Basque in the glory.

Any cookbook that refers to itself as a “love letter” to a particular cuisine has got us instantly intrigued. And Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s The Basque Book lives up to that moniker, not least because they fell in love cooking in a Basque restaurant in New York City and were later married.

Basque cooking is unique in its simplicity, often only using just a few ingredients. But you’ll be amazed at the complex flavors you’ll coax out of them, when armed with a few techniques. The authors begins with the fundamentals—frying, brining, seasoning—and then introduces some building blocks of the cuisine: mayonnaise, stocks, and sauces. From there you’re well-equipped to begin your exploration of Basque dishes.

Eat your way through the pinxtos, or the Basque equivalent of tapas, with creamy ham croquettes, scallops marinated in soy, sherry, and ginger, and fragrant, spiced lamb meatballs. There’s a whole chapter devoted to eggs (“The Basques love eggs cooked every way and at every meal” say the authors)–don’t miss the tuna and foie deviled eggs, and of course the classic spanish tortilla. The sweets often involve fruit, like red-wine poached cherries over a bouncey flan, or honey and nuts, like when smothering a Basque yogurt-like specialty called cuajada.

Trust us: allow Raij’s affection for all things Basque to sweep you off your feet and you just might find yourself in love, too.

Comes with a signed bookplate.

  • Length: 304 pages
  • Author: Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero and Rebecca Flint