COOKING WITH SPICES
In the kitchen, it's the details that make the difference.
Today we’re talking about spices, a rainbow of colors to liven up any recipe, even the simplest one.
Spices are not trivial: they’re a fantastic ally to ensure a recipe’s success, capable of stimulating the senses thanks to their lively nuances, intense perfumes, surprising textures and sensational taste...
Winter is the ideal season to devote ourselves to the kitchen and let ourselves be enveloped by aromas that tastefully enhance our dishes.
Follow us to discover the magic of these tasty powders!
The history of spices is a long and fascinating one. Known and used since ancient times, spices were considered as a treasure, and were the key element of a fruitful international market, the Spice Route. These precious goods coming from the Far East were used not only to flavor food, but also as preservatives, for medicinal purposes, as perfume and for a thousand other uses.
Obtained from the drying of roots, flowers, barks, seeds and leaves of vegetables, spices arrived in Europe shrouded in mystery: merchants never revealed the origin of these products, instead inventing stories and legends to boost their value.
The magic of these ancient aromas has been preserved intact over time so that today spices are an indispensable ingredient to give rhythm to our recipes: ideal for the preparation of soups, meats, to liven up fish and vegetable recipes and are even excellent in desserts.
And it's not just a matter of taste but also of health: by using spices we reduce our salt consumption, without giving up the pleasure of intense flavor. And there’s more: spices - and with them aromatic herbs - help us face the cold and seasonal illnesses, thanks to their numerous beneficial properties.
Finally, spices help us cook typical dishes from faraway countries, but also experiment with traditional recipes.
There are no strict guidelines for using these ingredients. Just keep in mind some precautions: those who do not like spicy flavors must carefully measure the amount of spices that can sometimes be very strong, such as paprika. Otherwise, personal taste and imagination reign supreme when it comes to spices.
Here are our favorite spices that can enhance even a simple dish with unexpected notes.
Bright yellow, turmeric is also known as Indian saffron. Even today in Indian cuisine it is used in practically every dish whether meat or vegetable based. Although its slightly spicy flavor goes well with meat and cheese, we recommend you try it also to season rice as in this recipe with basmati rice and grilled tofu.
It is obtained by grinding capsicum annuum peppers and has an intense red color: yes, we’re talking about paprika, widely used in Hungarian cuisine, from which it derives its name (in Hungarian paprika means precisely pepper).
This spice is traditionally combined with rich meat dishes such as goulash, but it is also excellent with shellfish, soups and vegetarian dishes as in the case of these meatballs with cannellini beans and peppers served with a tasty paprika-based sauce.
A source of minerals and vitamins, cardamom is a truly versatile spice: excellent on its own for hot teas, suitable for flavoring starters, it is the secret ingredient for chocolate cake, thanks to its pleasantly spicy yet fruity notes. We use it for a traditional Indian recipe: the Korma a traditional braised meat from northern India. The ingredients of this dish are enriched by the aromas of spices - cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, chili pepper, coriander - a fantastic mix!
A spice originating in Syria with a slightly bitter taste, cumin comes in seeds. In perfect combination with aromatic herbs it is used to flavor sauces and condiments. Follow these steps: in a saucepan heat a little olive oil, season with a clove of garlic. Remove the garlic once it begins to take color and add the Classic Pomì puree. Let it cook for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add salt and pepper and season with cumin. This simple sauce goes well with swordfish cubes marinated in soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.
ALSO IN FOOD TRENDS
Convenient, time-saving, anti-waste. The "schiscetta" (packed lunch) has come back into the limelight in recent years, following the current trend of diets being healthy, sustainable and creative.