Book review: Peru: The Cookbook
By Gastón Acurio
Although">http://uk.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/peru-the-cookbook-9780714869209/)**Although not quite yet ubiquitous, elements of Peruvian cuisine have filtered into the mainstream of the culinary world to such an extent that the likes of quinoa-inspired soups, salads and stews are now Pret A Manger and supermarket staples.
It was probably inevitable, following Ferran Adrià's announcement in 2011 that Peruvian food holds the key to the future of gastronomy.
London has seen a number of popular Peruvian restaurants in recent years, such as Ceviche, Coya and Lima, but how many of us really have an idea what the nation's cuisine is all about?
You could do no wrong in picking up a copy of Peru: The Cookbook written by Gastón Acurio, a chef who is so well-known in Peru that there has been a clamour for him to stand as the next president.
Acurio owns more than 44 restaurants around the world, including the much feted Astrid y Gastón in San Isidro, one of Lima's upmarket districts, and he enjoys a TV career.
Now he has written his first book, which is the latest in a series from Phaidon focused on specific national cuisines. It is a hefty 400 pages, reflecting the fact that Peruvian cuisine is the result of a varied landscape and a melting pot of the different people who have migrated there over 500 years from Japan, China, Africa, Spain, Italy and the Arab world.
This fusion of nature and nationalities has resulted in flavours unique to Peru, from ceviches to tiraditos and tamales to anticuchos. A love of raw and marinated fish stems from the influence of the Japanese, while a wide selection of sautéed dishes reflects the arrival of the Chinese.
Many of the ingredients will be hard to find without trawling the internet for suppliers, and a lot of the recipes require much to-ing and fro-ing between pages to locate supplementary recipes incorporated into many of the dishes. It also would have been interesting to have more of an introduction to each recipe covering its origin and inspiration. These minor quibbles aside, this is a comprehensive and insightful look into a cuisine that we will soon be hearing a lot more about.
By Janet Harmer
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