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Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition Hardcover – April 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hirigoyen, chef/owner of San Francisco's Piperade and Bascadillos and author of The Basque Kitchen, makes a worthy contribution to the rapidly growing number of cookbooks from the Iberian peninsula. Hirigoyen focuses on pintxos, Basque for tapas or finger foods, a specialty taken very seriously in his homeland. Many of the selections can be made ahead of time, and many are served at room temperature. Recipes are paired with wine suggestions, including such hard-to-match plates as fried chicken sandwiches, lamb's tongue, and artichoke chips. Dishes are grouped by food type—little sandwiches, stews and braises, fried bites, skewers, etc. Highlights include duck breast with oranges and green olives, tuna belly with lemon confit, tomato and watermelon salad, and fava beans with crème fraîche and mint. A detailed pantry section includes recipes for such staples as aioli, with lemon and orange/saffron variations; ham dust; garlic chips; and veal stock. With 75 recipes and 50 full-color photographs, Hirigoyen showcases a tasty and broad array of small plates that will tantalize and satisfy. (Apr.)
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Review

"[Bocadillos is] the most captivating and authentic-feeling Spanish tapas-style restaurant in the city." --Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] tasty and broad array of small plates that will tantalize and satisfy.”
—Publishers Weekly 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580089224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089227
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I suppose the two authors of this book cover themselves to some degree by using the words 'in the Basque tradition' in the subtitle, but I was rather expecting a look at variations on dishes that are either actually currently served in Spain, or that else have been traditionally prepared in older Basque cookery. Some recipes *do* specify that a given recipe is fairly typical of restaurants in certain Spanish communities (and some are otherwise immediately recognizable as typical Tapas dishes) but the bulk seem to be creations of Gerald Hirigoyen that were just merely 'inspired' by his experiences of Basque cuisine. As is noted in the introductory text, many cuisines have equivalents to Pintxos and, in the final analysis, I have to really wonder why this book can really be any more about the Basque variation of the appetizer than, say, Meze, Zakuski or plain old Hors-d'oeuvres. I like many of the recipes I read, and will certainly try some, but I really wanted a book that educated me about Pintxos actually offered in Basque-country. I do not believe I got that here. I rather think that this book is an unfortunate collaboration between a good chef who cannot write and a good writer who does not understand food (or foodies) very well.

Oh, finally.... if one is going to include pictures in a book (and the ones in this volume are technically and artistically excellent), then why (OH WHY???) not make them pictures of the actual dishes instead of the graphically pleasing, but largely irrelevant images that accompany the various recipes? I might have given 4 stars if the authors/publishers had followed this simple idea.
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Format: Hardcover
Gerald Hirigoyen is from San Sebastien, that beautiful Atlantic coast town on the little crook neck between France and Spain. It is neither. It is Basque, from the striped colored cloth to the bright red pepper. Stay there and take pleasant day drives over to Bilbao (see the Guggenheim) and to Biarritz (19th century playground of Europe). Authentic Basque cookbooks are the devil to come by. This one rhymes well and is honest to the ham bone. If you want a book to drive a long or even a short party, come hither. Beginners welcome. Experts will find their nuggets.

This is a fine collection of Basque inspired tapas (for pintxos just say PEEN-chos) recipes, nicely organized and with wine parings. From griddle, beans, fried bites, little sandwiches, bites on bread, stews and braises, soups, salads to the skewers from which the book gets it's name (pinchers) these are treats. The back of the book offers recipes for panty items to have at your ready like piperade and basic sauces. You get a simple explanation of vinegars with a reduction tip to make moscatel vinegar as a usable substitute for aged (sweet sixteen plus) balsamic. Most balsamic we see is too young for anything but salad.

The Basque dinner hours are late and long. You cannot be fooling with complex timing and rigidity. This is food to ignite your party and fuel it through the wee hours. From "Figs Marinated in Sherry with Aged Goat Cheese and Basil", "Baby Beets, Cucumbers, Olives and Feta Skewers," "Caramelized Onions with Idiazabal Cheese", "Seared beef with Piquillo Pepper and Shallot Jam", to "Chicken Skewers with Yogurt-Mint Dipping Sauce" and "Duck Breast with Oranges and Green Olives".
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Format: Hardcover
While every review so far has the word "Basque" in it, the book isn't just Basque. Hirigoyen has french training and runs two restaurants in California, so there are some dishes here that you wouldn't find looking at restaurants in Northern Spain. One dish is essentially duck l'orange with olives thrown in, and there's a calamari dish with black-eyed peas; both recipes speak to how much his dishes are informed by his biography. I like these dishes however, and the more traditional tapas you can find there as well. I only draw the line at "Scallops with Lychee Gazpacho" which was sickly sweet and evoked no landscape or culture in particular. The bottom line though is that I'm a self-taught amateur cook, but I felt like I could tackle most of these small dishes. The only challenge is really hunting down ingredients. Trader Joe's carries some common ingredients like piquillo and guindilla peppers, but you really need a Spanish specialty store nearby to get full coverage for the recipes which call for piment d'espelllette, choricero peppers and ventresca tuna. I review the book with more detail and humor at: [...]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this as a Kindle book. Probably a bad idea. The Kindle is far more portable, but isn't easy to work with when assembling food. The recipes are very interesting. I get stuck in a rut, and Tapas fire off my imagination. Many good recipes, and I will probably buy this again on paper.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great cookbook .Easy to follow instructions. Fun ingredients. Next party will have a lot of plates from this book. Most books I check at the library first...this was one of them. I then decided to buy it because it really suited my tastes. I don't do that often.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although the ingredients of some items are a bit difficult to find in stores, the cookbook lists some sources and Amazon has most of them. All the recipes I've tried have worked well and been enjoyed by our friends. Quite a few of them are very simple to do although sauces may need to be prepared in advance (which actually makes the process simpler before guests arrive).
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