The Levantine Table: Vibrant and delicious recipes from the Eastern Mediterreanean and beyond
The populations of the Levant share a geographic position as well as cuisine, some customs, and history. Whatever your religion, aromas wafted from the kitchens tend to be similar. Author Ghillie Basan, with over forty books to her credit, is a specialist in Scottish fare, a far cry from the Levant, but with The Levantine Table, her expertise will be enhanced.
Mezes or hors d’oeuvres, and the vegetables, grains, and pulses chapters are outstanding, the other pages certainly close behind. Her recommendations will at least temporarily halt scouring online for recipes. Basan offers practical substitutes for tricky ingredients or allows you to drop an occasional far-out spice. Most of her ideas are reasonably simple to follow. Even without a supply of pomegranate seeds in the pantry or refrigerator, flat-leaf parsley can be replaced if necessary by the curly variety.
|A cook can choose to be adventurous: fish steaks slathered in a sauce comprising tamarind, hilbeh, and dried limes (pierced twice with a skewer) is an unlikely Monday supper. But potatoes can always be tarted up with chilies, lime, and coriander.
Special kudos to Steve Painter and Jan Baldwin for their superb photographs illustrating the book.
|Ryland Peters & Small
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|Cooking, Food & Wine