cover image Olives & Oranges: Recipes & Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond

Olives & Oranges: Recipes & Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond

Sara Jenkins, Mindy Fox, . . Houghton Mifflin, $35 (372pp) ISBN 978-0-618-67764-1

While many cooks and cookbooks find inspiration in the Mediterranean's culinary traditions, this appealing, beautifully photographed tome by Jenkins (chef of New York City's Il Buco and Mangia, and the recently opened Porchetta) and Fox (editor of La Cucina Italiana ) uniquely synthesizes a diversity of regional styles while adding some fresh ideas to the mix. Having grown up as the daughter of a foreign correspondent and absorbing the culinary vernacular of the countries in which her family resided (Italy, Spain, Cyprus and France), Jenkins uses the Mediterranean pantry as her foundation. She instructs how to select appropriate oils and vinegars; make the most of briny olives, anchovies and bottarga; and select cured meats and cheeses. The recipes that follow are organized almost like a restaurant menu, from a small plate of Sweet Corn Sformato to mains like Slow-Braised Pork Loin with Prunes. Jenkins acknowledges the classics in dishes such as the Tuscan peasant soup Ribollita or the chestnut meringue dessert Montebianco, but she also makes room for her own mashup interpretations, tossing spaghettini with ground lamb, yogurt and mint, and melding jasmine tea and dark chocolate in an intriguing panna cotta. Labeled as “slow-cook” or “quick-cook,” recipes are designed for ease without compromising their rich, timeless flavors. (Sept.)