cover image Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Persia and Beyond

Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Persia and Beyond

Sally Butcher. Interlink, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-1-56656-018-4

Restaurateur and prolific cookbook author Butcher (Persia in Pechkam, New Middle Eastern Street Food, etc.) merges the two in this terrific collection of dishes from her London café, Persepolis, which gives followers over 150 new vegetarian recipes to incorporate into their repertoires. Though her frequent references to Veggiestan (“just to the right of Kyrgystan, a tad to the left of Pakistan, and just above Snackistan”) quickly get old, Butcher’s recipes are solid. Even the most rabid of carnivores will have a hard time avoiding luscious, savory dishes such as kubdari, a baked sandwich stuffed with spinach, chickpeas, cheese, and apricots; Algerian honey pancakes; and baked mushroom mini moussakas. Those new to vegetarian cooking will find plenty of approachable dishes (roasted beet dip with hazelnuts, watermelon gazpacho), while veterans will appreciate palate-expanding fare such as sour cherry rice and turshana, a sweet and sour Iraqi fruit stew with potatoes, beans, apricots, nuts, and prunes. Butcher is an enthusiastic and erudite hostess, patiently walking readers through the dishes and offering substitutions if they’re unable to source or not fond of a particular ingredient. Those tired of the same old vegetarian fare will have a field day with this terrific collection. (Jan.)