Oh, how I love this cookbook! Paradiso Seasons is a collection of recipes by Denis Cotter, chef and owner of Café Paradiso, located in Cork, Ireland. The Café has received international acclaim for its innovative, mouth-watering vegetarian dishes. I know many people don’t equate Irish food with haute cuisine, but I’m telling you—the Irish have stepped it up a notch in the past few years. I’ve lived in Ireland twice, and the last time I left this was a going away present. (Thanks Annajoy and Kristen!) Paradiso Seasons is their second book, which focuses on using seasonal ingredients to make flavorful, beautiful meals. This cookbook won Best Vegetarian Cookbook of the Year in 2004.
My favorite recipe is Summer stew of sweet peppers, new potatoes and sugar snaps with basil, garlic and olives, and goats’ cheese ciabatta. This is the perfect dish for the height of summer, when tomatoes and peppers are at their prime. It’s similar to a piperade or pepperonata; the broth is created by the juices in thinly sliced onions, succulent tomatoes, and ripe bell peppers, stewed with olives and thickly sliced garlic and finished off with fresh basil and sugar snap peas. It’s best served as the cookbook recommends, with pesto and goats’ cheese ciabatta. I’m lucky to have a gluten free bakery nearby that makes excellent focaccia, which holds up well to the pesto and goat cheese. Just be sure to use fully cooked bread, then coat the bread in pesto and goats’ cheese and bake it again at 400° until the goat cheese begins to brown and the bread is toasted. This protein-rich toast is a great accompaniment to many Fall and Winter soups as well. If you’re making a soup for dinner and you’re not sure if it’s quite filling enough for a main course, this will definitely tip it over the edge.
This recipe is unfortunately not available online, but the cookbook is well worth purchasing. The cookbook is available for purchase at Powell’s Books. If you’re not ready to commit, you can find a somewhat similar version of the recipe here.
If you have a favorite cookbook, please share in the comments!