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Mediterranean diet: Nonna knows best

Alexandros stands out with adroitly grilled whole fish,

Alexandros stands out with adroitly grilled whole fish, especially red snapper and porgy, seen above, each snowy and slightly smoky, finished with herbs and lemon. (Credit: Newsday / Ana P. Gutierrez)

The New England Journal of Medicine confirms what Italian-Americans knew all along: Nonna was right.

Greek grandmas were, too. Likewise, Turkish, Croatian, southern French and all advocates of the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and some wine, too.

The Journal reported a major five-year study that underscored how  the number of heart attacks and strokes could drop by 30 percent when diets emphasized the foods commonly used in the Mediterranean region.

You can participate in the good news at a lot of flavorful Long Island restaurants. Here are five to begin.

Wild Fig in Glen Cove and other locations offers baklava, plus lentil and chicken soups, Greek spreads, garlicky hummus, baked flounder, and assorted kebabs.

Alexandros in Mount Sinai specializes in Greek fare, including savory eggplant and fish roe dips, big salads, and very good whole, grilled fish.

La Tavola in Sayville sends out beet salad with grapefruit and shaved fennel finished with extra virgin olive oil; swordfish accented with pine nuts and raisins, wild mushroom crostini with ricotta, more.

Pentimento in Stony Brook excels with dishes such as marinated and grilled artichokes, chicken-under-a-brick with grilled polenta, frisee salad with toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese, and marinated olives.

And Massapequa Park's Ephesus, named for the ancient city of the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottomans and tourists, gives a Turkish taste of the Mediterranean. Try chargrilled eggplant, ground chicken kebab, spicy vegetable salad.
 

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