The legendary flavors of the Silk Road are the inspiration for this book from the Paris restaurant Shirvan, currently generating much buzz on Place de l'Alma.
The restaurant's name comes from a region and city in Azerbaijan. The chef, Akrame, journeyed there early in the 21st century, and as someone whose heritage combined French and Algerian traditions, was fascinated by the culinary intersections he saw.
The recipes he offers are not strictly traditional, but they vividly suggest the possibilities in the foods of a place through which myriad spices passed on their way across Asia to Europe. And their presentation, captured here in richly saturated photography, displays a colorful, bountiful style in which flavor contrasts are on display.
These range from a seasonal salad of beets, tomatoes, and fresh herbs to a Central Asia chakchouka to a lamb and pomegranate seed-laden flatbread called El Qutab. There are other surprises, such as an octopus couscous and a chocolate naan. All are beautifully photographed. Additional photography reveals the bustling markets and street vendors of the city.
Not a book which can lay claim to authenticity, but interesting and appealing nonetheless.
In French. Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.