Fresh and Easy Grilling Recipes from “Simply Zov: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist)

Every home-cook hopes to create fresh and inspiring dishes for every meal. But what most of us lack is time. With Zov Karamardian’s new book, the tempting world of garden-fresh cooking is easier than ever without spending hours in the kitchen.  As a follow up to her best-selling cookbook, Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur has published SIMPLY ZOV: RUSTIC CLASSICS WITH A MEDITERRANEAN TWIST (Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; $39.00/hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-9759558-2-6). Offering a simple and easy approach to cooking, Simply Zov provides clean and satisfying meals for busy people.

“I wanted this cookbook to be perfect for someone who is busy with the family and on a budget, but want to use farm-fresh ingredients in their cooking,” Zov explains.  “My recipes are easy and cost-effective; most of them can be prepared ahead of time, while introducing home cooks to new flavors.”

While the base ingredients in Zov’s recipes are items most home cooks already have in their pantry, Zov aims to introduce cooks to some new flavors and ingredients.  “My pantry is never without some of my favorite herbs and spices, such as harissa, allspice, cayenne pepper, red pepper paste, garlic and ginger.  But I never miss a chance to search through the spice isle at the supermarket because I never know what I may find.  It is my hope that home cooks will feel that same sense of adventure when preparing recipes from the book.”  Simply Zov combines the flavors and spices of Zov’s Mediterranean heritage with more traditional American fare.
Simply Zov will take home-cooks on a journey where new and exciting culinary adventure awaits.

Grilled Eggplant, Olive and Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 8 (makes 16)
(Recipe from SIMPLY ZOV: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist
by Zov Karamardian
Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; Hardcover/$39.00)

This is one of those great stand-by appetizers for a summer barbecue that you can pull together quickly when company drops in. You will likely have most of the ingredients, and the flavors can be tailored to suit your taste. Try it with roasted red or yellow peppers, add sundried tomatoes for extra flavor or grill the bread, instead of baking it, for another layer of smokiness.  The eggplant-tomato topping is also delicious spooned over grilled meats.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
16 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and grill the eggplant slices until tender and charred on both sides with grill marks, about 12 minutes. Set aside until cooled slightly. Coarsely chop the grilled eggplant and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto a baking sheet and dip both sides of the bread slices in the oil to coat lightly. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.

Do-Ahead Tip: The toasts can be made 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. The eggplant can be grilled and chopped 1 day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container. Allow the eggplant to come to room temperature before using.

Toss the eggplant pieces, tomatoes, olives, basil, cilantro, capers, shallots, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl. Season the mixture to taste with salt. You will have about 3 1/2 cups of the eggplant mixture. Divide the mixture evenly among the toasts and sprinkle with Parmesan. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Zov’s Kitchen Note:Most of the ingredients can be prepared ahead, just make sure not to mix them together until you’re ready to serve.  The herbs and tomatoes should be freshly chopped as oxidation alters the taste. Use any leftover mixture on grilled fish or chicken.

Spicy Grilled Salmon with Fresh Herbs and Ginger
Serves 6
(Recipe from SIMPLY ZOV: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist
by Zov Karamardian
Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; Hardcover/$39.00)

The dining scene is changing as more people travel around the world seeking out new tastes and culinary adventures. Here is a delicious example of the complex, aromatic flavors found in authentic Asian cooking, as it represents the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent and bitter. It sounds intimidating, but it’s not. This dish can be prepared in less than half an hour. In fact, it’s a great last minute recipe for casual get-togethers with family and friends.

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Thai red chiles, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the barbecue (high heat). Stir the cilantro, mint, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, chili sauce, water, garlic, vinegar, Thai chilies, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl to blend.

Place the salmon fillets in a 13x9x2-inch dish. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the sauce over the salmon and let stand 5 minutes. Turn the salmon over and spoon 5 tablespoons of the remaining sauce over the salmon; let stand 5 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve with the salmon.

Brush the grill rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking. Grill the salmon until char marks form on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn the fillets over and grill until the salmon is still pink in the center, about 4 minutes. The salmon will continue to cook as it sits. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Transfer the salmon fillets to a platter or individual plates. Garnish with lemon wedges, radishes and chives. Serve the reserved sauce alongside.

Zov’s Kitchen Note:This versatile sauce goes with a variety of dishes, and also works well as a dip. I love using it as a basting sauce for flank steak, rib-eye or any type of protein that requires Asian flare. You can also use it on chicken and other type of meaty fish.


Throughout her 24 years in the restaurant business, Zov Karamardian has been lauded by some of the most prestigious culinary organizations in the country, including the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.  Zov burst onto the food scene in 1987 when she opened her first restaurant, Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, CA.  Its phenomenal success launched the culinary career of a woman Julia Child called “a friend and colleague.”  Zov considers herself a teacher, like her friend and mentor, Julia Child, from whom she learned much of her craft.  She often hosts cooking classes at her restaurant and invites renowned chefs to share their knowledge.  Guest chefs have included Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pépin, Anne Burrell, and Julia Child.  Zov loves to travel the world finding new spices, herbs and recipes to share with her fans.  She has devoted much of her time and resources to causes she believes in. The State of California named her Chef of the Year and the American Diabetes Association named her Woman of Valor.  Zov has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines across the United States and is a frequent guest on radio talk shows and television sharing her love of food.  Her first bistro has blossomed into restaurants in Newport Beach, Irvine, and in 2012, Zov’s Bistro will be opening in two terminals of John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, California.  For more information on Zov, go to

For More Information  Contact:
Trina Kaye / The Lisa Ekus Group, LLC / 310-915-0970 /


One thought on “Fresh and Easy Grilling Recipes from “Simply Zov: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist)

  1. Pingback: Fresh and Easy Grilling Recipes from “Simply Zov: Rustic Classics … | ClubEvoo

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