How to Make the Smile’s Glorious, Beloved Granola

Get some Greek yogurt ready.
Get some Greek yogurt ready. Photo: Courtesy of the Smile

Long before the real life-extending benefits of the Mediterranean diet became abundantly clear, Melia Marden of the Smile landed a cookbook deal to share her recipes for Mediterranean home cooking. Her new book, which comes out today, includes recipes for menu items at her Bond Street restaurant, including balsamic-roasted chicken, cous-cous with currants and pistachios, and —crucial here — her wildly popular granola. (The "best fucking granola … the best thing to happen to granola since the invention of oats," per artist Scott Campbell.) "A line cook experimented with a recipe of hers, and then she quit," Marden says about the granola’s creation during the restaurant’s early days. "I didn’t have the recipe, so I improvised with what we had." The result: Something totally unique. "I don’t like granola that has too many ingredients because it ends up feeling heavy, so I kept it simple with oats, almonds, and pecans. It’s become one of our classic Smile dishes."

Get some Greek yogurt ready.
Get some Greek yogurt ready. Photo: Courtesy of the Smile

This granola is one of our most popular dishes at the Smile. The trick is to cook it at a low temperature and stir the mixture often so that the oats get evenly crisp and golden. I serve it over Greek yogurt with chopped dried figs and dates, for a hint of North African flavor.

6 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups raw pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Plain Greek yogurt or milk, for serving
Chopped dried dates, for topping
Chopped dried figs, for topping
Fresh berries, for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, oil, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, and salt and mix well.
3. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in as even a layer as possible.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir very well. Continue to bake, stirring every 30 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 2 hours total.
5. Let cool completely; the oats should feel completely dry and crisp. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.
6. Serve over Greek yogurt or with milk. Top with dates, figs, and fresh berries. Makes about 10 cups.