Book Review: Spain and the World Table
Spain and the World Table
by The Culinary Institute of America
with text by Martha Rose Shulman
Published by DK Publishing, April 2008
Here's another review that I've been meaning to get to you folks.
Spain and the World Table is "the the first cookbook to emerge from the conference, is filled with gorgeous photographs and helpful notes and honors the timeless traditions of this culturally diverse nation while celebrating the frontiers of flavor and technique emerging from Spain’s most creative kitchens."
What conference say you? Well, "Each year, the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America selects one nation’s cuisine to highlight during "Worlds of Flavor," its flagship conference and festival.Widely acknowledged as the premier forum on world cuisines and flavor trends, “Worlds of Flavor” draws more than 700 industry leaders"
I've really enjoyed this book. I've been interested in exploring my Spanish culinary heritage lately and it couldn't have arrived at a better time. I had some fun playing with the various recipes all of which are simple, beautifully illustrated and well written. So far all of the instructions have been spot on. I really like that most of the ingredients are available in my local grocery store.
Long time readers of this blog will know that my other food obsession is soup and this book has recipes for 15 Spanish soups; everything from chicken stock to gazpacho to bread soup. One soup recipe stood out as soon as I opened the book, Cold Almond and Garlic Soup. I had to try it. And I did. And it was good.
- 2 cups loosely packed day old country style bread or fresh bread, torn into1 inch pieces
- 6 2/3 cups water or as needed
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, Spanish please
- 16 medium green grapes, halved and seeded for garnish
- 2/3 cup toasted almonds
- Soak the day old bread in 1 1/3 cups of the water in a medium bowl for 10 minutes. Skip this step if using fresh bread.
- Process the garlic and almonds in a food processor fitted with the steel blade for 1 minute or until finely ground. Stop halfway through the process to scrape down the side sides of the bowl. Add the soaked bread and any soaking water, 2 teaspoons of salt, vinegar and oil and blend for 2 minutes or until a smooth paste forms. Add 2 cups of the water and blend for an additional 2 minutes or until smooth
- Transfer to a medium nonreactive bowl and stir in the remaining 3 1/3 cups of ware (use 4 1/3 cups of water if using fresh bread) Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until well chilled.
- Stir the soup well, reaching to the bottom of the bowl, just before serving. Taste and adjust the seasonings with 1/2 teaspoon of salt or more as desired. Ladle 1 cup of soup into each chilled soup bowl, garnish with the grapes and toasted sliced almonds and serve.
Photograph of Cold Almond Soup (Ajo Blanco) courtesy of UKTV Food, which has a slightly different take on this soup. Try it, you'll like it.