Catalan Cuisine

Reading Colman Andrews's Catalan Cuisine (Macmillan, 1988) was a seminal experience for me; in fact, many of the things I learned from that book went on the menu at Spartina, the restaurant I used to run in Manhattan in the 1990s. I was inspired by the concept of mar i muntanya, the marriage of foods from the sea and the earth, in dishes like crab with sausage and beans. We used to cook huge vats of sofregit, the marmalade of onions, garlic, and tomatoes that forms the foundation of Catalan stews and braised meats. Pa amb tomaquet (grilled bread with olive oil, ripe tomato, and occasionally anchovy filets), allioli (the simplest and most transcendent garlic mayonnaise in the world), it's all in there. Thank you, Colman! —Stephen Kalt, Fornelletto, Atlantic City, New Jersey

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