Hi friends! Do you agree, there is just something perfect about seafood and garlic? They are an exquisite flavor combination. Those flavors get taken to a whole other level though with these Garlic Shrimp Montaditos from Karen Kaplan’s new cookbook “Open Faced Single-Slice Sandwiches From Around The World.”
This could be the carb-lover in me talking right now, but I’m down for almost anything with bread. Egg salad sandwiches. Bread Pudding. Avocado toast. Peanut Butter and Jelly. I don’t discriminate. So when I was invited to Melissa’s Produce to meet Karen Kaplan and learn more about her first solo cookbook, well you know I jumped at the chance!
This adorable cookbook highlights the history of open-faced sandwiches from the Middle Ages through the Modern Era. Inside its pages you’ll find 65 recipes that include tartines from France, bruschette and crostini from Italy, montaditos and tomato toasts from Spain, smorrebrod from Scandinavia, butterbrote from Germany, butterbrodi from Russia, molletes from Mexico as well as sandwiches and toasts from Britain and the U.S.
There are traditional recipes, some reinterpretations of classic dishes, and some original creations that Karen based on the flavors, ingredients and/or specialties associated with the different countries. Some recipes are rustic and some are refined, but they are all easy to make and perfect for weeknight cooking when life gets busy or weekend entertaining, when you have more time to enjoy. Each recipe also comes with its own wine or spirit pairing!
While we didn’t have wine or spirits at Melissa’s during our Media lunch, we certainly had amazing food! Every recipe captured the flavors of its country of origin. The Crab and Corn Salad from Russia with it’s beautiful flakes of crab, little bites of kirby cucumbers, red onion, fresh dill, chives and parsley with a hard egg on top was definitely a crowd favorite!
Armed with new knowledge and my new cookbook, I came home excited to try everything! Narrowing it down to which to try first, proved to be a challenge. My husband was intrigued by the book and flipped through it several times, offering his requests for dinner. Our youngest son voiced his opinion after wrestling the book away from his Father. It came down to the Garlic Shrimp Montaditos because well, garlic and shrimp. How could that *ever* be anything less than amazing? You’ll be glad to know, it lived up to the pressure of being the first recipe we tried, both the men in the house happily devoured it!
I’m in love with this book! As with any cookbook, there are lessons to be learned, not only from the recipes, but from the history of the food itself. I am intrigued by the way each country and region adapts it’s local food and flavors to the simplest of things in order to create outstanding meals. Get this book and see for yourself!
Karen Kaplan is a freelance writer, editor, translator and recipe developer. She was on staff at Bon Appétit Magazine for twenty years and concurrently was the restaurant critic for the LAWeekly for seven years and the host and producer of The Audible Feast on KCRW radio station for seven years. She was also a consultant for culinary websites and food-based reality television shows, a contributor to food and travel magazines and newspaper sections, and wasa writer, editor, translator and recipe editor for many cookbooks. She holds Le Grand Diplômed’EtudesCulinaires from La VarenneEcole de Cuisine, has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and taught at USC and UCLA.