By Teresa Barrenechea with Mary Goodbody
The pleasures of a table laden with time-honored preparations of fresh and seasonal ingredients is a way of life in the Spanish Basque country. This fertile land's privileged position between the Pyrenees mountains and the Bay of Biscay fills Basque markets with superb fishes, meats, game, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and baked goods. These are transformed into the vibrant appetizers called pinchos, hearty main dishes, satisfying soups and stews, light salads and side dishes, and truly delectable desserts. Everyone cooks in the Basque country, male and female, urban professional and rural farmer alike, and every meal is a celebration. Now, with The Basque Table, by Teresa Barrenechea, home cooks everywhere can share and enjoy these splendid, straightforward dishes.
A Basque native, Teresa Barrenechea is renowned for bringing the best of the Basque culinary heritage to America in her two New York restaurants, both named Marichu. Barrenechea's inspired recipes are authentic Basque classics honed to perfection by her impeccable instinct for full and balanced flavor. Sizzling Garlic Shrimp, Leeks Vinaigrette, Leek and Potato Soup, Grilled Filet Mignon with Roasted Red Peppers, Baby Lamb in Rosemary Sauce, Chicken Breasts with Garlic and Parsley, Tuna Steaks with Caramelized Onion, Pan-Seared Baby Squid, and Almond Tart with Sweet Basque Cream are only a few of the beloved Basque dishes offered in The Basque Table, praised by Esquire magazine's John Mariani as a "masterful examination of a long-neglected, wholly wonderful cuisine."
The Basque Table's 130 recipes introduce American cooks to a cuisine that is as easy to prepare as it is elegant and satisfying. These delicious dishes are flavorful and healthful, as Basque cooking is based on fresh vegetables, fish and shellfish, lean meats, rice, potatoes, and the olive oil for which Spain is justly famous. These time-honored recipes are perfect for today's sophisticated palate and health-conscious concern for a balanced diet that doesn't compromise on flavor. "It's a delight to encounter a book that revels in the honest flavors of the farm, garden, and sea," James Peterson comments, "as I sit back and read Ms. Barrenechea's book, there unfolds a cuisine at once pure, simple, and joyful."
This joy is manifest on every page of The Basque Table, in the recipes themselves, and in the numerous sidebars telling of the Basque country and the author's childhood in Bilbao. The extravagant delights of Baby Eels in Sizzling Garlic, the hearty comfort of Baked Pork Chops and Vegetables, the simple savor of Garlic and Bread Soup, and the layered richness of Quails in Chocolate Sauce, these and many more recipes evoke all the warmth and passion of Spain. Julio Iglesias testifies that "Teresa Barrenechea long ago convinced me that Basque food is one of the world's culinary treasures." The Basque Table is an enthralling and expert catalog of this region's superb cuisine, from the Salt Cod Pil Pil which is perhaps the Basque country's signature dish, to nueva cocina showstoppers like Cream-Cheese Ice Cream with Red Berry Sauce.
"Come and join me on a culinary expedition to my Basque Country," begins The Basque Table. From that invitation unfolds a journey to a land of rolling green hills beside a bright blue sea, where pride is taken in fresh food prepared with a generous hand and a love of good food's true flavor. Those who have been to the Basque region or who have sampled its distinctive cuisine know Basque food to be one of Europe's most glorious culinary traditions. Those who are familiar with Basque food will be glad to return to these vibrant dishes again and again. Teresa Barrenechea's passionate home cooking and elegant heirloom recipes make true Basque foods and flavors the feast of choice for every table.
The Basque Table
Passionate Home Cooking from one
of Europe's Great Regional Cuisines
By Teresa Barrenechea with Mary Goodbody
Harvard Common Press
Hardback, Price: $22.95
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created March 1999
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