The cuisine of the Mediterranean was Elizabeth David's great passion, but her exploration was not limited only to the sea's European coastlines. During a period spent in Egypt, David embraced Middle Eastern flavors and incorporated them into her cooking. This sweetly spiced lamb and tomato-topped Middle Eastern Lamb Pizza has roots in Lebanon and Armenia.
'At Elizabeth David's Table' on Serious Eats
With a basic understanding of perfectly al dente pasta and the right sauce consistency, this dead simple and insanely delicious penne dressed with creamy mild mascarpone, butter, and a sprinkling of Parmesan and walnuts is the kind of ten-minute meal that all of us should keep in our back pockets. It's rich, creamy, and comforting (in the same way mac and cheese is) yet elegant and exotic enough to serve to a discerning group of dinner guests.
This Orange and Almond Cake is full of intriguing textures and flavors—a batter made from ground almonds and bread crumbs scented with delicate orange flower water and orange zest. Eggs are added in two stages: yolks into the batter and fluffy whipped whites just before baking to ensure a wonderfully spongy cake. Instead of topping the cake with an overly sugary glaze, David opts instead to spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the top. Even without adding sugar the whipped cream has a lovely, delicate dairy sweetness that plays off the cake perfectly.
Shellfish and crustaceans have a natural affinity for anise-y, licorice-y flavored things. Bouillabaisse isn't really complete without a few slices of fennel and mussels steamed with Pernod. But I'd never thought to add tarragon to the seafood before coming across this Ragoût of Shellfish in At Elizabeth David's Table. The recipe begins with an incredibly flavorful roux of butter, onion, garlic, a bit of sugar, and white wine. In classic Elizabeth David fashion, the amount of tarragon added is entirely up to the chef.
Making this pâté at home, it was a struggle to wait until it had cooled with all those heady, meaty aromas and the lovely layer of bacon on top. Slicing into it, the texture was rustically grainy with an over-the-top porky flavor. It's fatty enough to easily spread on toast. Juniper and brandy come through in a big herbal way. Sliced thin and served alongside crusty bread with a bit of mustard and cornichons (and of course, a glass of wine) this pâté is probably the most authentically French dish to come out of my kitchen.
These Piedmontese Peppers from At Elizabeth David's Table are so lovely and simple. The nearly effortless antipasto is full of the bright Mediterranean flavors that David is known for. Bell peppers are halved and filled with little chunks of anchovy, tomato, garlic, and butter, then get a drizzle of olive oil and touch of salt.
Elizabeth David single-handedly introduced British audiences to the bright, fresh flavors of the Mediterranean. Beginning her career in post World War II England, David's extensive travels throughout France, Greece, and Egypt inspired her cooking and writing career. At Elizabeth David's Table is a beautiful new collection of her recipes and writings. Prefaced by Ruth Reichl, who says her journey into food writing was inspired by David, this cookbook is filled with gorgeous photos, wonderful writing, and timeless recipes. Enter to win a copy here.