By the time she was a teenager, Sara Jenkins had lived all over the Mediterranean, from Italy and France to Spain, Lebanon, and Cyprus, in cosmopolitan cities and in rural hamlets. The family eventually put down roots in a ramshackle farmhouse in a small Tuscan village, where she learned how to make ragu and handmade pasta at the elbow of her Italian “grandmother” on the nearby farm. Meals came from the garden and the surrounding pastures, not the supermarket, and Jenkins grew up schooled in the tradition of cooking from what was on hand.
In Olives & Oranges, Jenkins shares the simple, striking dishes she learned at the source. Many, like Peppery Braised Short Ribs and Classic Tuscan Eggplant Parmesan, are favorites from childhood. Others, like Short Pasta with Mushrooms and Mint and Spicy Lemon–Chocolate Ganache Tart, have a contemporary sensibility. Jenkins shows how understanding the Mediterranean “language of flavor” can help you follow your instincts and make your own great meals based on what you have, too. You’ll see how salt and lemon juice bring out the natural sugar in Carrot Salad with Lemon, Sea Salt, Parsley, and Olive Oil, and how to use the same technique with lime, salt, and a Moroccan condiment called harissa for a completely different effect in Tunisian Raw Turnip Salad. Continue reading ‘Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond’