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29 diciembre 2010 3 29 /12 /diciembre /2010 14:35

The impressive list of books from Phaidon that proudly line our shelves have a new, exciting addition in The Book of Tapas.   Formatted with Phaidon's trademark elegance and simplicity, this is a comprehensive work exploring tapas, those delectable dishes that are an integral part of Spanish enjoyment of life, of people, and of food.   Written by Simone Ortega who brought us 1080 Recipes, this is a definitive book, one in which the endlessly varied, creative world of tapas unfolds in its pages.   It includes an introduction by chef and restaurateur José Andrés who helped adapt the book for American audiences.


Tapas may be the most convivial food invented.  Eaten casually, tapas are small plates of food to sample and share with friends.  "You meet your friends," states Andrés. "You chat.  You have a glass of wine and order a few little plates.  You share and you sample a little of everything."  In addition to being a community food, Tapas may be the most flexible of foods.  They can be served hot or cold, simple or fancy, or mixed together in any combination. With such a mix of ingredients, tapas may be the healthiest of food, the a wide variety of dishes containing a wide range of nutrients.  


Tapas originated in Andalusia, the southern part of Spain, but spread to all regions of the large country, adapting to available ingredients as they traveled.  In The Book of Tapas, you will find dishes from all regions as well as new recipes, published here for the first time, that show the continuing exploration of tapas and its possibilities.  Opening the many pages of the book is a beginning section to introduce tapas that includes a glossary, and ending it is a chapter where guest chefs from Spain, Australia, France, the USA and the UK let their creativity loose to create Spanish-influenced dishes.


The book is divided by ingredient category  -  Vegetables, Eggs and Cheese, Fish, Meat.  Each chapter is further divided into hot and cold.  There are tapas dishes gleaned from Ortega's classic work 1080 Recipes, along with brand new recipes of Ortega's own invention.  You can choose from this tempting list according to hot or cold, or according to ease of preparation.  If you choose to create a mix, the table will be abundant. The dishes can be served with drinks in typical Spanish style, or be combined so friends can sample a variety of tastes. The recipes are fully updated and easy to follow.   And if you aren't having a tapas party, you will find many recipes that are satisfying as a meal in itself.


This is a versatile book with many selections.  Phaidon has kindly provided bookmarks, knowing that the reader will want to mark favorites.  There are color photographs to tease the eye, tickle the palate and guide the chef.  Enjoy life the Spanish way.


About the Author: With a career in food writing spanning 50 years, Simone Ortega was the foremost authority on traditional Spanish cooking, and contributed articles and recipes to countless newspapers and magazines. 1080 Recipes, written with her daughter Ines Ortega, was her most famous and best selling cookbook.

José Andrés grew up in Spain and trained under Ferran Adrià at elBulli before moving to the USA, where he was one of the first chefs to introduce tapas to American restaurant-goers. He is now the chef-proprietor of seven acclaimed restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area, and is widely acclaimed as an expert on Spanish food.

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