Friday, February 3

Five dishes to enjoy that are pure Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet includes a wide variety of cuisine inspired by those countries and regions, with hints and nods to that lifestyle in which you share and enjoy tasting tasty dishes made with the riches of our land, which are part of our ancient culture.

10 foods that are a Mediterranean diet and 10 that are not

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The freshness of our orchards or the sea give rise to colorful salads, freshly caught fish cooked on a skewer, rice dishes of all varieties or meats with exquisite sauces.

We wanted to make a representative compilation of these dishes here and we asked Alexander Loiza, Executive Chef of Belbo Collection, that he give us his recipes that respect those traditional ways of cooking, typical of each region, so that, in addition to trying them in his Mediterranean restaurants Belbo Candela, Terrenal or Piropo; or the Italian Dos Besos and Fasto, you could replicate them at home.

And here he shares them with us:

1. Roasted aubergines with yogurt sauce

  • Bake four aubergines with skin in the oven at 180ºC for 30 minutes, until tender. Let cool leaving the tail.
  • On top of the peeled and seasoned aubergine, add a layer of the yogurt sauce made by beating 125 g of yogurt, 3 g of salt, half a lemon zest, one ml of sesame oil, 25 g of tahini, a clove of finely chopped garlic and 10 ml of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).
  • Accompany with pomegranate, mint leaves, diced fresh cucumber and some watercress leaves.

2. Bulgur salad with pickled vegetables, mint and pomegranate juice vinaigrette

The bulgur It is precooked wheat whose name refers to broken wheat in the Middle Eastern countries, which is why it refers to Lebanese cuisine; while in Arabic, the word bulgur means semolina, which is a similar but less elaborate version of couscous.

  • Starting with cold water with a pinch of salt, bring 120 g of bulgur to a boil; after 15 minutes, try and, when it is ready, take it out to drain.
  • For the reduction of the Modena vinegar, put 500 ml and 50 g of sugar on the fire until it reduces by half.
  • Make a pomegranate vinaigrette with 125 ml of pomegranate juice, 75 ml of mild olive oil 0.4, 15 ml of reduced Modena vinegar and three g of salt.
  • For the marinade, add to the pot 30 ml of mild olive oil 0.4, two cloves of finely chopped garlic, 50 g of red onion (brunoise), 10 g of finely chopped ginger, 10 g of ñora pulp, 50 g of carrot (brunoise), four g of sugar, a bay leaf, 20 ml of brandy, 20 ml of white vinegar, 20 ml sherry vinegar, four units of peppercorns and three ml of sesame oil, frying without reaching to adore. Once the vinegars have evaporated, add the salt and rectify if necessary. Reserve.
  • Mix with two g of mint leaves (julienned) and 10 g of roasted, peeled and salted almonds and hazelnuts in a bowl and serve with five g of watercress and Batavia lettuce leaves.

3. Skewers

The espeto links with the tradition of “la moraga”, a party or meeting on the beach and at night typical of the Andalusian Mediterranean coasts, where the fish (traditionally sardines) was skewered on fine and long rods, to be roasted with firewood in beach sand with coarse sea salt. Interestingly, “moraga” comes from the Arabic “muhraqa”, which means to burn or scorch. And here we offer you the recipe to make them in the oven because we understand that you do not have a boat to make the grill on the beach.

  • Wash the fresh sardines in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. No need to open or clean them.
  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC with top and bottom heat without a fan.
  • Cover the tray with baking paper and spread a layer of baking salt so that it covers the bottom. This has a dual purpose since, on the one hand, it helps to salt the sardines and, on the other hand, it largely prevents the unpleasant odors that form in the kitchen as the salt picks up the juices.
  • Place the sardines on top, next to each other, but without being on top of each other.
  • Sprinkle a small layer of baking salt on top.
  • Put the tray in the oven at medium height and bake them between 15 and 20 minutes (approximately).
  • After 15 minutes, take one out and check if the skin comes off easily and the inside is juicy, but without raw parts. Depending on how it is, leave a few more minutes or not.
  • The trick to smoking them is to burn three rosemary leaves and, when they smoke, place them on top of the sardines once they are out of the oven, covering the tray with foil, for a couple of minutes.

4. Cod churros dough

Advancing on our gastronomic route towards the north of the Mediterranean coast, we pay homage to the cod fritter typical of Catalonia (as well as its romesco sauce), giving it the shape of a churro, making a nod to the tradition of the churrerías of the food markets and popular fairs.

  • Blanch 100 g of cod loin in water, once cooked and before crumbling it, remove the skin and put it in its own cooking water, reserving it.
  • We start by putting 50 g of butter and the water from the cod in a saucepan. When the butter has melted, add 80 g of flour and stir with a rod to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
  • We add five g of salt and, off the heat, we add eight eggs, add one by one and mix, until we put them all.
  • Finally, we will add the crumbled cod, a finely chopped garlic clove and chopped parsley.
  • We reserve in pastry sleeves.
  • Fry in abundant olive oil in a spiral shape and accompany with romesco sauce (nuts such as hazelnuts and almonds, ñora paste, fried bread, olive oil and a touch of vinegar and garlic and roasted tomatoes).

5. Rice with duck confit and trumpets of death

Rice is one of the pillars in the Mediterranean diet. And, beyond the Valencian paella, there are paellas with very varied flavors and textures, made with seasonal and native products. For two:

  • Put 25 g of dry death trumpet to rehydrate in 200 ml of mineral water overnight (reserve the water, taking care to discard what remains at the bottom, as it may contain soil).
  • Lightly brown a clove of peeled garlic in a paella pan with olive oil, add 200 g of bomba rice and pearl it for a minute over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Add the drained mushrooms and continue stirring little by little for half a minute more, add the cooked and crumbled duck confit (they can be found in cans in supermarkets).
  • Add 125 g of tomato sauce (with garlic, onion, olive oil, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary) and stir everything for a few seconds.
  • Add the mixture of about 200 ml of hot ham broth (you can use a quality prepared broth) and 200 ml of the water from the mushrooms. Always double the broth and something other than rice.
  • Add six g of salt and stir a little while the rice cooks over high heat for the first five minutes.
  • Lower the heat to one minute and cook another five minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium high, after matching to finish cooking the rice, depending on how dry we want it; leave one more minute past 15.
  • You can sauté some green asparagus tips separately in a pan with olive oil and salt, to accompany and decorate.

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