Matthew Kenney's Mediterranean Cooking: Great Flavors for the American Kitchen

Matthew Kenney, Author, Chronicle Books, Author, Paul Franz-Moore, Photographer Chronicle Books $24.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-8118-1443-0
Chef and restaurateur Kenney covers the entire Mediterranean rim, from Spain to Turkey, and then integrates the region's cooking in recipes that are imaginative and yet focused. He says he makes the food at his restaurants ""very approachable,"" a strategy that here brings some fine recipes within reach of home cooks. With a lively contrast of flavors and colors, Spicy Chicken Breasts with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce is surprisingly easy to prepare. Sometimes, Kenney reveals the regional or cultural origins of a dish's flavor combination. Tuna with Almond-Sesame Crust, for example, which is topped with his Tomato Jam, has Catalonian roots. Quail, hunted in the fall, gets an autumnal touch from toasted nuts in Roasted Quail with Golden Raisins and Hazelnuts. Lavishing equal care on side dishes and smaller courses, Kenney serves up a Basmati Pancake with Saffron, Honey and Mint; Spinach with White Raisins and Capers; and Tunisian Couscous Salad. In some recipes, notably among desserts such as Pineapple with Ginger Syrup or Caramelized Peach Upside-Down Cake, Kenney shrewdly slips his Mediterranean bounds, trusting simply to what works. Meeting these recipes is akin to encountering short stories by a writer adept at turning the familiar into something new and appealing: Kenney is a cook with a confident and singular voice. 24 full-color photographs by Paul Franz-Moore. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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