La Cocina de Mama
The Great Home Cooking of Spain
By Penelope Casas
(Clarkson Potter, Hardcover, 9780767912228, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 22, 2005
List Price: $29.95*
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Penelope Casas, the foremost American authority on Spanish food and the author of the bestselling Tapas, presents more than 175 robustly flavored yet amazingly simple recipes representing the best of Spanish home cooking—the cooking handed down through generations of Spanish “mamás.”
Long overshadowed by France and Italy, Spain has finally taken its rightful place as one of Europe’s great culinary meccas. Consider the reborn cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao; the new respect afforded Spanish wines; the popularity of tapas bars in the U.S.; and Spain’s widely influential Michelin three-star chefs, Ferran Adrià and Juan Mari Arzak. Despite the world-wide acclaim for these chefs, arguably the greatest Spanish food is found not in the nation’s restaurants, but in private homes off-limits to tourists, where women still cook the recipes their mothers and grandmothers cooked before them. Now, Penelope Casas takes us into those homes to uncover the secrets of this simple, easily reproduced, and altogether marvelous cuisine.
For La Cocina de Mamá, Penelope Casas has collected recipes from great chefs and traditional home cooks in every region of Spain, all of whom have shared with her the dishes they grew up loving and still cook for themselves today. There are recipes for tapas, like Clams in Garlic Sauce; elegant soups and hearty one-pot meals like Stewed Potatoes with Pork Ribs; many wonderful seafood dishes like Fish Steaks with Peas in Saffron Sauce; meat and poultry dishes, such as Pork Tenderloin in Orange Sauce, Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Mushrooms and Scallions, and Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts; paella and other rice dishes—and even a few pasta dishes; unusual vegetable preparations, including Sautéed Spinach with Quince and Toasted Sesame Seeds; and desserts like Basque Apple Custard Tart. Whether of Roman, Moorish, or peasant origin, all of the dishes appeal to today’s tastes and exemplify the virtues of the Mediterranean diet—lots of olive oil, lean meats and fish, and vegetables. Sidebars throughout discuss ingredients, areas of Spain unfamiliar to most Americans, travel vignettes, and more. At last, Americans can discover the unique and irresistible flavors of authentic Spanish home cooking in La Cocina de Mamá.
PENELOPE CASAS is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, and Condé Nast Traveler. Casas is also a consultant and lecturer on Spain, a guest speaker at the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society, and an adjunct professor at New York University. In recognition of her efforts on behalf of Spain, the Spanish government awarded her the National Prize of Gastronomy, the Medal of Touristic Merit, and named her Dame of the Order of Civil Merit. She and her husband have led gastronomic tours of Spain for more than twenty years. They live in New York City.