The cuisine from the Mediterranean region is known to be one of the healthiest and most wholesome cuisines in the world. The food incorporates a range of ingredients, including vegetables, nuts, lean meats, whole grains, breads, pasta, cheese, yoghurt and olive oil. Each of these ingredients has some vital health benefits, and the Mediterranean cooking style involves blending, preparing and cooking them in a way that their natural flavors are retained. The end result is an exciting combination of tastes that is also wholesome and nutritious.
You will undoubtedly find Mediterranean cooking a delightful experience. However, before you begin, you need to stock your kitchen the right way…Here are some the ingredients you simply cannot do without.
You mustn’t forget that the Mediterranean region is home to a diverse range of cultures, and they all have their own distinct cooking styles. What this means is that ‘Mediterranean cuisine’ is essentially an umbrella term. So, the first thing you need to figure out is what kind of Mediterranean cooking is most convenient and practical for you. Your decision will determine how you stock your kitchen, including what herbs and spices you buy or grow in your own kitchen garden. You will find it virtually impossible to obtain every herb and spice used in every type of Mediterranean cooking.
Olive oil and whole olives have to be one of the first items on your list. Olives are abundantly available in the Mediterranean region and widely used in its cooking. They are used either chopped or whole, and olive oil is the principal greasing agent in Mediterranean baking and cooking. It is also commonly used as a dressing for vegetables and salads.
Yogurt and cheese will need to be constants in your refrigerator. However, use these ingredients in moderation. A lot of people and restaurants make the mistake of using more cheese than is necessary in Mediterranean cooking. While this adds a lot of calories to your diet, it also flattens out the taste of your meal.
Since the Mediterranean region borders the sea, fish is a major ingredient in its cooking. Some of the healthiest varieties of Mediterranean fish are tuna, salmon, herring, sardines and bream. Each of these features as the central ingredient in a range of recipes.
Poultry is also a common ingredient in several Mediterranean recipes. Don’t forget that it is a much healthier choice than red meat with its lower percentage of saturated fats.
Finally, this list simply cannot be complete without a mention of wine. The Mediterranean region is rich in a range of wines, and each dish goes well with certain distinct flavors of red or white wine. If you have a taste for wines and understand them, it is best to concentrate on recipes that go well with what’s in you cellar.
If you are fond of cooking, you probably know that experimentation is one of the greatest pleasures in the kitchen. Once you have grasped the basics of Mediterranean cooking, don’t hesitate to put on your creative hat. Have fun!
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