Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Spanish
The Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees
Published: May 1, 1999
Read More, Buy It
Sometimes, when you are Basque, you speak English with a French accent. Sometimes, that accent will sound a little more Spanish than not, and yet you are still Basque. Such are the complications of one of the more peculiar pockets of
humanity to be found. For the country occupied by the Basque people is in both France and Spain while remaining unique unto itself. The Basque language is like no other, and no one knows where it comes from. Even Basque DNA is different than the DNA of
other Europeans. Food--the taking of meals--is central to the culture. In some places it's a little more French than Spanish; in other places in Basque country, just the opposite is likely to be true.
Chef and restaurant owner Gerald Hirigoyen
invites the reader into The Basque Kitchen. In page after delicious-looking page, Hirigoyen presents what he most loves about the cuisine. And rather than suggest that what he so loves remain frozen in a museum of cuisine, he embraces the foods and
cooking techniques he has encountered in Paris and California. His Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Onion Marmalade honors his uncle's tuna and onion casserole. But instead of covering a tuna steak with onions and olive oil in a casserole and cooking a long
time, Hirigoyen prepares an onion marmalade, then pan sears thick ahi steaks until they are hot and rare, and serves it all on a bed of lentils. He's saying that you have to be Basque to get there, but now that we have all arrived, we're somewhere else,
And what a marvelous connection. The vast majority of the foods to be encountered between the covers of The Basque Kitchen are simple in nature, yet complex in the flavors they deliver. Potato and chorizo tortilla, an omelet of
onion, potato, chorizo, salt, pepper, and parsley, gains added radiance with a little piment d'Espelette, powdered small, dried red peppers with a distinct flavor. Steamed mussels are prepared with tomatoes, crusty bread cubes, white wine, parsley, and
chives. It's a dish from St.-Jean-de-Luz, over which the author proposed to his wife.
Gerald Hirigoyen brings to life the foods of his youth and family, as well as foods he has created from experience and whimsy. Refusing to be confined by
tradition, Hirigoyen takes inspiration from Basque tradition and demonstrates the timelessness of the Basque kitchen. The benefits for one and all are right there, page after page after page. --Schuyler Ingle
"To know how to eat is to know enough."
-- Old Basque Saying
Nestled among the Pyrenees, on both sides of the French-Spanish border, the Basque country is renowned as much for its
fine culinary traditions as for its rugged terrain and the independent spirit of its people. Basque cooks are widely considered among the best in Europe, combining their love of fresh, simple ingredients with time-honored techniques. The joy of cooking
and eating are central to Basque culture. In San Sebastiand#225;n and throughout the region, men belong to cooking clubs, dedicated to the preservation of their outstanding cultural and culinary heritage. Outside the cooking societies, simple family
meals turn into feasts of mammoth proportions, and everywhere conversation invariably turns to good food and the pursuit of it.
The Basque Kitchen, lusciously illustrated with photographs of the Basque region as well as its famous dishes, is the
first major cookbook to explore Basque cooking on both sides of the border. Basque native Gerald Hirigoyen, named one of America s best chefs by Food and#38; Wine magazine, celebrates the food and memories of his beloved homeland. He shares recipes for
his favorite Basque specialties, from traditional renditions of Salt Cod "al Pil-Pil" and Pipérade to sumptuous soups, salads, meat, poultry, game, and of course, more seafood, all built on a bounty of fresh ingredients and carefully presented for the
home cook. Hirigoyen's splendid interpretations have made his two San Francisco restaurants, Fringale and Pastis, critical favorites.
Read More, Buy It