Irish cooking in the twenty-first century has grown from the homey, staid, insular, and hidebound into a recognized part of world fine cuisine, thanks in no small part to a handful of chefs who have taken lessons learned abroad and married them to superior native meats and vegetables. Organized by region and county, recipes from each chef offer several menus, from casual lunches to formal dinner fare. The book’s accessibility for home cooks is enhanced by both metric and American measurements; nevertheless, some ingredients that may lend authenticity, such as seashore greens and seaweed, may be daunting to duplicate this side of the Emerald Isle. Anyone searching for truth-in-cookery photographs will gratefully note that accompanying captions and comments detail how the pictured dishes may vary from the recipes’ ingredients. This sort of assiduousness raises this celebration of Irish food a bit beyond mere coffee-table decoration.
The New Irish Table is a luxuriant color photographic tour through the provinces and famous regions of Ireland, with celebratory side visits to Irish celebrity chefs’ kitchens in Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Galway, Derry, Fermanagh, and Cavan. Some of the chefs featured include Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Darina Allen, Martin Bealin, Ultan Cooke, Tim O’Sullivan, Ian Orr, Noel McMeel, and Neven Maguire. If you were able to visit some of the finest cookery schools, fine dining establishments, and chefs to be found in Ireland, you would perhaps taste a few of these sumptuous recipes which feature the best of local resources. Fantastically beautiful photographs of Irish scenes help to frame and place each set of treasured recipes. measurements are given in standard form, with metric weights and volumes added. Some of the featured dishes include Seared Lamb and Beetroot Salad, Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Pickle, Cod, octopus, Purple Broccoli, Broccoli Puree, and Horseradish Mayonnaise, Crispy Duck Breast with Glazed Butternut Squash and Star Anise Jus, Braised Lamb with pearl Barley Risotto (West Kerry Lamb), Whipped Goat cheese with Beet Slaw and Apple Syrup, and more. For desserts, there are recipes for Sheep Yogurt Mousse with Marinated Strawberries and Mint, Vanilla Panna Cotta with Honeycomb, Raspberry Cheesecake, Victoria Sponge with Strawberries, and a personal favorite, Guinness Chocolate cupcakes, also Lemon Curd with Meringue and Raspberries. For classic tea accompaniments, there are Ballyknocken Tea Scones and Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread. Some recipes call for uniquely Irish ingredients, but they are included to tempt the reader to further culinary and geographic explorations. All are freshly presented and imagined, such as Carpaccio of Scallops with Chili, Lemon, and Wood Sorrel, or Wood pigeon, Gooseberry, and Spinach/ A delight such as Renvyle House Berry Trifle is delicately introduced embellished with amaretti biscuits. Hearty traditional Irish fare is not neglected, including such recipes as Traditional Fish and Chips, and Smoked Irish Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Traditional Boxty. Each recipe is presented on one page opposite a beautiful photo portrait of the finished dish. Instructions are clear and easy to follow. For a beautiful cook book that is at least half stunning scenic Irish photo portraits, treat yourself to “The New Irish Table.” It is surely the next best thing to a journey to that great green, sea- encircled land.
—Midwest Book Review