Creole

Combining Asian, African, and Indian influences with European preparations, creole is the classic fusion cuisine. Babette de RoziŠres, who learned to cook from her grandmother while growing up in Guadeloupe, completes a culinary circle of sorts, bringing the signature food style of the West Indies back to Paris, where she is the owner of La Table de Babette. Between cheerful plaid covers, RoziŠres provides an encyclopedic tour of Caribbean food, from appetizers to desserts, lavishly photgraphed. Spices are complex, but not necessarily fiery hot. Many use West Indian Columbo powder or graines de roussir, a blend of fenugreek, cumin, and mustard seed. RoziŠres' gleeful mix of traditions is often evident in a single recipe, such as crab profiteroles in a saffron seafood cream, conch ravioli with a crab and lemongrass sauce, or lamb in a tumeric and wasabi white sauce with pistachios. Fruits -- such as star fruit jam or guava jelly -- often lend sweetness to the main dish. The seafood section is especially exotic, with recipes for tropical delicacies including shark, mahi mahi, conch, and sea urchin. As an aid to the novice, RoziŠres provides a glossary, an online shopping guide, and substitutions for hard-to-find items. Her clear, easy instructions make this a usable guide to fresh, bright, beautiful food that one can actually make.
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