A few weeks before Christmas we dropped into Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks to take a peek at what’s hot in the culinary book world. And, as usual, we wound up picking up a couple of things that would make fun gifts—but somehow we forgot to give them away.
One was Len Deighton’s French Cooking for Men (Harper Collins $21.95, hardcover). As we wrote in the Courier, it’s “… a delightfully, tongue-in-cheek sexist and absolutely jam-packed primer from the prolific writer, (complete with easy to follow comic-style strips) for the aspiring man-chef in your life. Seriously, this may well be the best ‘back to basics’, no-nonsense French guide we’ve seen.”
The other book we didn’t mention at the time because it’s in French—although still really easy to follow.
Sardines en Boîte, by Garlone Bardel, is a little book (literally, about 4 ins. sq.) from the popular Marabout collection (Hachette).
It’s sardine-can-packed with good and healthy ideas for the little fishies, from canapés and small plates to main courses, pizzas—and even a couple of veloutés—offered in extremely easy to prepare recipes. There’s even a few cross-cultural tastes thrown in, such as spring rolls, keftas and maki. But no sardine ice-cream. Quel domage!
Yes, we know: there’s nothing like fresh sardines, if you can get them—but most of us can’t that easily. Plus, even though this mini-tome is all about sardines, you can easily substitute anchovies. And we do … occasionally.
Currently we’re big on making a variation of pissaladière—sometimes with sardines, sometimes with anchovies.
We’re also inclined to cheat a little in the name of convenience. Instead of making pâte brisée from scractch, we buy ready-made, wholewheat pizza dough (from Bosa Foods), which we halve to make the thin crust that we want.
Right now it’s a toss-up as to which version we prefer. The caramelised onions are a delicious foil to the sardines, which take on a milder flavour when baked, while the saltier anchovies (that also play wonderfully with the onions and baked black kalamata olives) are more faithful to a classic pissaladière. The best version so far combines both sardines (Portuguese) and anchovies—a can of each!
If you’re looking for a true budget bite, this delicious, cheap and easy treat is hard to beat.