Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America
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The first major Spanish cookbook in two decades, from José Andrés, recently named America’s Chef of the Year by Bon Appétit.
Tapas are Spain's gift to the world of great cooking: a fresh and fun way to eat with friends and family—and easy to make at home. Using simple Mediterranean ingredients, a tapas feast is a perfect combination of little dishes packed with big flavors. Tapas by José Andrés is the first major book in a generation to celebrate this world-renowned way of eating, from a man who is the best possible authority: an award-winning Spanish chef in America, with seven highly acclaimed restaurants to his name. Recently named Bon Appétit's Chef of the Year, José is a new star in American cooking, as well as the nation's leading expert on Spanish cuisine. Having worked as a chef in the United States for two decades, he's also a thoroughly American cook who draws on American ingredients for his inspiration, and is a master at translating his native Spanish cooking for this country's kitchens. His simple and delicious recipes include:
• Fish such as American Red Snapper Baked in Salt; Monkfish with Romesco Sauce; and Basque-Style Stuffed Maryland Blue Crabs
• Chicken including Catalan-Style Chicken Stew; Chicken Sautéed with Garlic; and Chicken with Lobster
• Pork such as Chorizo Stewed in Hard Cider; Figs with Spanish Ham; and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples
• Rice dishes including Lobster Paella; Black Rice with Squid and Shrimp; and Traditional Rice with Clams
All these recipes are full of tremendous flavor and creativity, as well as in-depth ingredient notes and a rich atmosphere that will transport you to the lush countryside, hip cafés, and sun-drenched coasts of Spain—and back again to dinner at home.
This is a breakthrough cookbook from an extraordinary chef.
In Tapas, a collection of 100-plus recipes for Spain's savory small dishes, chef José Andrés writes of journeying during his military service to Cádiz, in southern Spain, where he was "able to see the wonders of frying first hand." The passion that would lead an on-leave soldier to investigate a cooking technique infuses the book, which is something new under the sun. In chapters based on characteristic ingredients, such as fish, rice, and eggs, readers are introduced to authentic yet reproducible tapas of great and flavorful immediacy; these simple dishes, which include the likes of Tomato Toast with Spanish Ham, Pan-Fried Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Cabrales Cheese, and Spring Leeks with Mushrooms, are instantly inviting. They'll also fit into a wide range of menu slots, as hors d'oeuvres, brunch and supper fare, or as side dishes. In well-written notes, Andrés provides context and something more--a sense of a living culinary tradition, which he loves, deftly presented to best advantage. Writing, for example, of the poor quality of most stuffed olives, a favorite tapa, he exhorts readers to make their own. "Simple ingredients prepared in a simple way--that's the best way to take your everyday cooking to a higher level," he says. Amen, and an invitation to cook--and understand--wonderful food. --Arthur Boehm
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