Taste every bright and fresh ingredient in ‘Modern Mediterranean’

Print

When “Modern Mediterranean” landed on our desk, we were just as enamored by the bright, happy colors and gorgeous photographs of chef Melia Marden’s stylish recipes and eclectic home as we were by her fairy-tale backstory.

Each summer, Marden’s parents, New York artists Brice and Helen Marden, whisked their kids off to the family’s vacation home on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra. It was there, feasting on dishes such as just-caught charred whole fish and ripe vine tomatoes with tangy feta, that Marden developed her culinary ethos.  Then in 2008, with very little restaurant experience, the French Culinary Institute grad became the executive chef at New York hot spot The Smile, where she serves “Manhattan Mediterranean.”

“It’s not pure Mediterranean food,” she says. “It’s all the different versions of the cuisine converged with NYC — like the Greek restaurants in Astoria.” Now the 32-year-old shares her story, along with her love for simple, flavorful dishes, in her new cookbook.

“When you eat something that’s really heavy and has lots of different ingredients, you feel weighed down,” explains Marden. “Mediterranean cooking is light and healthy. The flavors are bright and fresh, you can taste every ingredient that’s in the dish — and it makes you feel good afterwards.”

Melia_p011

Bold decor
“My decorating style is definitely a collaboration with my husband. He’s been collecting toys his whole life, so it’s become a mashed-up version of our styles. I’m a little more romantic and I like antiques, but he likes more pop-y colors and pop culture so it’s kind of melded together. We go to a lot of antique fairs and find things we think are striking, and then we build these little collections.”

ModernMediterranean_p150

Recipe: Penne with sugar snap peas and ricotta

Ingredients
1 pound (455 grams) sugar snap peas, strings removed
Kosher salt
1 pound (455 grams) penne rigate
3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 grams) fresh ricotta at room temperature
¼ cup (25 grams) finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup (25 grams) finely chopped fresh parsley
Fresh ricotta

Instructions:

1. Cut the snap peas crosswise on a bias into pieces 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) thick. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne rigate and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup (240 milliliters) of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta, place in a large bowl, and toss with a little olive oil.

3. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) oil. Heat for 30 seconds, then add the shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add the snap peas, D⁄e teaspoon salt, the chili flakes, and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the snap peas are tender but still bright green and slightly crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Add the pasta, ricotta, and reserved cooking water to the pot and stir well to combine. Cook until the pasta is warmed through and well coated by the other ingredients. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add most of the mint and parsley and mix well.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and some more black pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves four.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.