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the appetizer:

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share by Paula Wolfert, includes recipes like Ribollita in the Style of Siena; Tian of Eggplant, Tomato, and Fresh Cheese; and Beef Paupiettes with Tomatoes and Wild Capers.

Cookbook

 

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking
Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

by Paula Wolfert

 

In Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share, Paula Wolfert offers 150 recipes that evoke the very essence of this famed culinary landscape as well as practical guidance.

"I'm not quite sure how it happened that I became a clay pot junkie. Perhaps it was the different shapes and sizes, the colors and glazes, the myriad variations on primal shapes that attracted me. Or perhaps it was just that earthenware produced such great-tasting food. And that's where I begin this book, by asserting a simple truth: Most food—and Mediterranean food in particular—tastes better cooked in clay. Ever since I started studying Mediterranean cuisines fifty years ago, I heard cooks from the south of France to Morocco sing the praises of clay pots and how they enhanced the local food. Whenever I conduct a comparison in my classes of slow-cooked dishes prepared in clay and in metal of any sort, clay always wins out."
     —Paula Wolfert

Starting off with a clay pot primer, Wolfert describes the three main materials that are referred to throughout the book: earthenware, stoneware, and flameproof ceramic cookware (also called flameware), then demystifies the process of selecting the appropriate vessel for her recipes. And while innumerable specialized clay pots exist, Wolfert predominantly uses the same half-dozen basic and relatively inexpensive pots throughout the book so that cooks with a less-extensive collection than her own need not be intimidated. These include:

  • Spanish cazuela—a round earthenware vessel glazed all over except on the very bottom. Perfect for making Orange-Glazed Pork Belly or Cazuela Duck Confit with a Ragout of Green Lentilles du Puy.
  • Chinese sandpot—a lidded round pot, similar in shape to a bean pot or deep casserole with round sides. Use it to recreate Wolfert's version of the Provence-inspired Anchoiade with Creamer Potatoes, Fennel, and Celery or Slow-Cooked Sandpot Mushrooms (the clay infuses ordinary mushrooms with flavor almost as deep as wild varieties).
  • Moroccan tagine—with a high conical or dome shaped cover that fits into a shallow base, this vessel acts as a kind of closed chimney. The ideal vessel for Moroccan Fish Tagine with Tomatoes, Olives, and Preserved Lemons.
  • Romertopf clay baker—a terra-cotta roaster with a domed cover that is made of unglazed earthenware and acts as a miniature oven. Stuffed Breast of Lamb Aegean Style or Romertopf Clay-Baked Chicken Stuffed with Serrano Ham and Olives are two fantastic dishes to try in this pot.
  • Clay casseroles—simple, deep earthenware or flameware casserole used to cook soups, daubes, stews and other slow-cooked dishes on the stove or in the oven. Use it to prepare Turkish Stuffed Dried Eggplant and Peppers, served warm with a bowl of yogurt and garlic sauce.

Also not to be missed are Wolfert's sensational recipes for Potato Gnocchi (she's created an ethereal 10-step process for fool-proof results), as well as Carlo Middione's Gypsy-Style Clay-Wrapped Chicken—a delicious roast chicken recipe that is literally wrapped and baked inside water-based clay.

Wolfert leaves no stone unturned, with ten recipe chapters for everything from Soups; Fish and Shellfish; Pasta and Grains; Chicken, Duck and Other Poultry; Egg and Dairy Dishes; Dessert, and more. Two color inserts showcase 18 fabulous recipes (not to mention some of the pieces in Wolfert's gorgeous clay pot collection). Woven seamlessly throughout are the stories of Wolfert's travels and studies in the Mediterranean, with a supporting cast of locals and famous chefs that she has met along the way. Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking is sure to become a classic reference, worthy of a spot beside The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen and The Cooking of Southwest France.

 
About the Author

Paula Wolfert is widely acknowledged as one of the premier food writers in America and the "queen of Mediterranean cooking." She writes a quarterly column in Food & Wine, and is the author of seven cookbooks, several of which have remained in print for upwards of 30 years. Her two most recent cookbooks, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen and The Cooking of Southwest France, 2nd edition, received stunning reviews. Wolfert's writings have received numerous awards, including the Julia Child Award, the M.F.K. Fisher Award, the James Beard Award, the Cook's Magazine Platinum Plate Award, and the Perigueux Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Saveur, Fine Cooking, and Cook's Illustrated. In 2008, her book on Moroccan cuisine was inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame by the James Beard Association.

 
  • Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking
    Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share
  • by Paula Wolfert
  • Wiley 2009
  • Hardcover; 352 pages; $34.95
  • ISBN-10: 076457633X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7645-7633-11
  • Information provided by the publisher.

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This page created January 2010


 


 
 

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