cover image My Portugal: Recipes and Stories

My Portugal: Recipes and Stories

Georges Mendes, with Genevieve Ko. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61769-126-3

In addition to collecting recipes for greatest hits from Mendes's highly regarded restaurant, Aldea, this cookbook gives readers greater insight into Mendes's personal journey as a chef, as well as a deeper appreciation for Portuguese culture and cooking. Mendes begins humbly with a handful of recipes for salt cod, a staple of the cuisine, and gradually increases the complexity of the dishes before moving on to the next chapter. This approach, coupled with essays on the people, places, and experiences that have influenced him, pulls the reader in and encourages experimentation. Even though readers may not have the talent, budget, or palate for Aldea's famous saffron rice with seared shrimp and foie gras, they can certainly prepare the simple garlic seared shrimp if they want to get a taste of Portugal. There are recipes for formidable dishes such as terrine of baby goat and sea urchin toasts with shiso and lime, but there are just as many for hearty, rustic fare: an omelet with linguica and chorizo, a white button mushroom stew redolent with smoky paprika and red chile flakes. Packed with crisp, toothsome images of the dishes and postcard-worthy shots of Portugal, Mendes's collection is an inspired, loving tribute to the country. (Oct.)