Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country
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Don’t let the fact that this is a vegetarian book put you off if you’re not a vegetarian. It’s a wonderful source of ideas.
If you’re only familiar with Polish food in the form of the hunter’s stew called bigos and an array of toothsome sausages, vegetarian cuisine may seem out of place. But Michael Korkosz, a food journalist who won a Saveur award in 2017 for his blog Rozkoszny (means “delicious”), offers an enticing and fascinating selection of recipes that prove otherwise. Plus, we’re almost always going to have something nice to say about a book with a whole chapter on pierogi.
Korkosz’s strategy is two-pronged: in some cases he simply removes meat from traditional dishes, such as bean soups and cabbage rolls called gołąbki, and then introduces other flavors that are consistent with traditional Polish cuisine. His version of bigos, for instance, uses smoked plums to add a rich umami taste. But in other cases he’s rethinking a dish from the ground up. His potato salad incorporates fermented radishes and sliced pears to contrast with the creamy potatoes. One of his many pierogi is filled with lentils paired with dried tomatoes.
And then there are a wonderful selection of desserts: yeasted buttermilk cakes with berries or stone fruit and a streusel topping; “Heaven cake,” made with apples, walnuts, and a chocolate glaze; an apple-orange pie; strawberry-lime preserves with almonds.
This is a bounty of thoughtful good cooking.
Paperback. Color photographs throughout.