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Wine Bar Food

Mediterranean Flavors to Crave with Wines to Match

Written by Cathy MantuanoAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Cathy Mantuano and Tony MantuanoAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Tony Mantuano

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After the workday, in places like Seville, Milan, Barcelona, and other cities that dot the Mediterranean, people gravitate to wine bars to relax, meet friends, savor small dishes of flavorful food, and, of course, enjoy the local wines that perfectly complement the moment.

In Wine Bar Food, acclaimed restaurateurs Cathy and Tony Mantuano show you how to re-create this irresistibly appealing part of the Mediterranean lifestyle at home. Organized by city, from Lisbon to Rome, and paired with accessible wines from each region, the delightfully unpretentious, simply prepared dishes can be shared as small plates by many or make a sit-down dinner for two or more. The 100 recipes emphasize flavor and ease of preparation over strict authenticity, so you’ll be able to round up the ingredients effortlessly to create delicious meals any night of the week, including:

Flaming Ouzo Shrimp (from Athens)
Pork Ribs with Garlic, Chilies, and Tomato (from Naples)
Pea, Bacon, and Pecorino Salad (from Nice)
Amaretto Polenta Pound Cake (from Venice)

Rich with great advice on affordable wine gems and recipes for some killer wine cocktails, Wine Bar Food has everything you need to make weeknight dinners and gatherings with friends simple, fun, and flavorful affairs.


Flaming Ouzo Shrimp
Serves 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course

This recipe is in the tradition of the flambéed Greek cheese dish known as saganaki. Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored liqueur that matches well with shrimp.

Make sure that the ouzo goes on while the dish is very hot, or it will not light. And remember to stand back when flaming the shrimp. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

   • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
   • 1 russet potato, very thinly sliced
   • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
   • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
   • 1 1/4 pounds peeled and deveined extra-large shrimp (under 15 per pound)
   • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
   • 6 ounces ouzo
   • 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.

2. Heat a large skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the oven and add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Carefully layer the potato slices in the pan, slightly overlapping them. Top with the slices of jalapeño, garlic, and finally the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

4. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the oven and add the ouzo. Stand back and carefully hold a lit match to the juices to flame the dish. As the flame begins to die down, squeeze the lemon over the shrimp. Serve immediately.

Limoncello Martini
Makes 1 cocktail

Amalfi in southern Italy is full of lemon trees that produce the biggest, most flavorful lemons in the world. So what do you do when life hands you these lemons? Make limoncello martinis, wonderfully refreshing in spring and summer, bracing in fall and winter.

   • 1 lemon wedge
   • Confectioners' sugar
   • 1 1/2 ounces citrus-flavored vodka
   • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
   • 1 ounce limoncello
   • Twist of lemon peel

1. Rub the rim of a martini glass with the lemon wedge. Put some confectioners’ sugar on a small dish, tap the dish to level the sugar, and invert the glass into the sugar to coat the rim.

2. Shake the vodka, lemon juice, and limoncello with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


“Cathy and Tony's new take on the seemingly simple and yet immensely satisfying concept of food and wine pairings makes it easy for both the novice and the professional to get so much more than the sum of vino plus comestibles. Most interesting to me are the lesser known wines from the Iberian peninsula and the killer yet easy to make snacks that accompany them. I'll take one of everything, please.”
—Mario Batali, author of Molto Italiano

“With the popularity of small plates growing every day, this book by ‘team Mantuano’ will help you fill your table like the finest chefs do in their kitchens.”
—Bobby Flay, author of Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook

“Having witnessed Chef Tony at work, I can safely say he is indeed a magician. Tony's approach is both elegant and breezy making this cookbook of secrets, also known as Wine Bar Food, a must-have addition to any kitchen. Plus, there are loads of delicious recipes for vegetarians like me.”
—Todd Oldham, designer

“There is no better Italian restaurant in America than Spiaggia; Tony Mantuano has always been committed to the truest flavors and finest pairings of wine for his extraordinary cuisine. Now, with Wine Bar Food, he makes that same standard of inspired excellence available to home cooks and wine lovers everywhere.”
—John Mariani, food and travel correspondent for Esquire Magazine and author of the Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink

“I can only imagine the fun Cathy and Tony Mantuano had bar-hopping their way through Mediterranean culinary capitals researching these mouthwatering recipes that transport your mind and taste buds all at once. These bar bites are for non-fussy cooks and guests who have the confidence to enjoy what is rustic and what is local.”
—Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table

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