By Paula Wolfert
Ecco Books, $45
A new book by the queen of Mediterranean cuisine is always cause for joy. This lavishly photographed volume puts the seductions of Morocco on full display: the food, of course, but also the colorful markets, the great old cities, the charming people, and the rugged terrain. Wolfert draws on her 50-year love a air with the country to fill this book with an unparalleled collection of authentic recipes and first-hand culinary knowledge. “This book is a distillation of everything I know about Moroccan cuisine,” she writes in her introduction. And what she offers here is personal. From salads, breads, and pastries to fancy couscous dishes and rustic, slow-cooked meat and vegetable tagines, these are the recipes she loves best, written with great care and an emphasis on the hows and whys of the cooking techniques.
Chicken with Fennel, Preserved Lemon, and Olives (page 302) If you’re new to Moroccan food, this comforting stovetop braise offers a bright, savory introduction to one of the cuisine’s classic flavor combinations.
Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup (page 189) This dish counts on the richness of pistachios to give Genovese-style basil pesto a new slant. Tossed with al dente spaghetti and small, sweet shrimp, it’s at once familiar and different, and quite delicious.