Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees

Overview

"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 Sebastián and throughout the region,...

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Overview

"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 Sebastián 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 & 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
When most people think of the Basque region, they think of the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, of the bullfights in Pamplona, of Guernica, and of a rugged region populated by independent souls. But for food lovers, what really ought to come to mind is a culture that revolves around cooking and eating and a cuisine that is among the most revered in Europe. San Francisco chef (Fringale, Pastis) and Basque native Gerald Hirigoyen offers a beguiling look at this unique regional cuisine in The Basque Kitchen, sharing favorite recipes from both sides of the Spanish-French border the Basque region straddles. Drawing on ingredients the region is famous for — the freshest seafood, piquant sheep's milk cheeses, small sweet green peppers and richly spicy red ones, Bayonne ham, and many more — Hirigoyen's recipes range from the traditional to the modern. From classics like Basque Omelet with Bayonne Ham and Roasted Piquillo Peppers with Fried Garlic Vinaigrette to sophisticated Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Onion Marmalade and Quince and Goat Cheese Layer Cake with Candied Pine Nuts, these are bold and intriguing recipes that are highly accessible to the home cook. Along with recipes, The Basque Kitchen is filled with glorious color photos of both the finished dishes and the Basque landscape, and Hirigoyen is generous with stories of life in the region and with interesting tidbits of culinary history and lore. The Basque Kitchen is one of those cookbooks that takes readers beyond recipes and on a culinary journey that will be savored every step of the way.
NY Times Book Review
...[T]he Hirigoyens unlock many secrets of a vibrant and underdocumented style of cooking and offer many easy ways to sample its decisive flavors...
NY Times Book Review
...[T]he Hirigoyens unlock many secrets of a vibrant and underdocumented style of cooking and offer many easy ways to sample its decisive flavors...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780067574614
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,457,972
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Join Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife, Cameron, and discover for yourself a culture and cuisine dedicated to pure gastronomic pleasures. Chef and proprietor of two San Francisco restaurants, Fringale and Pastis, Gerald Hirigoyen is a native of the Basque country and the author of Bistro. Cameron Hirigoyen, his wife and coauthor, has a background in marketing and public relations, and works together with Gerald on his books and in their award-winning restaurants.

Join Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife, Cameron, and discover for yourself a culture and cuisine dedicated to pure gastronomic pleasures. Chef and proprietor of two San Francisco restaurants, Fringale and Pastis, Gerald Hirigoyen is a native of the Basque country and the author of Bistro. Cameron Hirigoyen, his wife and coauthor, has a background in marketing and public relations, and works together with Gerald on his books and in their award-winning restaurants.

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Read an Excerpt

Peppers Stuffed With Salt Cod

Serves 4

I have stuffed peppers with crab, goat cheese, and even beans, but the version that is closest to my heart is this one, stuffed with salt cod that has been soaked for about 2 days to remove most of the salt.(You could also substitute fresh cod, if you prefer.)

In any discussion of Basque cuisine, this dish is always mentioned as a signature dish of the region. The best version I leave tasted is that of Firmin Arrambide, whose Michelin two-star restaurant, Les Pyrenees, is located in the picturesque town of St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port in Basse Navarre province. There the peppers would he the roasted piquillo peppers of Lodosa, which can be found canned in specialty markets in this country.

Soak the salt cod in cold water to cover for 24 to 48 hours, changing the water 3 to 4 times, to desalt according to taste.

Drain and pat the codfish dry. Fillet it into 5 to 6 large pieces and set aside.

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and chill; sweat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cod fillets, reduce the hear slightly, and cook for 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally

1 pound salt cod
3/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
l dried New Mexican chile pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground White Pepper
12 roasted piquillo peppers (page 19) or 4 roasted red bell peppers,peeled and cored
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Increase the heat slightly and cook for 5 moreminutes, continuing to move the pan in a circular motion every few minutes to emulsify the ingredients. Pour into a colander suspended over a bowl to drain. Reserve the cooking liquid (jus) and set aside. Remove and discard the chill pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gently smash together the onion and cod, using the back of a large spoon. Remove any remaining bones as you work.

Gently fill the peppers with the cod stuffing until full, taking care not to break the peppers; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Over medium-high heat warm the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in an ovenproof sauté pan.

Dredge the peppers in the flour, dip them into the beaten eggs, then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Place the peppers in the sauté pan and brown them on one side for 2 to3 minutes. Turn them over and put the pan in the oven until the peppers are hot through and golden brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes.

Warm the cod jus in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the parsley and swirl the pan until jus boils.

Place a pepper in the center of each plate. Spoon the cod jus evenly around the peppers. Garnish with a few turns of the pepper mill.

TIP: Coating the peppers with bread crumbs is not essential or even traditional. However, I feel it brings an extra dimension to the dish, creating another layer of-flavor and texture.


Roasted Lamb Loin with Garlic and Thyme

Serves 4

A few years ago, I was invited to cook the main course for the grand dinner of the Napa Valley Wine Auction, an event for nearly 1,800 people. I chose to prepare this lamb loin because a festive Basque meal will always include lamb.

This is a great dish for parties because it can be fully assembled ahead of time and cooks inso short a time. Since caul fat may be difficult to find, I have made it optional. However, I encourage you to make the effort. It adds a subtle flavor to the meat while keeping it very moist and tender. I frequently serve this dish on a bed of Onion and Pepper Confit with the garlic scattered around the plate.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the 16 peeled garlic cloves, and continue cooking until the garlic is very tender,15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the garlic under cold running water for 30 seconds. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine 6 cooked garlic cloves with 1tablespoon olive oil. Using a fork or wire whisk, mash the ingredients together. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste; mix well.

Spread out the 2 pieces of caul fat, if using, and lay a lamb loin in the center of each piece. Rub the garlic and herb puree evenly over both sides of the loins. Neatly wrap the caul fat around the lamb loins and arrange on a baking sheet.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Add the loins and cook just until browned on each side, about 3 minutes. Place the sauté pan in the preheated oven, and cook the meat until medium rare, about 8 minutes.

2 quarts water
16 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
2 pieces caul fat large enough to wrap lamb loins (optional)
2 lamb loins (about 3/4 pound each), trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/4cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Veal Stock (page 228)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Onion and Pepper Confit (page 173)
Piment d'Espelette (optional)

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the 10 remaining garlic cloves and sauté until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and reglaze by stirring and scraping all over the sides and bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Cook until the wine reduces by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Swirl in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before the lamb and the garlic sauce are ready, warm the Onion and Pepper Confit over medium-high heat.

Spoon the confit into the center of a warmed platter or individual plates. Promptly cut the lamb loins into 3/4-inch-thick slices and arrange several on or around the confit. Spoon the sauce evenly over the lamb. Dust each plate lightly with piment d'Espelette.

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