A16: Food + Wine – Nate Appleman + Shelley Lindgren

A16 is an acclaimed restaurant in San Francisco, inspired by the food from the Campania region in southern Italy. It is named after the highway that runs through Campania connecting Naples to Puglia. A16: Food and Wine, a cookbook by A16’s executive chef and Wine Director, Nate Applemen and Shelly Lindgren respectively, is an excellent guide to the wines and peasant food of Campania and nearby regions.

The book is divided into two parts, the first a comprehensive guide to the wines of southern Italy by wine director, Lindgren. Interest in the wines of the South has been growing lately as they continue to shed the bad reputation they garnered from years of bulk wine production. Going region by region from Campania through Sicily, focusing on the grape varieties of each region, this section of the book is a great resource for anyone interested in exploring the various wines of the Mezzogiorno, as southern Italy is called.

The second half of the book is devoted to the food, of course. I have always had a great interest in southern Italian cooking, probably due to my Sicilian roots, and A16 is a book that fits very comfortably on my bookshelf. The pantry section is an excellent primer on ingredients ranging from anchovies (with instructions on how to filet and prepare the salt packed whole ones) to San Marzano tomatoes. The recipes are where this book really shines though, typically southern Italian sometimes with a modern flair, such as Lamb and Ricotta Crespelle with Tomato and Pecorino, Grilled Swordfish with Fennel and Tomato Agrodolce, Penne With Eggplant, Tomatoes, Black Olives, and Basil, and authentic Neopolitan Pizza.

Publisher: Ten Speed Press, 2008
Hardcover: 278 pages