Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean

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9780811830522: Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean
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Celebrated chef and author Joyce Goldstein has a gift for sharing her extraordinary knowledge of unusual and delicious cuisines in such an approachable and joyful way that they quickly become part of the home cook's repertoire. In Saffron Shores, she brings to the table the sensual aromas and exquisite flavors of the Southern Mediterranean in a celebration of its rich Jewish heritage. From Morocco comes a vibrant orange salad strewn with olives; from Algeria, a hearty tagine of chicken with quince; from Tunisia, a spicy eggplant puree; from Libya, a saffron and paprika infused fish soup-all are authentic, kosher, and a delightful introduction to a healthful, flavorful cuisine for the modern cook. A fascinating exploration of cultures and cuisine, lush with images, Saffron Shores is as beautiful to look at as its always-accessible recipes are delicious to eat.

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Review:

Though most of us think of Jewish cooking as Eastern European in origin, there's an alluring second traditional Jewish cuisine, that of the Mediterranean. Joyce Goldstein's Saffron Shores explores the most southerly branch of this exotic repertoire, which includes the spice-infused dishes of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Goldstein, who pursued Italian- and Spanish-Jewish cooking in Cucina Ebraica and Sephardic Flavors, is ideally suited to introduce this largely unexplored and delicious cuisine; she offers 100 recipes for a wide range of dishes--appetizers through sweets--including don't-miss treats like Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Honey, Baked Fish Stuffed with Almond Paste, and Cumin Flavored Meatballs with Onion Jam and Spicy Tomato Sauce. Simple in conception, and mostly easy to do, the dishes work well for modern cooks who want something "different" without going to great lengths to get it.

Beginning with a brief history of the cooking, and presenting its flavor profile (like that of the Jews who settled in the Ottoman Empire, the Southern Mediterranean palate favors vivid spiciness with the likes of cumin and cinnamon, plus a penchant for sweet-and-sour combinations), she then introduces the tempting recipes. Of special interest is a section on savory pastries like Iraqi Chicken and Chick Pea Pastries and Lebanese Spinach Turnovers, "labors of love," says Goldstein, that are nonetheless worth a cook's involvement, and sweets, such as Syrian Rice Pudding and Raisin and Walnut Jam Tart. (Also included is a recipe for preparing boxed couscous that finally makes the most of this obvious convenience.) With holiday menus and color photos throughout, the book is truly welcome. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Joyce Goldstein , chef, author, and teacher, is an acknowledged expert on both Jewish and Mediterranean cooking, as revealed in such books as Enoteca (0-8118-2825-5) and her unprecedented exploration of Jewish cuisine from the diaspora begun in Cucina Ebra

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