cover image The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook: Fresh and Savory Recipes from the Mediterranean Garden

The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook: Fresh and Savory Recipes from the Mediterranean Garden

Georgeanne Brennan, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (156pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-1990-9

Moving beyond the French table (Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style; The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence), Brennan explores the light and easy side of Mediterranean-herb-inspired fare. This collection of 120 recipes features simple-to-prepare yet flavorful dishes, ideal for ""busy schedules that have little room for complex preparations."" The book is organized into three main sections: ""Using Culinary Herbs,"" ""Growing Your Own Herbs"" and recipes. The first section covers 27 different types of green and woody herbs, followed by kitchen techniques on cutting, cooking and preserving herbs. The encyclopedic entries that describe each herb often prove less than enlightening for readers, as Brennan digresses to the regional culinary uses of herbs (e.g., angelica, popular in Sicily, southern Spain and southwestern France, is carved into various shapes) instead of focusing on where and when American home cooks can find them. In contrast, beautiful photography by Grey Crawford showcases a winsome repertoire of appealing and healthful recipes, including Pork and Kumquat Skewers with Dried Thyme and Lavender, Green and Yellow Snap Bean Salad with Summer Savory, Pasta with Pressed Purple Basil Leaves and Blossoms, and Grilled Peaches Topped with Rosemary Marscapone. ""Basic Herbal Recipes"" deliver a tasty sample of herb-based butters, sauces, marinades and beverages. Brennan concludes by offering gardening tips to green thumb hopefuls in ""Growing Your Own Herbs."" In the end, Brennan's garden-fresh approach to dining will appeals to the senses. (May)