Cookbook Review: El Farol, Tapas and Spanish Cuisine by James Campbell Caruso
Pub Date: April 2004
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
FTC: From my husband's cookbook library
When my good friend first moved out to New Mexico, she told me about this fabulous tapas restaurant called El Farol in Sante Fe. We went there together in the Spring of 2005. The food was fabulous, but even better, I scored a signed copy of the chef's cookbook El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine for my husband's birthday. And got to meet Chef James Campbell Caruso who came out to sign the book. (He was a complete sweetie).
Although the chef has since moved on to other projects, this cookbook remains one of my favorites. There is no tapas restaurant here in the mountains, but the recipes in El Farol are, for the most part, so easy that I can make them at home without breaking the bank or spending all day in the kitchen.
The book itself is very pretty. There are lots of pictures, although there could be more. (You can never have too many pictures). The chapters make sense. You have the basic sauces he uses at the very beginning, followed by soups, cold plates, hot plates, main courses and then desserts and drinks.
My favorite recipes are the Grilled Honey-Caper Shrimp, the Posole Clam Chowder, and the Rosemary-Yogurt Flatbread. One of these days, I'm going to try making the empanadas and the sangria recipes. Even the complicated recipes are written with clear directions and do not use any fancy cooking techniques. These recipes are adapted for home cooks. Every recipe I've made has become a family favorite that is requested again and again.
My Grade: A-