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Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America Hardcover – November 8, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have tried several of the recipes only to be underwhelmed. J A has a good rep but it hasn't shown here.Published 8 months ago by Frank Teixeira
Received this book and was just not inspired by any of the recipes. I was hoping for a whole array of interesting new flavors and techniques from the classic tapas tradition, but... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Michael A. Smethurst
I'm an avid home cook and I've been thinking that a tapas party would be great for my next family gathering. I picked up this book as well as "100 Best Classic Tapas". Read morePublished 17 months ago by TAD
Excellent book with acessible menu items for an authenticate taste of Spain. The family raved after our tapas party. Recommended!Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer