By Leigh O'Connor.
"This is a book about the pleasure of sharing and how
societies that sometimes are divided are actually united in the details of life
that really matter.” ~ David Dale.
Chef Lucio Galletto grew up between the tables of his
parents’ restaurant in a fishing village on the Italian Riviera. While working
as a waiter and studying architecture, he met and fell in love with an
Australian backpacker and as they say, the rest is history.
He now calls Australia home and runs the acclaimed Sydney
In comparison, David Dale trained as a psychologist before
deciding he would do less harm to mental health if he went into journalism. He
has been described as Australia’s top Chef-wrangler as he’s interested in the
story behind everything he eats.
In their fourth collaboration "Coastline,” the pair have put
together more than 80 recipes and stories from fishing villages, farms and cobbled
squares of the Western Mediterranean, delving into the origin and evolution of
each dish as well as a short travel and restaurant guide for each region.
The result is a stunning cookbook that explores the food and
culture of the "cuisine of the sun,” and the ingredients that bind together
this region, rich in history from the ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs and
Olive oil, along with a love of garlic, anchovies, fresh
herbs, peppers and seasonal vegetables, dominate the recipes, such as salmon
carpaccio with anchovies, paired with a classic Ligurian bread salad, p
Originally, carpaccio only referred to raw beef and was
coined to describe the deep red colouring in the paintings of Vittore
Carpaccio, who died in 1526 without ever tasting the dish that took his name.
The term now loosely refers to any thinly sliced raw ingredient and the
delicate layers of salmon in this recipe are balanced by the crunchy cubes of
oven toasted bread.
A simple, but impressive dish of whole
baked fish with tomatoes, potatoes and olives took the authors’ fancy when
they were dining at Les Templiers restaurant in Collioure. The waiter explained
that Poisson au four facon Pauline was named after the original Chef, who
reputedly served it to Picasso and various other artists during the 1920s, and
the name literally translates as "fish in the oven Pauline-style.”
While the vegetable element remains constant, the fish that
bakes on top varies with the catch of the day. The only requirement is that it
is flat so it cooks evenly and the juices run into the potatoes - and make sure
not to turn the fish over once cooked. Locals believe if someone turns a whole
baked fish over while serving it, somewhere in the Mediterranean, a fishing
boat overturns and no one wants that on their conscience, p 231.
From the little lanes and courtyards of Girona, where Arya
Stark from Game of Thrones ran rampant in the last season, comes the Catalan
crush on sweet desserts. The Moors introduced almonds, hazelnuts, oranges and
cane sugar to the area and that has manifested into Girona’s love of pastries
and treats. While the French are usually credited with inventing the brulee process,Crema
Catalana is the Spanish version and where it differs is the addition of
orange zest, p 266.
The best way to serve it is immediately after the sugar has
caramelised to maximise the contrast between, hot, crunchy toffee and cool,
smooth custard. Originally the sugar on top was burned into toffee using a hot
iron, but don’t contemplate attempting this at home if the iron is to be used
to press clothes again.
For those who want to make the perfect pesto, best
bouillabaisse or purest paella, then Coastline is the recipe book needed to
grace the kitchen shelf.