healthy food

7+1 little big secrets of the Italian cuisine

They are as lightweight as they are powerful, these little handy plants that make such a big difference! Zest and flavor of the Italian cuisine to a large extent are due to these secret ingredients, invisibly present in almost every dish.

1. Basil

Green, delicious and summery – basil is probably a symbol of the Italian flavor. From pizzas to salads and summer pastas – plenty of dishes benefit from just a couple of basil leaves. It is best when it is fresh and Italians mostly use it this way.

2. Origan

Quite intense, origan is both very Italian in flavor and full of health benefits. According to the European Institute of Oncology and its research for the Smart Food Diet project origan, together with the other plants highlighted in this article, is peculiarly beneficial for health. Origan is rich in vitamin C and possess important antimicrobial properties. It also contains quercetin which is, according to Smart Food Diet, one of the molecules responsible for longevity.

3. Thyme

While basil tastes like summer, thyme goes perfect for winter periods. From soups to scrambled eggs, thyme is often used dried to add pleasing aroma to various dishes. It is believed to boost the immune system as well as it is rich in ferrum. Only one spoon of dried thyme covers ½ of daily need for iron (ferrum) for a man and 1/3 for a woman.

4. Rosemary

Basically, everything roasted or grilled will greatly benefit from rosemary, fresh or dried. The Italian way is to use it is with both meat and fish, but also vegetables and cheeses, baked, grilled or sometimes even in a pan. It is the best herb to have for an ideal barbeque.

5. Parseley

Parseley is one of the basic elements of the Italian cuisine since the times of the ancient Romans. It is widely used to add taste to different sauces to accompany food. Fresh chopped parseley will add pleasing taste to meat and fish, eggs, mushrooms, vegetables and cheeses. Parseley is best consumed fresh and/or without cooking at high temperatures.

One of the prime recipes of the authentic Sicilian cuisine has parseley as a main ingredient together with the extra virgin olive oil. Here is it.

6. Marjoram

The cousin of the origan, marjoram’s leaves are slightly spicier and sweeter. It is for these differences and still intense and interesting flavor that marjoram is used for salads, or to give aroma to some cheeses, meat, sauces or soups.

7. Sage

Another herb highly appreciated since the time of the Romans, sage has a long list of health benefits. Rich in calcium, flavonoids, Vitamine C, B1 sage is preferred to aromatize the meat dishes, but it is also great as a herb tea helping digestion.

One of the prime recipes of the authentic Sicilian cuisine has parseley as a main ingredient together with the extra virgin olive oil. Here is it.

Here we are done with the most Italian – tasting herbs that deserve to take an honorable place in any kitchen. Luckily, most of them can be perfectly used dried and be preserved for some time.

We definitely advise to source these herbs from the places – like Sicily- where they are native and grown naturally without chemical boost or too much of human interference.

And there is one more little big secret. It is not a wonderful herb yet every Sicilian grandmother will know how important this secret is. And here we go…

8. Lemon

Lemon is a symbol and a pride of South Italy. It is native here, and its presence in south Italian cuisine can’t be underestimated. One of the delicious uses is in this authentic Sicilian sauce Here is it.

Together with the extra virgin olive oil lemon juice is used as a seasoning and dressing to salads, but the real secret is the lemon zest.

Apart from being rich in Vitamin C, calcium and fiber lemon zest is also a rich font of limonene. According to the European Institute of Oncology, the recent research shows its anti-inflammatory properties and subsequently significant potential in cancer prevention.

Without knowing that, thousands of Sicilian grandmothers use grated lemon zest every day to add taste to pastas, second dishes and in baking. And it takes amazing!

Give it a try!