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Mediterranean-style cooking is based on the cuisine of countries close to the Mediterranean Sea, and there’s an emphasis on fresh foods, simple preparation, and robust flavours. Here is a guide to the main ingredients, preparation and cooking tips, as well as delicious and authentic recipes everyone can master at home.


Main Ingredients

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: Some of the most popular vegetables include tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, spinach, onions, mushrooms, olives, and okra. Salads are always on the menu.
  • Other plant-based foods: Beans, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are everyday staples.
  • Olive oil: An essential ingredient in cooking, olive oil is also used in dressings or drizzled over foods.
  • Fish and seafood: Favourites range from mildly sweet white fish like tilapia to more boldly flavoured shrimp and sardines.
  • Meats and cheese: Lamb, pork, and chicken, in smaller portions, are part of this cuisine. Recipes often call for small portions of flavourful cheeses such as feta and ricotta, too.
  • Herbs: Herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and mint help intensify the flavours of food. As a seasoning, herbs often replace salt, sugar, and additional fat.

Preparation Tips

Cooking

  • Lemon juice is often used as the tenderizing ingredient in marinades for fish and meat.
  • Grilling is a popular cooking method. When grilling outdoors, prevent sticking by making sure the grate is well oiled and piping hot before starting.
  • Roast denser produce like root vegetables longer and at a lower temperature than those that contain a lot of moisture, such as eggplant and mushrooms.
  • Pasta is always boiled “al dente,” which means it is tender but still firm to the bite.

Flavouring

  • Tossing vegetables in olive oil before roasting helps accentuate robust flavours.
  • Match herbs to meats and fish. Rosemary and mint enhance the natural flavours of lamb and pork. Thyme, cilantro and basil complement chicken and shellfish. Dill helps balance the flavours of fish.
  • Dried herbs can withstand heat and are often used in soups, stews and sauces.
  • A sprinkle of feta cheese can add depth to almost any recipe.
  • A drizzle of olive oil and fresh garlic will help to blend the flavours of assorted vegetables with meat, fish and cheese.

Serving

  • Serve fresh bread with a small plate of olive oil for dipping.
  • Salads are a tasty way to serve an array of vegetables all at once. Drizzle olive oil on top for a yummy boost, or add chickpeas and lentils for a legume fix.
  • Classic Mediterranean-inspired sauces include tzatziki made with yogurt, cucumber and dill.

Recipes to try:

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