LOVE FOOD, LOVE A MEDITERRANEAN DIET
It’s no secret that fine cuisine has millions of fans around the world, and it can make for endless hours of conversation. Be warned: from now on, this topic is going to crop up more than once on our blog. But for now we want to find out the story behind the Mediterranean diet—you know, the one that involves breakfasts of real bread smothered in fresh tomato spread and drizzled with oil, every imaginable kind of salad, and fresh fruits and vegetables that add a burst of colour to every staple dish (and you can never have too much colour). Where did this diet come from? How was it created?
To answer these questions, we got in touch with the Mediterranean Diet Foundation, a Spanish institution whose mission is to preserve and promote this tasty treasure. They explain that this concept took shape over thousands of years thanks to the contributions of the ancient Iberians, Celts, Greeks, Romans, barbarian tribes and Arab peoples. Their customs and products, exported through conquests and migrations, laid the foundations of the current “Mediterranean triad” of bread, oil and wine and established “one of the healthiest food patterns in the world ”. However, it was not until the 1950s that the American physiologist Ancel Keys first discovered that the inhabitants of Mediterranean countries had a lower rate of heart disease. Hippocrates had it right way back in the fifth century BC: “We must help people die young as late in life as possible.” And the Mediterranean diet is a valuable ally on this mission… in fact, it’s even on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list!
The Mediterranean diet is not just a bunch of different foods which work to reduce obesity, cholesterol and other health problems. The Mediterranean diet is also a cause for celebration, which has, in many ways, become tradition. It’s a simple, “natural” way of preparing food that gives us a reason to enjoy the sunshine, the great outdoors and good company. What better excuse to bring your nearest and dearest together around the table than to savour, say, a dish of aubergine parmesan, a bowl of beef stew or a potato omelette? Mmmmm… How about sharing your tastiest recipe with us?
Are you in the mood for something fresh, light and easy to make?
RECIPE FOR NIÇOISE SALAD
Ingredients (4 people):
• 2 large tomatoes
• 2 green peppers
• 4 spring onions
• 1 small cucumber
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 tin (160g) oil-packed tuna
• 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets
• 125g black olives
• 2 hard-boiled eggs
• 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• 1 sprig fresh basil
• Total time: 20 min. Preparation time: 20 min.
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into wedges. Wash the peppers , deseed and cut into thin rings. Peel the spring onions, trim off the green tops and cut into thin slices. Peel the cucumber and cut into thin slices. Peel the garlic clove and cut in half. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut into wedges. Open the tin of tuna and drain the oil. Wash the basil, separate leaves from the stem and cut into very thin strips. Rub a salad bowl with the cut garlic clove, add the tomatoes, peppers, spring onions , cucumber, tuna, anchovies, olives and egg wedges and toss together. Dress with oil and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the basil strips before serving.
This salad is typical of Nice, France.
Source: Mediterranean Diet Foundation, taken from the cookbook Cocina mediterránea en casa .