In this companion to his first, best-selling cookbook, the beloved Southern chef Frank Stitt travels to Italy and brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine back home. Read more...
In this companion to his first, best-selling cookbook, the beloved Southern chef Frank Stitt travels to Italy and brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine back home. To Stitt's mind, the two regions--Italy and the American South--share commonalities. Both native cuisines have a tradition of turning humble ingredients--ground corn, bitter greens, cured pork, the daily catch--into poetry on the plate. And as the chef points out in his lively introduction to the book, this is elemental cooking based on the purity and simplicity of the freshest and finest ingredients.
Yet leave it to Stitt to make Italian cuisine his own. "There's no Pompano in Venice, but ours, fresh from Apalachicola, fits into the cartoccio (Italian fish stew) perfectly; our Chilton County white peaches are squeezed by hand for a bellini; our wild Gulf shrimp, oysters, crab, and fish are easily a match for their Mediterranean equivalents," Stitt writes. This appealing new cookbook includes the best of the Southern-influenced Italian recipes he has served at his Birmingham, Alabama, restaurant Bottega Restaurant and Cafe, for the last two decades--the Tomato Chutney and Roasted Sweet Pepper Pizza, Lamb Shanks with Sweet Peas and Mint, and fabulous desserts including Zabaglione Meringue Cake. Accompanied by sweet recollections of his journeys to Italy, this inspiring and accessible cookbook proves once again why the novelist Pat Conroy calls Stitt "the best chef in America."
La cucina di Franco Stitti
I hope Frank Stitt, award-winning chef/owner of three fabulous restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, will forgive me for Italianizing his fine Southern name, but he's earned it with his years of cooking and serving great Italian food at Bottega Restaurant and Café. Now, with his second cookbook, Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef's Love Affair with Italian Food, he invites us all to his Mediterranean table and makes it possible to replicate the recipes at home. Stitt's take on Italian cuisine is infused with his Southern sensibilityyou can take this boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the boy and that's what makes these recipes sing with a unique culinary harmony. Shell beans replace cannellini beans and pair with wild American shrimp and lump crabmeat in a Southern take on a classic Italian summer salad. Zabaglione Meringue Cake is a sweet, snowy triumph of a Southern cake with an Italian accent. There are some truly simple dishes like Fennel and Parmigiano among the 150 recipes, but this is not quick-fix cooking. These are the elegant, much-admired dishes served at Bottega, made accessible by Stitt's detailed instructions and his helpful, tip-filled header notesthe results are worth the extra effort.