cover image Moorish: Vibrant Recipes from the Mediterranean

Moorish: Vibrant Recipes from the Mediterranean

Ben Tish. Bloomsbury, $36 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4729-5807-5

London chef Tish uses Moorish influence as a launchpad for this exuberant, if culturally freewheeling, debut. The Moors—Muslims who colonized areas of Spain and Italy for centuries—firmly stamped their mark on southern European cuisine, and here Tish presents solid if sometimes curious takes on Moorish cooking. A chapter titled “Fresh” includes a watermelon salad with blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and Moscatel vinegar as well as a fried squid that’s coated with chickpea batter and served with orange aoili, and includes sardines al saor—a Venetian Jewish dish—because “it is such a lovely plate of food that I can’t bring myself to exclude it.” No matter—the food is inventive, often brilliantly so: fish cured in bergamot juice is topped with spicy Calabrian sausage, and venison skewers are coated with quince glaze. He pairs rice and black beans (known in Spain as Christians and Moors) with tender simmered octopus, and a puff pastry chicken pie—a signature dish at Tish’s Alhambra Palace restaurant—is cooked on a charcoal grill. Desserts are standouts: cassata is colored forest green with Iranian pistachios, and cookies are made with lard (to weed out hidden Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition) and toasted flour. Home cooks will delight in Tish’s alluring, Moorish-inspired recipes. [em](Oct.) [/em]