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El Farol Hardcover – April 13, 2004
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Opened in 2006 by well-known local chef James Campbell Caruso, La Boca is an intimate 50 seat restaurant in the heart of downtown Santa Fe that feels like a lively European tapas/wine bar.ploring widely within the narrow focus of Spanish food, the chef creates menus (they change often) that feel fresh and new-using ancient ingredients like goat cheese, figs, pomegranates and saffron. "I really like the combination of raisins and capers or olives and citrus," he says. "That balance of sweet and tart is where you create excitement."
The effect is most visible in dishes such as smoky grilled eggplant topped with rich manchego, sweet saffron honey and briny capers. A plate of tuna carpaccio dotted with olives, drizzled with blood orange aioli and sprinkled with smoked sea salt delivers a different constellation of flavors in every bite.
By concentrating his menu mostly on tapas, Chef James taps into the small plates trend, but by keeping those dishes tightly focused on Spain, he satisfies the desire for authenticity.
Read an article by James Campbell Carouso about the history of Spanish food in Santa Fe here.
Top Customer Reviews
I believe this book almost succeeds in matching the quality of the Gray and Rogers books. The first thing that impressed me was the modesty of the book's author and `sponsor', the El Farol owner David Salazar. There was no posturing, preaching about using fresh ingredients, or gratuitous photographs of strolls through the hills around Santa Fe. The next pleasant surprise was that in spite of the fact that El Farol is very close to `Tex-Mex Central', the cuisine is almost entirely Spanish, and a fairly faithful Spanish cuisine at that. As we see in the subtitle, the cuisine also specializes in tapas.Read more ›
For quite some time I've wondered about using smoked paprika and Chef James Campbell Caruso uses this ingredient in many of his recipes. Have you ever wondered how to make those preserved lemons? There is a recipe with simple ingredients like sea salt, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and olive oil. Once the lemons are preserved, you store them in oil for six months to a year. The Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce calls for 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemons. This sauce can be served over salmon.
One of the most intriguing recipes is for the El Farol Pincho Spice Mix that makes use of all sorts of spices and herbs I've never blended together before like, smoked paprika and oregano. You rub the unique spices on anything you can grill.
If you love blue cheese, you may want to try to find "Cabrales." Most of the recipes do use readily available ingredients although you may have to hunt for saffron in your grocery store or order it online.
Recipes you may enjoy:
Lemon-Rosemary Flan - the El Farol's biggest-selling dessert
Marscarpone-Stuffed Figs and Dates - sprinkled with pistachios and arranged with orange slices.
Grilled Artichokes in Saffron Butter
Beef Empanadas - a masa harina/flour based dough filled with spicy turkey filling.
Grilled Artichokes in Saffron Butter - one of the most popular tapas (small, savory Spanish dishes)
The picture in this book that made me terribly hungry was the Ensalada de Uvas con Queso.Read more ›
There is a lot of living joy in this book
Oh and one more suggestion, I recommend the fried avocado (a.k.a. aquacate). It's delectable, although not nearly as pretty as when it is served at the restaurant. I, however, am not a culinary artist nor even close to being a chef.
From the very first recipes (which, interestingly, are the mise-en-place recipes that are so often found in the back of books) to the "big guns" in the entree section, the recipes are simple (a hallmark of Spanish cuisine), easy-to-follow, and easy to alter based on the seasons or your local ingredients. It's a rare cookbook in that it's written so that beginners can cook every recipe, and yet advanced cooks don't feel insulted or talked down to.
As with most Spanish food that I've encountered, the simplest recipes often yield the most delicious flavors, and that's the case here. Few recipes contain more than 10 ingredients, with most averaging around 5-7 (and that's including salt and pepper), but they're combined in ways that you may not have thought of, like the Gambas al Alcaparra - shrimp with honey and capers.
The #1 hits? The Puerco con Manzanas y Cabrales (pork loin with apples and blue cheese), Albondigas (lamb meatballs), Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp in lime juice)... I'm hungry again.
And for an extra-special twist, the desserts aren't just cast-offs, half-assedly strewn together by a chef who knows nothing about pastries. They're delicious, creative, and replicatable.
Even if you can't cook, buy the book just for the pictures - frameworthy, each and every one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the best recipes to feel the taste of Spain.....delicious!!!!Published 18 months ago by gabriela contreras
My girlfriend loves El Farol in Santa Fe. So for her birthday, I bought both of us this cookbook and made her birthday dinner exclusively from El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine. Read morePublished on October 28, 2012 by sheryl landrum
Tried the Lavender Goats Milk Flan on page 165 last night. Ever had an epic fail in the kitchen? Well, this was one for the history books! Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by Lovetoocook
I've not had the pleasure of eating at El Farol but I have made several of the recipes in this fabulous book. Read morePublished on December 13, 2009 by Linda
This is a very beautiful book. It is very well presented. Recipes are fantastic. What more can I say?Published on May 7, 2009 by L. Teng
Inspired by a recent vacation in Andalucia, near Jerez, I wanted to prepare a tapas meal for a friend's birthday. Read morePublished on August 15, 2008 by MerinoGirl
My passion is to research, collect and create new dishes all the time. I'm always looking for something different. Read morePublished on January 4, 2007 by Christina Luoni
El Farol is one of those cookbooks that makes you hungry when you read it. Chef James Campbell Caruso has an easy going, conversational style that feels like you're in a tapas bar... Read morePublished on December 17, 2006 by Len