Eating and preparing Mediterranean food on the Mediterranean is this dietitian’s dream. I got my Mediterranean culinary fix on a recent trip to the Amalfi coast with my husband. We both enrolled in a cooking class at the Villa Maria Cooking School high up on the mountain in the beautiful town of Ravello. Talk about fresh and local. Vegetables are grown organically on a sun-drenched, terraced garden next to the cooking school. Milk, from a local dairy farm, is delivered each morning and used to make fresh mozzarella cheese and fish is caught from fishermen living in the towns below. On our cooking class menu was Caprese salad with freshly made mozzarella, pasta with clams, eggplant and tomato sauce, and mint infused local sea bream with julienned zucchini. What I love about Mediterranean cooking is that it’s simple and fast. Nothing we made took longer than 30 minutes which makes this healthy eating style perfect for our hectic, American lives.
Making the Mozzarella
Mise en place with Chef Vince
That’s me preparing an herb broth
Setting the table (check out that view)!
Nutrition Note: Chef Vince added fresh herbs to a pot of water to create herb broths. Brilliant idea! You get instant flavor and many of the water soluble nutrients in the herbs leach into the broth (which is what you want because you’re using the broth, not the herbs). Just add a bunch of fresh herbs to about 4 cups of water, bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes to allow some of the water to evaporate and to concentrate the herb flavor of the broth. In class, I made a mint broth which was used to cook the zucchini and for steaming the fish. It added a subtle but distinct mint flavor to the dish. We also threw some parsley stems in the water used to cook the pasta. After the water came to a boil, we fished out the parsley before adding the pasta.