Long overshadowed by France and Italy, Spain has finally taken its place as a tourist destination and culinary mecca. Consider the reborn city of Barcelona, the new respect afforded Spanish wines, the popularity of tapas bars in the U.S. (even Mario Batali has opened one), and Spain’s widely influential Michelin three-star chefs, Ferran Adria and Juan Mari Arzak.
For La Cocina de Mama, Penelope Casas has collected recipes from great chefs and home cooks alike in every region of Spain, all of whom have shared with her the dishes they grew up loving or cook at home today.There are recipes for tapas, like Clams in Garlic Sauce; elegant soups and hearty one-pot meals, like Potatoes with Pork Ribs; many wonderful seafood dishes like, Fish Steaks with Peas in Saffron Sauce; meat and poultry dishes, such as Pork with Orange Sauce, Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Mushrooms, and Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts; rice (and even a few pasta dishes); unusual vegetable preparations, including Spinach with Quince and Sesame Seeds; and desserts like Basque Apple Custard Tart. Whether of Roman, Moorish, or peasant origin, all of the dishes are appealing to today’s tastes and exemplify the virtues of the Mediterranean diet—lots of olive oil, lean meats and fish, and vegetables. Sidebars throughout discuss ingredients, areas of Spain unfamiliar to most Americans, travel vignettes, and more. Now Americans can discover the unique and irresistible flavors of authentic Spanish home cooking in La Cocina de Mama.
Penelope Casas and her husband have led gastronomic tours of Spain for more than twenty years. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, and Condé Nast Traveler. Casas is also a consultant and lecturer on Spain, a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society, and an adjunct professor at New York University. In recognition of her efforts on behalf of Spain, the Spanish government awarded her the National Prize of Gastronomy, the Medal of Touristic Merit, and named her Dame of the Order of Civil Merit. She and her husband live in New York City.