The Mediterranean “diet” is different than other diets. It’s been around much longer, for one thing—people living in the region have eaten this way for centuries, and it’s been gaining popularity around the world for nearly 50 years— and, partly because of its longevity, it’s been proven to have myriad health benefits, from disease prevention to weight loss to improving cognitive function. But no diet, no matter how healthy, is sustainable unless the food is satisfying and, dare we say, a bit exciting. Anyone who has been to the Mediterranean knows this food is both. The recipes in this book are modern, fresh, and full of flavor combinations you may not have encountered before (think nutty tahini with earthy mushrooms, puckery preserved lemons with savory lamb sausage, and tangy pomegranate molasses with fresh halloumi cheese).
We were careful, however, to make sure that “modern and fresh” doesn’t mean the ingredients are esoteric or the recipes are inaccessible for the average home cook. We’ve demystified flavor-building ingredients like za’atar, sumac, and harissa in detailed All Abouts, which will explain how to shop for what we think will become your new pantry staples. And the simple yet powerful flavor boosters you already know and love—like herbs, garlic, and lemons—get put to work, too. We aimed to create foolproof recipes that wouldn’t be relegated to the “weekend project” category— streamlined recipes that could be made any night of the week, while still boasting deep food appeal.