Going to a farmer’s market is always an adventure. I never make a list as you never know for sure what foods might be there. This is my favorite way to shop, on the fly if you will. Last week-end I picked up some leeks, artichokes, green onions, red onions and zucchini. Once home I scanned the pages of my newest cookbook, The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito, and oh my goodness there are so many great recipes.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we. The landscape picture on the cover is just what one would expect to see if visiting the region, see picture above. The introduction talks about the authors, how they met and about the Basque culture. The next chapter is on the basics, techniques and ingredients. Then instead of the traditional set-up of chapters, starters, breakfast and so on, you get small plates, kitchen garden, eggs, cod, soups and stews, gathering and entertaining, sweets and beverages. I felt this cookbook was authentic in the sense that a single ingredient, one for example a leek can be the star of a dish. It’s simple cooking, but slow and thoughtful.
One of the many recipes that appealed to me was the artichokes with lima beans and Spanish ham. Now I knew I could not immediately get my hands on the lima beans or ham in this small rural community that we are living in. But I did have the fresh baby artichokes. In this recipe the artichokes are simmered in a gentle bath of olive oil until they are tender. Which was exactly what I did. My husband declared this an amazing way to prepare this obscure little vegetable which I served with a small green salad.