Coastline: The Food of Mediterranean Italy, France and Spain, written by Lucio Galletto and David Dale, features over 100 recipes from the Mediterranean coastline of eastern Spain to western Italy with beautiful photography and captivating stories. Highlights include Broqueta de Llagostins (Shrimp Skewers with Paprika), Escalivada (Roasted Vegetables), Fideua Negra (Black Noodles with Seafood), Coca (Catalan Pizza), Brandacujun (Salt Cod and Potato Bake), Spungata (Ligurian Apricot Tart), and more. I will also be sharing their recipe for Cuculli Genovesi, Potato and Pine Nut Fritters from eastern Liguria, following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Interlink Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Lucio Galletto was born on the border of Liguria and Tuscany and has been the owner of his award-winning restaurant, Lucio’s, in Sydney for over three decades. He is also the author of The Art of Traditional Italian, and with David Dale: The Art of Pasta, Lucio’s Ligurian Kitchen, and Soffritto: A Delicious Ligurian Memoir.
David Dale is a writer, reporter, foreign correspondent, editor for all of Australia’s major media organizations, and currently teaches journalism at The University of Technology in Sydney. He has worked on fourteen books including Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking, The 100 Things Everyone Needs to Know about Italy, and The Little Book of Australia.
Chapters are divided according to course: Origins & Essentials, Sauces & Dips, Snacks & Appetizers, Salads, Pasta & Rice, Bread & Pizza, Soups & Stews, Simple Pleasures, and Desserts & Pastries.
Lucio and David begin with a history of cooking along the Mediterranean with the regional differences between the countries and how the area was influenced from outside sources such as the Greeks (olive oil), Vikings (baccala), and Arabs (rice, dry pasta, eggplants, oranges, sugar, and nuts). They include a helpful list of favorite ingredients with full descriptions, buying guides, and other tips. Scattered between the recipes are also additional notes with a closer look at specific ingredients, cities, and restaurants to help you learn more about this part of Europe. At nearly 300 pages, Coastline is definitely on the larger side and packed with so much more than just recipes (though those are quite delicious as well).
The photography is provided by Bree Hutchins with styling by Michelle Noerianto. Along with the beautifully styled full-page photos to accompany nearly every recipe, there are also plenty of breathtaking shots of the Mediterranean sights and landscapes. The titles are written in English and the original language- Catalan, French (or Provençal, Niçois dialect), and/or Italian (or Ligurian dialect). Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Every recipe includes a headnote with background information, personal stories, tips, serving size (usually 4-8 servings), and menu ideas.
This book is a great pick for those who love Mediterranean cooking from Spain, France, and Italy. Recipes range from the quick Pa amb Tomaquet (Tomato Bread) to the impressive Cappon Magro (Riviera Seafood Spectacular) with over 20 ingredients. There is an abundance of seafood dishes so having a supplier nearby will be helpful. You will also find plenty of uses for vegetables. Some difficult to locate items include aniseed liqueur, arborio rice, quails, saffron, chickpea flour, rabbit, cuttlefish ink, and certain types of meat.
Cuculli Genovesi (Potato and Pine Nut Fritters)
Cuculli Genovesi are little croquettes from eastern Liguria. This version was inspired by Lucio’s mother who used potatoes, but the fritters are also often made with chickpea flour.
Potatoes are boiled until tender, then peeled and mashed. They are mixed with butter, marjoram, parmesan, crushed pine nuts, and eggs before forming into balls, coating with breadcrumbs, and frying until golden. I followed the instructions for frying, but the authors state they can also be baked in a 400˚F (200˚C) oven for about 5 minutes, or until golden and heated through.
These Cuculli Genovesi are best served (carefully) straight from the oil/oven.
I also made Pa amb Tomaquet (Tomato Bread), Focaccia/Fougasse, and Xurros (Tube Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce).
A Catalan staple, Pa amb Tomaquet (Tomato Bread) comes together easily with only a handful of ingredients. It is the perfect way to use up extra over-ripened tomatoes. I simply rubbed the toasted ciabatta with garlic and tomatoes then finished with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. The authors also mention topping the bread with anchovy, a slice of ham, or slice of manchego to create a more filling dish.
Bread lovers will find a handful of fun recipes to choose from. I made the classic Focaccia/Fougasse and topped it with olive oil, sea salt, and chopped rosemary (you can also add red onion and black olives). I also had my eyes on the Focaccia con il Formaggio (Cheese Focaccia), but was unable to locate Stracchino in Northern Virginia. If you know of a place, please share! My search wasn’t a complete loss though. It resulted in some other delicious finds along the way.
Xurros are addictive little Catalan tube doughnuts. The shape is made by squeezing the batter through a fluted nozzle into hot oil. Once golden, they are covered in a cinnamon sugar coating and served hot with a warm, thick chocolate sauce.
I also planned on making the Barbajuan/Gattafin (Fried Ravioli with Swiss chard or Pumpkin Stuffing) from Monaco/Cinque Terre. Unfortunately the flu got in the way, but I didn’t want to put off this post any further. The little fried triangles will definitely be back on the menu soon.
Cuculli Genovesi (Potato and Pine Nut Fritters) Recipe
Excerpt from Coastline
Cuculli Genovesi (Potato and Pine Nut Fritters)
- 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) boiling potatoes such as russet
- 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz, 100 g) butter
- 4 marjoram sprigs leaves picked and chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz, 50 g) pine nuts roughly crushed
- Sea salt
- 3 eggs divided
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz, 50 g) dry breadcrumbs
- Light olive oil for deep-frying
- Wash the potatoes, place in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave until cool enough to peel, then put them in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or ricer. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the potatoes. Mix with a wooden spoon.
- Continuing to work the mixture, add the marjoram, parmesan, pine nuts, and a few pinches of salt. Separate the eggs and add the yolks, one at a time, mixing vigorously to amalgamate well and obtain a soft and creamy mixture. Using two spoons, form into balls the size of walnuts.
- Pour the breadcrumbs onto a large plate. Whisk the egg whites together, for dipping the dumplings into.
- Pour the olive oil into a frying pan, to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm) and place over high heat. Let the oil get very hot- 375-400˚F (190-200˚C) if you have a thermometer, or otherwise drop a piece of bread into the oil, and if it sizzles right away it is ready.
- Roll the cuculli first in the egg white, then in the breadcrumbs, and fry in the hot oil a few at a time for about 3 minutes, until they are golden brown on all sides. They will fluff up a little and become soft.
- Drain briefly on paper towel. Serve hot, sprinkled with salt.