Book review: The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro

09 August 2022 by
Book review: The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro

Jose Pizarro has returned to his homeland to bring a taste of Spain with his new book

José Pizarro has found a bounty of success in London over the years, from his first solo venture in 2011, José in Bermondsey, to his first central London location in the Royal Academy of Arts, which opened last year.

Now he has returned to his homeland to bring a taste of Spain with his new book, The Spanish Home Kitchen. While recipes range from the straightforward (eg rice and clams) to the deliciously dynamic (the cherry gazpacho leaps out on first flick through), each dish has a sense of comfort and home.

Pizarro has interwoven ingredients with memories as he introduces the reader to the flavours he grew up with, which have led him to his restaurant empire today.

A recipe for girolle and walnut croquetas (opposite) was inspired by Pizarro's father's walnut tree, a beautiful metaphor for food passed down through the family. The tuna tortilla has been served at José Tapas Bar, though Pizarro suggests an alteration from his own mother to make the dish with just tuna and eggs.

There's a sweet simplicity to the book, shown through the photos of Pizarro's family sharing a meal in the Spanish countryside. Additionally he keeps chapters to the bare minimum: vegetables, fish and seafood, meat and sweet.

The intro to each recipe contains personal anecdotes which inspire the reader to want to try everything, from the lentils with chorizo and potatoes, which Pizarro says would be his death-row meal, to the roast partridge stuffed with wild mushrooms and chicken livers that was apparently stolen from the monastery of Alcántara by Napoleon.

What is great about this book – and what more should consider – is the menus section towards the end. Pizarro gives ideas for what dishes can be served together as part of a dinner party and in what order each element should be cooked to achieve a harmonious meal.

Tapas isn't just about small plates, it's about sharing those plates with your dining companions. Pizarro's latest book makes you want to share each dish with everyone you know.

The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro (Hardie Grant, £27)

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