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Contorni: Authentic Italian Side Dishes for All Seasons Paperback – July, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
With Insalate, Simon successfully took a basic Italian food category, the salad, and expanded it to its maximum capacity to encompass all kinds of delicious vegetable dishes. Here she does the same for contorni, or side dishes. Granted, in Italy most side dishes consist of a vegetable sprinkled with olive oil and salt, but Simon's slight stretching of the definition is welcome, since it leads to inclusion of free-form Spring Vegetable Tarts and Eggplant Parmesan. She acknowledges, for example, that while Classic Risotto, Milan Style is usually served as a first course in Italy (except when it accompanies ossobuco), it can easily take the place of mashed potatoes on the American table. Simon successfully translates the Italian tendency to let the flavors of fresh produce shine through in deceptively simple creations such as Linda's Garden Green Beans, with lemon juice, tarragon and thyme, and Truffled Mushrooms, sliced thin and cooked with garlic and parsley. The author also urges readers to eat seasonally, and the chapters are divided that way, with Gabrio Bini's Baked Vegetables (squash, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower among them) appearing in the fall and Braised Belgian Endive in the spring.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Travelers returning from Italy bring back fond memories of Italian chefs' ways with vegetables. Using the freshest garden produce available in local markets, Italian chefs and home cooks prepare both exquisite side dishes and appetizers. Susan Simon's Contorni , taking its title from the Italian for side dish, explains how to prepare such delights in an American setting.
Some items such as potato croquettes and baked tomatoes adapt well to American produce. But classics such as Rome's Carciofi alla Giudia require a type of artichoke seldom found in American markets. Simon's eggplant Parmesan comes in a light version that makes the typical American version seem clumsy. Her baked stuffed radicchio could easily become any meal's most memorable dish. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The dishes are divided by season (the author states that vegetables are best when in season). Each offers a few different recipes with each vegetable, ranging from bell peppers to leeks. All of them look amazing, can't wait to try them all. The best is that they are vesatile enough to work for everyday dinners or special occasions.
Another thing worth mentioning: the photography in this book is worth the purchase price alone (as of now, the purchase price is around $6, you can't beat that with a stick). Beautiful rustic dishes, sprawling landscapes. Absolutely beautiful.
Worth every penny and then some!