Review of 'The Basque Book' by Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero

A nicely laid out hardback edition featuring a collection of 114 recipes. It begins with an introduction from Alexandra about herself and her interest in Basque, how she met her husband etc.  She then goes into fundamental techniques and ingredients necessary to cook in this style.

I found it interesting the ways they use salt in preparing the food as I had never heard of those techniques before.  Salt, onions and oil are at the heart of all Basque food - so she delves into the different ways they are used.  She tells that in Basque food all dishes are equal value - meat is not necessarily the star of the show.  Meals are built of textures and temperatures from a selection.

While I did find this book a great introduction to Basque food,

I am a bit put off by all the strange ingredients that pop up in things I would consider making.  Things such as chomiero pepper paste, jamon serrano, guindilla or arbor chile, marjoram sprigs, black truffle paste, trout roe, sherry vinegar, instant dash, foie gras.

This is definitely a great book if you are into seafood. I'm not so much, so my choices are more limited throughout the book.  She has a whole section on cod and how to salt cure it etc.  Great information for those that love it!  Also seen in there are recipes with cockles, crab, shrimp, mussels, sardines, tuna, periwinkles, squid, monkfish, bream, hake,. Also blood sausages, rabbit, garden snails,

Recipes standing out for me I want to try are the chicken croquettes,  Ham croquettes, Spiced lamb meatballs with warm pea salad,  poached leeks, classic spanish tortilla, basque style yeast buns, Breakfast yogurt cake, Spice Cookies,

There are not pictures for every recipe. The writer does recommend you buy imported Basque or Spanish ingredients for the recipes in this book.  She has a section at the end listing the different ingredients and her recommendations. She stated through the book the importance of fresh/ correct ingredients to get the right flavors etc. I feel a bit overwhelmed to even try anything since how can I know if I make it correctly? I think I need to just go to her restaurant, decide what I like and then go back to the recipe book. Then at least there is something to compare it to.  The photos look delicious and the way things are cooked looks so flavorful.  After reading other reviews on this book I thought it was more recipes I could make now but after reading the entire book through it's evident there are specialist ingredients required for most of these recipes, and most of them are probably only found online.

Overall, I enjoyed reading about Basque culture and food.  The photography throughout was beautiful.  I probably won't make too many recipes from this book as most of them just don't appeal to me personally.   Once I try any I will update my review to let you know how I found the actual recipe.

Please note, Blogging for Books sent me this book in exchange for my review.  This review is entirely my own.