Mediterranean Herb Cookbook
Georgeanne Brennan (Chronicle)
It's to our benefit that Georgeanne Brennan has a good memory. Thank
goodness she remembers how delicious the cucumber salad strewn with
aromatic mint was in a Greek café or how wonderful the branches
of dried fennel and fresh thyme stuffed into a rockfish made that
what fills her memory is enough to fill a book. The Mediterranean
Herb Cookbook is stuffed as snugly as the rockfish with flavorful
herbs which make that part of the world's cuisine famous. And, of
course, those herbsamong them dill, thyme, oregano, fennel,
parsley, mint and basilare now so relied upon that they're
easily available all over the world.
knows her subject well. She has a home in Provence, France, where
she teaches regional cooking and has authored Potager: Fresh
Garden Cooking in the French Style and the James Beard Award-winning
The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence.
The book contains delicacies like the Provencal tart with bacon,
ham and young greens that includes a full tablespoon each of fresh
chervil and flat-leaf parsley. But it's not just Provencal treats
that shine in the gorgeous photographed tome.
Dinner guests will certainly be dazzled by pasta with pressed purple
basil leaves and blossoms. The beautiful purple leaves pressed into
the pasta by a pasta machine make the pasta look like artwork, but
also serve to deliver a bouquet of flavor. The dish becomes a masterpiece
simply with the addition of a tad of extra-virgin olive oil, butter
and a grind of black pepper.
delicate harmony between dried apricots, peaches, pears and prunes,
chiles and garlic, onion and fresh thyme makes lamb shank with dried
fruit braise unforgettable. Fresh dishes, of course, show off the
flavors of fresh herbs even more. Tender green and yellow snap beans
lightly steamed are coated in a dazzling summer savory-Dijon mustard
vinaigrette. Oranges and walnuts get kissed by a dressing made with
minced lavender blossoms, honey and yogurt. Eggplant, zucchini and
bell peppers are soaked in an oregano-lemon marinade before being
grilled. Cilantro and fruity white wine waltz within a glorious
chilled melon soup. Try a sip; just one will probably make you a
convert to this resplendent cuisine.
Melon Soup with Cilantro
Lamb Shank and Dried Fruit
(Updated: 12/04/08 SB)