Aegean

Marianna Leivaditaki. Interlink, $35 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62371-874-9
In a standout debut, London chef Leivaditaki, who grew up working in her family’s restaurant on Crete, writes with grace and passion about the region’s cuisine. A recipe for octopus describes how its color will change to red and the sounds it will make as it cooks; and a mixture of parsley, tomatoes, and peppers to accompany lamb meatballs is chopped by hand “as finely as possible”— it’s “a bit messy but it’s totally worth it.” The author often looks beyond Cretan classics, but always has a sound reasoning for doing so: cured cod pastourma hails from Turkey, not Greece, but would fit in “at any traditional village café with old men sipping on raki and bantering about the past,” and she invented cuttlefish with anchovy and goat’s milk curd upon returning from England in an effort to modernize the menu at her parents’ restaurant. Humble ingredients are expertly transformed in dishes like thinly sliced potatoes layered with a paste of tomatoes, peppers, capers, and anchovies, and pork shoulder simmered with the herb malotira, typically used in the mountains of Crete to make tea. Desserts are similarly intriguing and free of gimmickry: crisp shards of phyllo, for instance, are incorporated into the batter for an orange cake. This fresh take on Aegean cuisine introduces a captivating new voice. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/19/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-85783-807-0
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