when you take a mediterranean cooking class

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Mediterranean cooking class at Massine’s Grocery Store on Bank Street. There’s a small, mirrored room to the side of the store that I had no idea existed, and when you walk in, there are little tables with place settings, ready to go.

They start the class by leading you to the wine store to give you snacks and wine pairing suggestions. I can be won over in 99% of circumstances by wine and snacks, so we were off to a good start.

I didn’t know what to expect once we got back to the room, though, like whether I would physically be chopping and dicing and frying. My knife skills are not great. It takes me like 3 hours to chop one onion, and the class only went from 6pm to 8pm. Thankfully, the format is cooking-show style. Chef Ken Harper had pre-prepped the ingredients and then proceeded to prepare a number of dishes before our eyes, peppering in tips of the trade and anecdotes about his apparently exhaustive world travel as we went. Dude has eaten a lot of food in a lot of different countries, and could vouch for the authenticity of his recipes. He also really wants to educate you about proper knife etiquette and what’s good as far as Netflix documentaries.

Chef Ken Harper

The dishes were delicious. Be prepared: I wouldn’t go in there starving, but don’t eat too much beforehand, either. Over the course of the two hours, we were treated to:

  • Toasted pita chips and homemade tzatziki, paired with white wine. Easy crowd pleaser.
  • Tomato salad with mint and feta. I don’t even care for tomatoes and I liked this salad.
  • Chermoula (moroccan pesto, I guess? It was tasty)
  • Spanish chorizo frittata - Ken also had a lot of opinions on cooking eggs. Don’t be over-browning those eggs, son.
  • Roasted Eggplant stuffed with veal. If you were having a dinner party with this menu, this would be the one that your guests would request the recipe for. It’s sort of an unusual dish - definitely not something I would think to make on a casual Tuesday night. It has currants in it, and I am not even 100% sure what a currant is, other than apparently tasty AF.

Massine’s posts all of their recipes online, and their full schedule is available here.