Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Mediterranean Cuisine

The food of the Mediterranean is something to dream for during the cold Scandinavian winters. As I write, just now it is snowing in Oslo, and that makes me dream about Provence. I pick up the thread from yesterday and write a little bit about Mediterranean food in general and the Provencal Cuisine in particular.

I always feel that the ingredients in Mediterranean food brings the sun into your kitchen. The wonderful fresh vegetables, zucchinis, aubergines, wine red plum tomatoes, bright red peppers, and sprigs of fresh herbs, that grow wild along the Mediterranean coast. Thyme, rosemary, oregano, and of course the ever present garlic and olive oil.

I have only been in three countries along the Mediterranean coast, Spain, France and Italy. Of course the cuisine is different but in some way I feel that their food spins around the same theme. I have recognize the same theme in greek, turkish and lebanese food I've eaten. In Spain they serve Tapas, in Greece, they eat mezedes, and in Lebanon Mezzeh, small dishes wonderful to eat with a glass of wine or a freezing cold beer in the warm mediterranean evening.

Italians eat their lasagna, and the greeks their Moussaka. More or less the same - a tomato and bechamel dish, in Italy in several layers with the white sauce and tomato sauce separated by pasta sheets, and in Greece they substitute the pasta with postatoes, and both are topped with wonderful grated cheese. In Spain you get your Paella, and in Italy the risotto - key ingredients their own locally grown rice and fresh vegetables and fish or meat - or both!

In Provence, you are served the wonderful vegetable stew, the Ratatouille, made to eat for itself or as a supplement to other dishes. If you go to Marseille yor may eat its renowned fish soup le Bouillabaisse. The name is referring to the way it is cooked, and it litterally means boiled over low heat. It is a aromatic fish soup made from sun ripened tomatoes, onions, garlic, fish-stock, saffron, and several types of local fish and shellfish. The closest thing you get to an italian pizza is the Pissaladiere. The Pissaladiere is a tasty pie made with sweet onions, anchovis and black olives, with a wonderful crunchy crust.

Here are some websites that may tell you more about the Provencal cuisine and its ingredients and give you some recipes of typical provencal dishes:


French Provencal cooking


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! Makes the colors and flavours of the Mediterranean spring to mind. Few things are as comforting as Herbes de Provence :)

Susanne Koch