The Basque Book
Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero
and Rebecca Flint Marx
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. Firstly, I was surprised by the size, it was much bigger than I had anticipated. Based on recipes from the authors' New York restaurant Txikito, it's beautifully done both inside and out. With lovely photos which showcase most of the dishes mentioned.
I especially appreciated the introduction which explained to me the nature of Basque cooking and how the authors have been inspired by this cuisine. One of the best things mentioned is that Basque cooking is about simple ingredients and taking the care to bring out the best from whatever ingredient or product one is using. I found it interesting that Basque cooking doesn't necessarily have a “star” ingredient of a meal, like say a piece of meat. Instead every dish is treated with respect and reverence often focusing on products in season.
Following this idea the book is arranged in a way that lays out the fundamentals of Basque cooking, starting with sauces and how to build a meal. The author notes that mastering the sauces will make preparing other dishes that follow in the book, much easier. This is followed by a focus on Pintxos or Tapas, vegetables, eggs, cod, soups and stews and grilled meats, desserts and beverages.
There is so much information and explanation in this book that I think most readers will come away with a good understanding and real appreciation for the art of Basque cooking. From simple and seductive recipes such as Eder's Avocado Salad, and “Messy Egg” with rough cut potatoes to hearty meals like Basque red beans with braised meats there is something for everyone in this book. And frankly, the heart and soul that the authors put into the book shows on every page.
Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review.