Most of José Pizarro's recipes use admirably few ingredients - always appealing to me as an amateur cook. Spanish Flavours is a follow-up to his first book Seasonal Spanish Food. Seeing Spain, from a culinary point of view, as many countries rolled into one, Pizarro has organised the book into five chapters covering North, East, Centre, South and the Balearic and Canary Islands. It's not an original concept but it works. Fish and seafood, of course, plays a major role throughout Spanish cuisine but regional specialities are brought into the mix and inspire these recipes.
The North of Spain is represented by Griddled scallops with cauliflower puree and chorizo oil, and a recipe for Baked cheesecakes with blueberries. The East by Caldoso (meaning soupy rice) with quail, wild mushrooms, artichokes and black olives. The Centre is where peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, saffron, pork and Manchego cheese are celebrated. A recipe for Braised Iberico pork with tomatoes, chorizo, thyme and black olives is the region personified. The South has the Moorish influences represented here in dishes such as Spicy lamb albondigas, a take on kofta meatballs, flavoured with North African favourites cumin and coriander. The final region is the Islands, summed up as "simplicity, freshness and strong flavours" inspiring dishes such as Lobster caldereta (stew) and Avocado with prawns and tomato vinaigrette.
Puddings major on fruit. Almond and honey creams with lemon verbena peaches and Orange-scented apple buñuelos are must-trys. Emma Lee's photography is atmospherically rustic and there's a lovely explanatory drawing in the introduction. This book makes me want to get cooking.
Book courtesy of Kyle Books