There are lots of Spanish cookbooks out there that tell you how to make tapas or other dishes at home. What they don’t always tell you is that there are plenty of ingredients used in Spanish cooking that are definitely not the same in the US as they are in Spain. This means that while you can make some great tapas, you’re probably not going to be able to recreate that memorable meal in Spain exactly. In Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, Spanish chef Jose Andres carefully crafts recipes for authentic Spanish dishes that can be recreated just perfectly in your home kitchen.
The book covers food from all of the many regions of Spain, from the northern Basque country down to Andalucia, and it also covers all types of recipes, from salads to tapas to desserts. One of the things that I like best about is is that the author spends sometime talking about the history and culture of each region of the country, to give a little sense of what the food and people are like. The recipes are well laid out and easy to follow. Many of the ingredients called for are quite specific – a specific liquor, for instance – to really capture the flavor of the Spanish dish being made as closely as possible, but substitutions are suggested for ingredients that might be more difficult to find. And if anything unusual is called for, it is well described and you’ll know what it is and why it is being used. There are lots of fantastic photos of both the food and the people of Spain throughout the book.
For fans of Spanish food, it is worth noting that this cookbook is a companion to a TV series of the same name. Many of the recipes were featured on the show, but of course many more have been added so there is not too much overlap in content. You can order episodes on DVD for a more in depth look at Spanish culture and some great cooking demos