November may be full of traditional culinary indulgences, but you can stilltreat your tongue to a few surprises. Spice things up by serving someof the international gastronomic goodies found in these new cookbooks by three of the world’s most celebrated chefs.
Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook
By Nobu Matsuhisa and Thomas Buckley
(Kodansha International, $40)
With winter fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to thumb through this tropical finger-food feast from the masters at Nobu Miami and take a culinary vacation from the bitter cold. Nobu Matsuhisa has put his heart into these clever citrus- and seafood-intensive creations, all meant to be shared. The book’s sun-saturated photos ratchet up the salivation factor, especially for dishes like Baked Florida Oysters and Black Cod in Butter Lettuce Wraps. And you’ll undoubtedly do a doubletake at the Avocado Wedges with Tuna and Miso, an inspired dead ringerfor prosciutto and melon.
You’ll likely need to troll the aisles of your local Asian grocery store before tackling most recipes; the book’s glossary will help you with your shopping list. Be sure topick up some ice, too, so you can reward your extra effort with a Miami Margarita.
Spain … A Culinary Road Trip
By Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow
You know it’s a good road trip when it’s measured by meals rather than miles. Superstar chef Mario Batali and food enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow (along with food writer Mark Bittman and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols) crisscross Spain to learn about, and then share, the country’s best culinary traditions -- from the berberechos (clams) of the Galician coast to the pintxo (tapas) bars of Basque Country.
I fit all sounds too picturesque for print alone, you’re right. The book, which serves simultaneously as a photo-filled scrapbook and a cookbook, is a companion to the 13-part television series titled Spain … On the Road Again that’s currently airing on PBS. Batali, who spent his high-school years in Spain and adores the cocina española, envisioned the trip as a means of introducing Spain to the United States in a fun but informative way. Mission accomplished.
The Complete Robuchon
At 813 pages, this encyclopedia of modern French cooking is as heavy as itis helpful. It comes to us from acclaimed chef Joel Robuchon, whose 10restaurants worldwide have racked up a combined 17 Michelin stars inhis 40 years of cooking. That’s more than any other chef can claim --and more than enough for his own constellation.
Described as “French home cooking for the way we live now,” the 800-plus recipes range from surprisingly simple (scrambled eggs) to labor-intensive fare (foie gras terrine). Robuchon’s updated takes on classic dishes will add flavor to any gathering. There’s also a brief chapter on regional specialties, which include humbler dishes, like potato pancakes andcabbage stew, that may not star on Robuchon’s own menus but satisfy the senses nonetheless.