Andalusia is the southern-most tip of Spain. It is a region of mountains, hills, rivers and fields bounded by a seacoast that is abundant with fish, shellfish, octopus and other delights. This region was under Moorish rule from the 8th to the 15th century, a fact that has influenced the culture from every perspective. Some of the most beautiful architecture in the world is there in Seville, Granada, and Cordoba.

And there is the food. Famed chef and author Jose Pizarro takes you on a visual tour of that food is this charming book. The book is dotted with authentic recipes using some of those ingredients that, truly, will tease your imagination. Ever cooked pork cheeks? Here’s his Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks with Oloroso Sherry:

 

If pork cheeks are just a step too far for you, then you surely can indulge in this delicious Roast Chicken with Orange, Cumin and Apricot Rice.

Here’s a sampling of other ideas in Andalusia, some easily comprehensible and some just offering you a little mystery:

Flamenco Dancer [rolls of pork fillet filled with serrano ham, cheese and mustard mayo]

Venison Fillet with Wild Mushrooms and Chestnuts

Prawns Baked in Salt with Mango, Chili and Coriander Salsa

Tuna with Onion and Tomatoes [that tuna seared for just 1 minute]

Clams with Chorizo

Grilled Octopus with Asparagus, Broad Beans, and Blacked Lemon

Beet, Blood Orange, Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad

Almond and Bread Gazpacho with Roasted Leaks and Grapes

Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and Vinegar [a tapas favorite]

Cheese-stuffed Fried Olives [more tapas]

Strawberry [and tomato] Gazpacho

Apricot Sorbet with Almond Cookies

Pumpkin and Chestnut Fritters

Fig Margaritas

It was the Arab invasion that brought sugar, spices and fruit trees to Southern Spain. You’ll find the dessert selections here, like that Apricot Sorbet, to be outstanding. Honey, nuts, and fruits are woven into treats that are the perfect end for, say, a main course of octopus. The warmth and intensity of the flavors here will have you dreaming of a journey to Spain. Before your flight, you can enjoy an early start in Andalusia.

Oh, can you really do these recipes? Of course, you can. Some of these are restaurant recipes, most of them home ones. The ingredient lists are modest and the instructions take just a few short paragraphs. This is not fast food, but it is not long food either. It’s Goldilocks Food: just right.