OLIVES, ANCHOVIES, AND CAPERS: The Secret Ingredients of the Mediterranean Table

Georgeanne Brennan, Author, Chronicle Books, Author, Leigh Beisch, Photographer . Chronicle $19.95 (132p) ISBN 978-0-8118-2494-1

Winner of the Julia Child Award for Aperitif and the James Beard Award for The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence, Brennan focuses her fourth book for Chronicle on "this pungent pantry trio." She explains how the colors of olives vary with their picking time, how the anchovy is caught at night ("by lamplight") and how capers, "a heat-loving, drought tolerant shrub," should be rinsed of packing salts before using. But the bulk of the book, and of the many full-page color photos (carefully composed, if shot in trendy half-focus by Leigh Beisch), is given to more than 50 recipes highlighting this trio's complex tastes—Terrine of Layered Goat Cheese and Olives with Fresh Thyme, Catalan-Style Anchovies and Swordfish with Capers and Fresh Tomatoes. Simple dishes like Roast Cod Larded with Anchovies (from Seen Lippert, formerly of Chez Panisse) can be a revelation with the right ingredients. The convention of setting the title ingredients in boldface every time they appear is annoying, and the introductory chapters have a slapped-together feel. Experienced cooks will be attracted to the book's specificity and focus, however, and it should also appeal to pasta-boilers who worry about controlling these briny basics. Agent, Susan Lescher. (July 15)

Forecast: Brennan's previous titles will attract fans to this book.

Reviewed on: 05/21/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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