The Da Fiore Cookbook: Recipes from Venice's Best Restaurant

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9780060090715: The Da Fiore Cookbook: Recipes from Venice's Best Restaurant

The Wine Spectator calls the family-owned da Fiore the best restaurant in Venice. The New York Times praises chef Mara Martin and her husband, Maurizio, as "the city's most respected restaurateurs," known internationally for their food, regional wine list, and hospitality.In his appreciation, Victor Hazan writes, "Marcella and I raise our glasses to what you have achieved and to what, since you are both so amazingly young still, you may yet accomplish." Now, in The da Fiore Cookbook, their son, Damiano Martin, pays tribute to his parents' vision,sharing their recipes and their passion for Venice.

Da Fiore is renown for its seasonal menus that follow the ebb and flow of the Venetian lagoon and the Aegean and Mediterranean seas along with the orchards and farms of the surrounding Veneto. When the lagoon closes for a few weeks twice a year to allow the fish population to replenish itself, the restaurant takes a rest as well, upholding its high standards of serving local fresh food.

In autumn, da Fiore's visitors are treated to dishes such as Fried Soft-Shell Crabs on Arugula and Orange Salad and hearty Porcini Mushroom and Onion Soup. When scallops are at their richest and meatiest during the winter months, Mara combines them with the natural sweetness of broccoli in Pennette with Sea Scallops and Broccoli Florets. Spring heralds in a host of vegetables, inspiring dishes such as Fusilli with Squid and Peas and Asparagus and Parmigiano Custard.

And in the summer months, Mara serves signature dishes such asRed Mullet Stars with Fresh Figs and Mint and the simple, yet elegantRolled Fillet of Sole with Zucchini. Desserts, too, are seasonal,ranging from the wintry Chestnut Mousse with Persimmon Sauce to a bowl of chilled Fruit Soup, a refreshing summertime treat, and the traditional Sweet Carnival Fritters enjoyed in early spring. There are suggested American substitutions for traditional Venetian ingredientsin all the recipes.

Accompany the Martin family as they throw open wide the doors to the magical city of Venice. Stroll through the markets of Venice with Mara as she shops for the freshest ingredients. Discover the city's rich culinary history and traditions through Damiano's delightful narrative. Explore the outstanding wines of the Veneto with Maurizio's wine-pairing suggestions.

Whether you've been to Venice or intend to travel there some day, The da Fiore Cookbook brings the unique spirit of Venice's Osteria da Fiore to your own kitchen.

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Review:

Owned by its chef Maria Martin and her husband Maurizio, Da Fiore is a much-lauded Venetian seafood restaurant. Son Damiano Martin's The Da Fiore Cookbook offers almost 100 recipes from the restaurant, from antipasti to desert. Whether "traditional," such as Mediterranean-Style Ceviche or Marinated Striped Bass with Aromatic Herbs, or more original, like Fried Soft-Shell Crabs on Arugula and Orange Salad and Chestnut-Filled Calamari, the simply conceived but deeply flavorful dishes are uniformly exciting. Though the recipes are easy enough to prepare, their success for the home cook will depend largely on ingredient freshness—there's no hiding place in these dishes for less than the best. Cooks should also be aware that some of the ingredients called for--imperial shrimp, for example--are either unavailable here or, like John Dory Fillets, hard to come by. (In some, but not all cases, substitutions have been suggested.)

Apart from "entrees," the book offers a tempting array of soups, pastas, and vegetable recipes such as Asparagus and Parmigiano Custard, Penette with Sea Scallops and Broccoli Florets, and Porcini Mushroom and Onion Soup. A small dessert chapter yields delicious finales like Venetian Fried Cream and Sweet Focaccia with Figs, plus an enticing selection of cookie formulas. The author also provides a brief tour of Venice, plus a discussion of its unique "flavors." Also helpful is seafood buying instruction, which includes the insight that smaller fish are more delicate and sweeter tasting than larger specimens. The book is illustrated with color photos. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Damiano Martin lives in Venice, where he is the director of the Michelin-starred restaurant da Fiore, located in the historic San Polo district. Along with his culinary interests, he is a sportscar and motorcycle enthusiast.

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