THE Dish: Michael Psilakis' Greek "comfort food"

(CBS) Acclaimed celebrity chef and cookbook author Michael Psilakishas been credited with putting modern Greek cuisine on the culinary map.

He was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine, Chef of the Year by Bon Appetit and Esquire magazines, and has a James Beard nomination for best new restaurant - not bad for a kid from Long Island.

The executive chef/owner of Kefi, FISHTAG, MP Taverna, joined "CBS This Morning: Saturday" with his ultimate dish: Grilled Branzino, Greek Salad, Meatball and Yogurt with Fruit and Honey.

According to Michael's official bio, his former New York City eatery, Anthos, not only received a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2008, it became one of only two Greek restaurants in the world to ever receive a Michelin star.

Michael's first cookbook, "How to Roast a Lamb," an homage to his Greek heritage, was published in October 2009, and has won countless awards, including the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine.

Enjoy all of our recipes!

RECIPES:

Grilled Whole Fish atop a Warm Salad of Potatoes, Tomatoes, Onions, Peppers, Olives and Feta Drizzled in Fresh Lemon Juice and Garlic

Ingredients:

  • 4 Branzino's 1-2 lbs. each, scaled and gutted
  • 24 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 24 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 24 green olives, pitted
  • 2 sweet onions sliced into rings, grilled, and reserved
  • 10 fingerling potatoes, par cooked and reserved
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Cup feta cheese
  • 2 lemons

EVOO

  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 Tb. dry oregano
  • 1 Tb each of fresh chopped parsley, basil, and dill

Method:

Pre-heat a grill to med-high. Paint fish with EVOO season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill. Char on each side for approx 8 min.

For warm salad, in a large heavy-bottomed pan add 2 Tb. EVOO and heat through. Brown garlic and potatoes. Then, add tomatoes, olives, onion rings, dry oregano, and feta cheese. Transfer to a serving platter and place the fish on top of the warm salad. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, then drizzle with EVOO, and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Tsoutzoukakia (Fried and Braised Beef and Pork Meatballs)

Yield: About 28 meatballs

  • Chunky Tomato Sauce (below)
  • 15 slices Wonder bread (crust trimmed off)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Half a large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated Graviera cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Blended oil (90 percent canola/10 percen extra-virgin olive), for shallow-frying

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 whole scallions, sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 12 cloves Garlic Confit (optional, page 000)
  • 12 cracked, brined green olives, pitted and torn
  • 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and torn
  • 15 small, picked sprigs of parsley
  • 15 small, picked sprigs of dill
  • 15 leaves basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Make the chunky tomato sauce in a very large pot and have it standing by, on the stove.

2. In a bowl, soak the Wonder bread with milk. Squeeze most of the milk out of the bread, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the beef, pork, onion, parsley, oregano, Graviera, and egg; season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with clean hands until evenly blended. Use a 1 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop to form firm-packed, golfball-sized meatballs.

3. Spread a generous bed of flour on a large platter. Warm about 1/4-inch of blended oil in your largest skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the meatballs in the flour, coating them evenly all over. Fry in batches until golden brown on all sides. As they are browned, transfer them to the pot of tomato sauce and keep the sauce at a very low simmer. Cook gently for about 1 hour, until all the meatballs are tender and very juicy.

4. In a skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallion and sautee for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, olives, and garlic confit. Sautee for a minute, then add this mixture to the pot of meatballs and stir very gently, to combine. Simmer for a minute or two more and transfer onto a platter. Scatter with the torn herbs and drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.

Chunky Tomato Sauce:

Yield: 5 1/2 cups

  • 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, with all the juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Half a large Spanish or sweet onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
  • Large handful basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups water

1. In a food processor, puree about one third of the tomatoes.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee until almost tender. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then deglaze with the red wine and add the bay leaf, basil, water, pureed and whole tomatoes and all their juices. Simmer for 5 minutes, all the time breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

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