by Joyce Goldstein, Paolo Nobile
by Bill Marsano*
You'll Be Salivating in Minutes
First things first: 'antipasto' is the singular. It's the plural that takes the 'i,' and what Goldstein here gives us is a splendid plurality. Also, the word doesn't mean does not mean 'before the pasta,' although that's when it's served. And it's not limited (as all too often) to platters of thin-sliced cold cuts with a few raw vegetables and some olives on the side. Joyce Goldstein makes that abundantly clear with a wide selection of recipes--five dozen or so, not counting variations--from most of the regions of Italy. Many will come as revelations to those who've been led to believe by media faddists that only Tuscan cooking is Italian cooking. Goldstein ranges far afield--to Sicily, the Abruzzi and Marche, from Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna to Calabria and Apulia. Her antipasti range widely too, from simple cold plates (such as Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Stuffed Eggs) that guests will inhale with their flutes of Mionetto prosecco to more elaborate hot plates (Double-Crusted Pizza, Truffled Rice Croquettes) that you'll be tempted to serve as entrees. She doesn't stop there, but goes on to discuss regional styles and specific ingredients (for example, she wisely counsels using real, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano, not the insipid domestic "parmesan" or the awful "parmigianito" imported from Argentina. The recipes are nicely complemented by wine suggestions from Jeffrey Meisel, who knows his stuff and willingly shares it. That is, he doesn't brush you off with useless advice like "serve with a good red wine." Instead, he cites specific wine types and producers, and gives several alternatives, too.
The photographs, by Paolo Nobile, will make you hungry (when it comes to food photos, that's the highest comopliment there is, so far as I'm concerned). My only complaint is that the recipes should have been made more legible: The pale, sans-serif type can be hard to read. Art directors tend to forget that many readers will have their cookbooks propped up on the kitchen counter to consult while they cook. In such cases the eye-to-page distance is greater than when you are curled up in an easy chair with a glass in your hand and the book in your lap, and legibility is proportionately more important.--Bill Marsano is an award-winning writer on wine, spirits and travel.
About the Author
Joyce Goldstein is a nationally known chef, author, teacher, and Mediterranean cooking expert. Her numerous books include Italian Slow and Savory , Solo Suppers (0-8118-3620-7), Enoteca , and Cucina Ebraica (0-8118-1969-8). She lives in San Francisco. Paolo Nobile is a photographer specializing in food. His work has appeared in Elle , Gourmet , and Grazie magazines.
* Bill Marsano is an award-winning writer on wine, food and travel.