Other than Jean Anderson's classic Food of Portugal, Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz's Food of Spain & Portugal (o.p.), and Joyce Goldstein's recent Savoring Spain & Portugal, there are few good books on Portuguese food, making Ortins's new cookbook especially welcome. A first-generation Portuguese American, she presents more than 150 recipes for Portuguese regional cooking from both the mainland and the Azores: hearty soups; lots of seafood, including the classic Clams Cataplana; grilled and roasted meats, such as a mouth-watering Garlic Steak; Batatas Fritas (Portugese Fries) and other vegetables; sausages, of course; and a selection of breads and desserts. There is also a chapter on Portuguese wines, which are becoming more popular in this country. Although the cuisines of Portugal and Spain are often treated together, Portuguese cooking has its own identity, and most libraries will want this work. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Portuguese cooking is based on commonplace ingredients: tomatoes and beans, garlic and cilantro, sweet peppers, bay leaves and wine. What, then, distinguishes it from a host of other Mediterranean food cultures? This lavishly photographed tribute to the dishes of Portugal answers that question. Ortins, a first-generation Portuguese-American, learned cooking from her father, and charming anecdotes about her Pai are interspersed throughout the book. She is an astute observer of details, carefully describing how her ingredients should feel, smell and look, rather than simply listing their quantities. Many of the recipes show off the spectacular flavors of a frugal cuisine: Fisherman's Stew of Graciosa and Turnip Green Soup with Rice, for example, are cheap, delicious and easily prepared. More elaborate dishes, like the signature Pork with Clams Alentejo-Style or her two-day tripe recipe, are lucidly broken down into straightforward, almost foolproof steps. Thorough in scope as well as technique, Ortins covers every imaginable facet of Portuguese cooking: sausage- and cheese-making, breads and sweets (such as the famous crusty rolls called papo-secos and the delicate pasteis found in Portuguese bakeries) as well as more familiar meat and seafood dishes. Not every home cook will invest in a meat grinder or a dough sheeter, make sausages or pepper paste from scratch or undertake recipes that take two or three days to prepare. Still, anyone who has ever enjoyed Portuguese cooking and longed to make it at home will find this an indispensable guide. Color photos. (Aug.) Forecast: Portuguese food is still relatively new in the U.S., which means this book has little competition. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.