cover image The Fire of Peru: Recipes and Stories from My Peruvian Kitchen

The Fire of Peru: Recipes and Stories from My Peruvian Kitchen

Ricardo Zarate and Jenn Garbee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35 (276p) ISBN 978-0-544-45430-9

Zarate’s come a long way from his humble upbringing in a rough area of Lima, Peru, but his strong family ties and an obsession with cooking eventually led to his opening the popular restaurants Picca, Mo Chica, and Paiche. Working his way up from dishwasher to owner gave Zarate insight into the intricacies of restaurant operations, as well as exposure to a wide variety of cooking styles that found their way into his cuisine in dishes like cauliflower steaks with yuzu kosho-aji sauce; a Peruvian riff on cassoulet; and parmesan scallops with spinach and Peruvian bechamel. He tells the stories behind his dishes while instructing readers how to make them, resulting in too much text: Zarate’s recipes for causas, a classic Peruvian potato casserole, spans four dense pages. While most of his dishes aren’t terribly complex in terms of technique, many call for very specific spices, such as aji panca and aji Amarillo pastes, and accompanying sauces or condiments requiring additional work. There are plenty of accessible recipes, too: Incan potato, pork and peanut stew with mint chimichurri, for example, and mini green tamales with wild mushroom sauce. Highlights are his tips for making the perfect steamed rice and whipping up a classic pisco sour. [em](Oct.) [/em]