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Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America Hardcover – November 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews Review

In Tapas, a collection of 100-plus recipes for Spain's savory small dishes, chef José Andrés writes of journeying during his military service to Cádiz, in southern Spain, where he was "able to see the wonders of frying first hand." The passion that would lead an on-leave soldier to investigate a cooking technique infuses the book, which is something new under the sun. In chapters based on characteristic ingredients, such as fish, rice, and eggs, readers are introduced to authentic yet reproducible tapas of great and flavorful immediacy; these simple dishes, which include the likes of Tomato Toast with Spanish Ham, Pan-Fried Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Cabrales Cheese, and Spring Leeks with Mushrooms, are instantly inviting. They'll also fit into a wide range of menu slots, as hors d'oeuvres, brunch and supper fare, or as side dishes. In well-written notes, Andrés provides context and something more--a sense of a living culinary tradition, which he loves, deftly presented to best advantage. Writing, for example, of the poor quality of most stuffed olives, a favorite tapa, he exhorts readers to make their own. "Simple ingredients prepared in a simple way--that's the best way to take your everyday cooking to a higher level," he says. Amen, and an invitation to cook--and understand--wonderful food. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Although Andrés, a protégé of modern Spanish culinary padre Ferran Adria, stresses the importance of "sticking to the basics," each recipe in his debut collection of tapas (small-plate dishes) is stunningly standout. From Lobster with Clementines and Grapefruit in Saffron Oil to Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Cabrales (a knock-your-socks-off Asturian blue cheese), each dish, matched with a Spanish wine, strikes the right balance of being unusual but not too out there. Recipes are introduced with an anecdote, helpful hints and simple variations, and traditional Spanish dishes that typically take hours to prepare have been updated to accommodate modern cooks' schedules (among them, a Catalonian classic slow-roasted chicken, stewed with dried apricots, hazelnuts and prunes, ready in under 30 minutes). Though Andrés omits desserts (with the exception of flan, courtesy of mamá), he more than makes up for it with entire chapters dedicated to mushrooms, tomatoes and even garlic. Andrés showcases the bounty and vibrancy of Spanish cuisine without alienating readers, explaining through his precise and charming philosophy that "tapas are for eating at home or with friends." 260 color photos. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400053595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400053599
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 112 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`tapas, a taste of spain in america' by Washington restaurateur, jose andres with wordsmithing by richard wolffe, is a very creative look at tapas from a modern point of view by a disciple of the great Spanish chef Ferran Adria. While there are many excellent books on traditional tapas by Spanish food experts such as Penelope Casas, this book gives us a whole new look at this genre of cooking.

The first thing that appeals to me about the book is the organization of the chapters by principle ingredient. The highlighted ingredients are:

Olives and olive oil






Vegetables and More


Garlic and onions


Cheese and eggs





Other Meats

The first entry is obvious as there is no cuisine on earth, even the Italian cucina that is more infused with olive oil, as Spain is the producer of the largest share of the world's olive oil by a significant margin. Things the French may do with pork fat, such as confits, the Spanish do with olive oil.

Of course, I could not resist jumping to the chapter on potatoes to see Andres' take on the Spanish tortilla or, as Andres puts it, `Tortilla de patatas' which is actually much less confusing than its more familiar name. Virtually every treatment I have seen of `Tortilla do patatas' uses the same basic four ingredients, potatoes, eggs, onions, and olive oil, plus salt, and Andres' recipe is no exception.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Susan K Flinn on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"A Taste of Spain in America" makes the perfect holiday gift for anyone who enjoys cooking, glorious photos of food, or Spanish culinary delights. The book is gorgeous and easy to use. Designed for the home cook, the recipes are inventive and interesting, but not intimidating. Directions are clear and concise, and ensure that the novice chef -- or an experienced cook just learning about tapas -- can create attractive and tasty dishes. Chapters are designed around ingredients, so if you don't like olives, or fish, or mushrooms, you can just skip those sections. At the same time, this arrangement allows you to fully explore the possibilities of an ingredient through multiple, varied recipes. A sure winner!
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Sawyer on August 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because a friend of mine took me to Andres' restaurant in DC while on vacation. I loved the food and wanted to recreate it when I got home.

The main thing I like about the book is that it has the recipes for the items offered in the restaurant. I know what they are supposed to taste like because I've tasted them at the restaurant. Many times you buy the cookbook for a TV chef or restaurant chef and it doesn't have the recipes from the show or the restaurant which is annoying to me. The directions and ingredients are very easy to follow and I love the pictures showing me what the end product is supposed to look like and with plating suggestions.

The reason I gave it four stars instead of five wasn't necessarily because of the book itself. Many of the recipes have complicated components that must be made ahead of time. There are many ingredients that aren't commonly found in grocery stores requiring a trip to a specialty market. In most cases, substitutions are suggested. Many of these recipes aren't last minute "I have guests coming over and need something to serve them recipes". This is more of a planned evening, probably with everyone in the kitchen drinking wine as the tapas are prepared and placed out for everyone to enjoy.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Darlene Mendoza on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just recently purchased the book, Love it! The recipes are very well written, very easy to follow, not too many ingredients. I have tried quite a few of the recipes and have received very pleasing comments! The book is well worth the purchase price, great holiday gift for the cook at heart.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Omar Siddique TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Despite being a long-time self-professed foodie, gourmand, and accomplished cook, I'm not usually a fan of cookbooks, finding most shallow in technique and ideas, with big names or glossy photos trying to cover for a lack of substance.

Jose Andres' cookbook, by comparison has a big name -- the man responsible for some of the best dining in the Washington DC area, and lots of glossy photos. But it breaks the stereotype I expected by tying in culture, techniques, and excellent combinations of ingredients.

The book is broken into chapters by its inspiring ingredient (eg, "potatoes" or "olive oil"). Each chapter has an introduction on the subject food, and each recipe in each chapter has both background on what makes the recipe special in Spain (or what inspired his creation of the recipe), and a tip on making the dish, as well as a suggested Spanish wine pairing. And of course the recipe itself, and the requisite gloriously glossy photo.

All of that works and works really well. The book is a joy to flip through, the recipes seem attainable, and the writing is inspired. Highly recommended whether you're new to the world of small plates or already an experienced fan of tapas.
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