Introduction /6 The Greek Pantry /10 Small Plates /17 Sharing & fuller Plates /63 Salads & Side Plates /127 Sweet Plates /165 Index /204 Acknowledgments /208
Maria Elia grew up in the kitchen of her Cypriot father's restaurant in London, and has worked in Italy, America, Australia, and Spain. She was head chef at Delfina and the critically acclaimed Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room, London, and has earned 2 AA rosettes and a Michelin recommendation. Maria is currently overseeing and designing the menu at Jimmy's at The Landing Resort in Lake Tahoe with her eclectic Californian Greek cuisine. She is the author of Modern Vegetarian and Full of Flavor.
Eating well feeds the soul. And without a doubt, with this book, Maria shows us the magic of cooking. -- Ferran Adria Maria draws on her Greek-Cypriot heritage to present a stunning collection of Mediterranean recipes with a modern twist. All the Greek flavors are herelamb, oregano, fennel, dill and capersbut Maria updates those classics with her own special touch. BBC Good Food Perhaps you have seen this, Smashing Plates on Dorie Greenspan's blog-it certainly does stand out! -- Dorie Greenspan DorieGreenspan.com, 4/21/2014 Globe-trotting restaurant and TV chef Maria Elia has landed in the US, where she runs the new, Greek- and Californian-themed Jimmy's at the Landing Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe. Elia's last book, Full of Flavor, laid out a freewheeling approach to the kitchen. But the new book, Smashing Plates, like the new restaurant, is a return to Elia's Greek Cypriot roots. One thing that you can say about Maria Elia is that she never seems to run out of ideas. So if culinary improvisation and Greek-influenced fare don't appeal to you, her next book might well. She is bound to bring something new to the table. -- T. Susan Chang The Boston Globe, 4/29/2014 There is a moussaka recipe in the new Smashing Plates, by the chef Maria Elia, and it was among the first dishes to tempt me as I leafed through this inviting cookbook. It amounted to tomatoes stuffed and baked with a moussaka mixture of seasoned ground lamb and diced eggplant, crowned with a glaze of bechamel. It's a stunning variation that still feels true to Greek cuisine while also improving on the ubiquitous tourist restaurant dish.The book is stitched together with vignettes of her memories of Greece and Cyprus, and of how various ingredients are produced and prepared. Vintage photos alternate with lush food photography. I found several dishes that were arresting and successful in addition to those tomatoes stuffed with moussaka. Consider carrot keftedes, salmon cured with ouzo and lemon, feta wrapped in fig leaves and baked, croquettes of salt cod and taramosalata, pickled chicken, linguine with zucchini and capers, parsnip skordalia and sumac flatbreads. Luxurious small tahini chocolate cakes with creme fraiche.Just as she varies Greek standards, Ms. Elia also invites flexibility in her readers, offering choices of dipping sauces for the carrot keftedes and suggesting different pan sizes for the tahini chocolate cakes as long as the baking time is adjusted accordingly. She was insistent in saying, 'A recipe is not a dictatorship.' In the title of the book, 'smashing' refers to the celebratory Greek practice of breaking crockery, especially at weddings. But it also alludes to the English use of the word as an adjective meaning 'terrific.' -- Florence Fabricant, The New York Times The New York Times, 5/12/2014 A lot of cookbooks come across my desk, and a fair number of them claim to be a "modern" take on a traditional cuisine. Most of these leave my desk without making much of an impression. Smashing Plates is different. Maria Elia starts by pairing the Greek cuisine of her heritage down to its essential flavors and ingredients: fava beans, rose water, mint, fennel, tomatoes, olives, Greek coffee, yogurt, figs, lamb, octopus (and so many more). Then she puts them back together again in surprising and alluring ways - combinations that nod to traditional Greek dishes, but aren't afraid to move beyond them. This is how we get dishes like seared scallops with watermelon, zucchini-coated calamari, and a savory baklava pie with tomatoes and string beans. I love it all. There's an emphasis on shared dishes in this book - small plates and sharing plates, party-pleasing sides and big desserts - but the recipes still feel simple and elegant. The recipes aren't necessarily "shared" in the dinner party sense, but rather "shared" in the sense of sitting down together at the table. Some recipes are definitely more involved, but plenty could be made on a weeknight with a little bit of planning or even thrown together spur of the moment. I'm so glad to have discovered this cookbook just as we're jumping into the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer. I can already tell that it will become a favorite before the season is over. The Kitchn, 4/21/2014 Greek cuisine conjures up images of ouzo, moussaka-and happy partygoers smashing plates. So it's pretty impossible to resist Maria Elia's new cookbook, Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined (Kyle Books, $27.95, 208 pages). It would be tough to resist, even if the book didn't have such an amusing name, because those iconic flavors-lamb, oregano, capers and, of course, ouzo-get a modern take in the hands of a Greek Cypriot chef who has worked in the kitchens of El Bulli and Arzak in Spain. It says a lot when your book cover quote comes from Ferran Adria. These days, Elia can be found at South Lake Tahoe, heading up the kitchen in the new Jimmy's Restaurant at the Landing Resort & Spa, where she does Greek food with a California touch. It's an approach that's similar to what she does in the new book with ouzo and lemon-cured salmon, for example, moussaka-stuffed tomatoes and zucchini-coated calamari. Dessert gets a fresh twist too, when rice pudding is flavored with strawberries, rose water and Greek basil. We'd smash a plate, but we need it for the plum and lavender baklava. -- Jackie Burrell San Jose Mercury News, 5/13/2014 I love this. It smells wonderful! -- Tamron Hall The Today Show, 5/28/2014 World-renowned chef Maria Elia applies a modern approach to traditional Greek cuisine in her new book Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined. Perfect for people who love the fresh flavors of Greek and Mediterranean foods, and are open to a little adventure in the kitchen, this cookbook will not disappoint. With over 120 recipes, each dish is packed with rich flavors, colors and textures, all inspired by Maria's Cypriot roots and a summer spent cooking at her father's taverna in the Troodos Mountains. Recipes include Oregano Marinated Lamb with Feta Curd, Dried Fig Leaf and Feta Pasta, and Rabbit, White Bean Baklava. Her inventive style will re-ignite your love of Greek cooking. Zester Daily, 6/29/2014 Just in time for summer, I received a review copy of Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined by Maria Elia. I'm a big fan of her book The Modern Vegetarian, so I suspected there would be a lot to like about this new book. This time, the recipes aren't entirely vegetarian, but many are and many others are adaptable to exclude meat. Elia set out to take Greek ingredients "on a new culinary journey." The dishes in this book are familiar but with a new perspective. Lisa is Cooking, 7/5/2014 I was fascinated in reading your book to learn just how important cheese is in Greek cuisine. -- Dorie Greenspan The Splendid Table If you think Greek food is all moussaka, souvlaki and baklava, think again! In her latest book, Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined, Maria Elia's classical training in French cuisine and in places like El Bulli and Arzak in Spain, shine through 140 inventive and beautifully presented recipes - i.e. carrot keftedes with pomegranate skordalia, rabbit and white bean baklava with lemon chard salad, a pulled lamb burger with beetroot tzatziki, and a tahini, chocolate and lime cake. She indeed smashes outdated notions of traditional Greek food and turns ingredients into something quite original --still Greek, but thoroughly modern and with bold flavors--like seared scallops with watermelon or zucchini-coated calamari - one can actually enjoy at Jimmy's Restaurant at the Landing Resort and Spa in South Lake Tahoe, CA Smashing Plates takes the home cook to a whole new world of Greek cooking. With chapters on small plates, sharing plates, side plates, and sweet plates and over 100 gorgeous photographs of locations and people, this book will transport you to the fresh flavors of Cyprus and the Greek islands. -- Simone Zarmati Diament Food & Wine Talk Radio, 7/31/2014 Smashing Plates is a gorgeous book that is worth it's price for the dessert section alone. That being said the savory section is outstanding. Tonight I made roast spatchcock chicken with potatoes, lemon, wild greens and capers and the wild greens macaroni and cheese. The details and instructions were wonderful and both dishes were delicious. Andrew, my son, raved repeatedly about the macaroni and cheese. Now that I know I can sneak in some greens -- I will continue to do that in future dishes. Even the greens in the roasted chicken dish were tasty and I'll use that technique in the future when roasting meats. -- Jenny Hartin Mad Rantings of Andrew's Mom, 9/15/2014 Smashing Plates is a chatty book. In her recipe for Dried Fig Leaf Pasta Rags (definitely on my list for when my fig trees leaf out), she mentions that this recipe uses a lot of egg yolks, so she suggests two recipes to use up the egg whites. I like that kind of consideration for the cook and leftovers. It's easier to commit to separating nine eggs for pasta when you know there's a place for the whites. The flavors in Elia's cookbook balance traditional with intriguing (without being outrageous for the sake of being different). Keep your mind and your palate open for Plum and Lavender Baklava, a Greek panzanella with grilled peaches, and spiced slow-braised goat. -- Kim Davaz The Register-Guard, 2/18/2015