestyle.

Many of the recipes I’ve been trying come from Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization that has a website rich with Mediterranean diet information and recipes. I’ve also been getting some nutrition advice from the Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here are some recipes I made the other night.

Baked fish on red serving platter

Herb Baked Fish

Recipe courtesy of Oldways (slightly adapted by Diane)

Get into the habit of serving fish to your family at last twice a week. It’s a good source of protein and exposes kids to the world beyond burgers.

1 pound fresh halibut, cod or salmon ( I used haddock because my husband had just bought fillets at Harbor Fish Market)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the fish in a flat baking dish, skin side down. Rub both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with the thyme and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

Potato salad in a bowl

French Potato Salad

Recipe courtesy of Oldways (slightly adapted by Diane)

The key to this salad is adding the dressing while the potatoes are still warm. Leave the potatoes unpeeled if you wish.

6-8 medium yellow potatoes
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Drain and let cool slightly. Combine with the olive oil and mustard in a small bowl. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, chop them into a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.

Diane’s changes: I used red potatoes instead of yellow (personal preference only) and I cut them into pieces before cooking instead of after. I thought the salad was a bit dry, so would use more dressing next time.

Arugula salad on red dish

 Arugula Salad

Recipe courtesy of my daughter Katharine

(Four servings)
1 bunch arugula, washed*
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Put arugula in serving dishes and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin slices of the parmesan cheese on top.

Easy to make. Lovely flavor.

*I use a salad spinner to wash produce. Do you have one? Greatest invention ever!

If you have a recipe you’d like me to try (Mediterranean style please), send me a comment below or an email. Thank you!

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.