Baco by Josef Centeno

Josef Centeno is the chef credited with capturing the myriad tastes of Los Angeles on one plate. In his debut cookbook written with food writer, Betty Hallock, Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles, he delivers his food - vibrant and fresh with influences taken from the melting pot of cuisines that make up this fascinating food paradise.

Recipes span from simple to show stopping, exploring sauces, soups, mains, salads, and desserts, too. Vibrant, perfectly presented dishes fill this book which is broken down by flavors starting with spicy, salty, pickled, preserved as the first chapter and ending with bubbly, sweet, sour and vivid with a world of flavors and textures sandwiched between.

Bäco is both approachable and elegant. Something as simple as his recipe for Salty caramel where he adds an essence of citrus is mind blowingly delicious - I will never go back to regular caramel. A recipe for Lengua "schnitzel" with brown butter, capers, and cherry tomatos (beef tongue) follows a Tomato-dill papparedelle with caraway bread crumbs which shows the range of dishes you will find here.  I may not have time to test dozens of recipes for every book Eat Your Books does a promotion on (I don't feed the Navy or have the budget to do so) but I have learned so many new and interesting tidbits to bring a punch of flavor to a dish (citrus in caramel or the caraway bread crumbs on pasta are just a few examples). Taking inspiration from a cookbook makes it a keeper for me - not only workable, interesting and complex recipes but also little twists to make recipes that I have to whip up on the fly more special.

Special thanks to Chronicle Books for sharing the following recipe with our members today and for providing three copies of this beautiful book in our contest below open to US and Canada members.


Rutabaga and pancetta with lemon, anchovy, and capers

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Serves 4 to 6

Rutabagas are one of my favorite winter vegetables. A cross between a cabbage and a turnip, they taste like a rich, less starchy potato when cooked. I like their like-a-carrot-but-less-sweet earthiness with meaty pancetta (Italian cured but not smoked pork belly) or bacon and all the flavors of a bright-sharp salsa verde, including tangy Dijon mustard, briny-rich anchovies, tart lemon, and aromatic garlic. The pancetta is just crisped but still tender, and the rutabaga has a lush quality. Use an extra just-picked herb or sliced scallions as garnish for an element of freshness. This might be considered a side dish, but I eat it with a salad of greens and call it dinner.

NOTE: White anchovies, also known as boquerones, are anchovies cured in vinegar (or vinegar and olive oil), causing the fillets to turn white. They're available at select supermarkets and online.


  • 1/2 cup [7 g] fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 white anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup [60 ml] olive oil
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 rutabaga, about 3 lb [1.4 kg], trimmed and peeled
  • 4 oz [115 g] pancetta or slab bacon (1/2 in [12 mm] thick, if sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 scallions, green part only, cut into very thin slices on the bias

MAKE THE DRESSING: Whisk together the parsley, anchovies, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, garlic, mustard, red pepper flakes, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Cut each rutabaga in half and cut each half into 3/4-in [2-cm] slices. Lay each slice flat and cut into large 3/4-in- [2-cm-] wide batons. Add the rutabaga to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cut the pancetta into lardons that are 1/2 in by 1/2 in by 11/2 in [12 mm by 12 mm by 4 cm]. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add the pancetta, and sauté until the fat renders, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the rutabaga and sauté until tender and the edges are well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, garlic, and salt and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and toss with all but a couple of tablespoons of the dressing.

Transfer to a platter. Drizzle the remaining dressing and scatter the scallions over the top. Serve immediately.

From Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, photographs by Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso (Chronicle Books, 2017).

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada and UPDATE - EYB is offering one copy worldwide excluding CA and US.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on February 17th, 2018.


  • lebarron2001  on  1/9/2018 at 4:11 PM

    I would make Sweet potatoes with aonori mascarpone butter, feta, and honey

  • hedder14  on  1/9/2018 at 4:13 PM

    I've spent a great deal of my life in Ca. The sound of this book is amazing. I would love to try the Caeser Brussel sprouts as I'm a huge fan of sprouts

  • Angryyew  on  1/9/2018 at 4:23 PM

    Sautéed broccolini with Mexican Sriracha and queso fresco

  • Sueskitchen  on  1/9/2018 at 4:39 PM

    Anytime I find a unique recipe that includes rutabaga has my attention!

  • Kristjudy  on  1/9/2018 at 5:17 PM

    Potato croquettes

  • lisaevanoff  on  1/9/2018 at 5:32 PM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • lpatterson412  on  1/9/2018 at 6:24 PM

    Sweet and sour huckleberries!

  • skipeterson  on  1/9/2018 at 6:38 PM

    Blistered green beans with fenugreek-chipotle tomato sauce

  • matag  on  1/9/2018 at 6:56 PM

    Chicken escabeche with mint

  • EmilyR  on  1/9/2018 at 7:28 PM

    Sautéed peaches and shishito peppers with goat cheese, cashews, and saffron honey. I've eaten at the sister restaurant next door (P.Y.T) and it is incredible!

  • kmn4  on  1/9/2018 at 8:08 PM

    Cacik - boy, do I miss Turkey...

  • contest718  on  1/9/2018 at 9:54 PM

    Jicama salad with mango, fennel, cucumber, peanuts, and lime and fish sauce vinaigrette

  • jmay42066  on  1/9/2018 at 10:08 PM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • heyjude  on  1/9/2018 at 10:29 PM


  • heyjude  on  1/9/2018 at 10:38 PM


  • jr0717  on  1/9/2018 at 11:13 PM

    The recipes on the first page alone caught my eye! I'd love to make the pickled rooibos grapes!

  • AnnaZed  on  1/10/2018 at 12:20 AM

    Pomegranate and Concord grape molasses

  • ravensfan  on  1/10/2018 at 7:17 AM

    "Caesar" Brussels sprouts

  • lean1  on  1/10/2018 at 8:32 AM

    Jicama salad with mango

  • janv  on  1/10/2018 at 5:34 PM

    Coffee-rubbed prime rib with mint and rose pickled red onions

  • infotrop  on  1/10/2018 at 9:15 PM

    Orange-scented creamed spigarello with almonds and Aleppo pepper sounds like fun, if I can track down spigarello broccoli....

  • tcjanes  on  1/10/2018 at 11:05 PM

    Beets bi tahina

  • sgump  on  1/11/2018 at 10:52 AM

    I was just talking about jicama last night, so the jicama salad with mango, fennel, cucumber, peanuts, and lime and fish sauce vinaigrette sounds refreshingly lovely!

  • rchesser  on  1/11/2018 at 1:27 PM

    Pomegranate and beet molasses

  • vinochic  on  1/11/2018 at 1:36 PM

    Lebni with eggplant purée, fava "hummus," and za'atar

  • tarae1204  on  1/11/2018 at 4:01 PM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • ktwalla  on  1/11/2018 at 4:23 PM

    Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Brown Butter, Meyer Lemon, Green Olives and Chives

  • sarahawker  on  1/11/2018 at 6:58 PM

    Virginia peanut and coriander dukkah

  • DarcyVaughn  on  1/12/2018 at 12:17 AM

    Creamy grits with blistered tomatoes, pickled serrano chiles, and sunflower-miso tahini

  • Steben  on  1/12/2018 at 10:44 AM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • Julia  on  1/12/2018 at 10:51 PM

    All of the pickles,Caesar Brussels sprouts.

  • Dannausc  on  1/13/2018 at 6:57 AM

    Caraway croutons

  • LaurenE  on  1/13/2018 at 2:58 PM

    Jicama salad with mango, fennel, cucumber, peanuts, and lime and fish sauce vinaigrette

  • robynsanyal  on  1/13/2018 at 8:53 PM

    Almond and sumac dukkah

  • Laura1  on  1/14/2018 at 6:48 AM

    jicama salad

  • lgroom  on  1/14/2018 at 1:08 PM

    English pea and dill "hummus."

  • love2laf  on  1/14/2018 at 1:27 PM

    Rutabaga and pancetta with lemon, anchovy, and capers

  • PennyG  on  1/14/2018 at 4:55 PM

    I'm enamored by dukkah right now, so Marcona almond, coconut, and rosebud breakfast dukkah!

  • SnarkyLarane  on  1/14/2018 at 5:00 PM

    I bet that coffee-spice rub would be amazing on all sorts of meats!

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  1/14/2018 at 5:34 PM

    I would make the Hazelnut and fennel dukkah first.

  • Shelley.b  on  1/15/2018 at 10:23 AM

    Caraway croutons

  • tennyogirl  on  1/15/2018 at 3:02 PM

    The tomato dill paparadelle sounds pretty great.

  • bettinab  on  1/15/2018 at 5:43 PM

    Potato croquettes

  • kbennall  on  1/16/2018 at 3:31 AM

    Poblano-feta dip

  • ljsimmons  on  1/17/2018 at 2:34 AM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • Siegal  on  1/18/2018 at 6:57 PM

    I want to try the car way croutons

  • trudys_person  on  1/18/2018 at 11:08 PM

    Pistachio Cheesecake sounds delicious!!

  • antpantsii  on  1/18/2018 at 11:41 PM

    Berberé-spiced meatballs

  • Livia  on  1/19/2018 at 2:40 PM

    It has got to be the Bulgur pancakes with grape leaves, raisins, and goat cheese

  • lauriesk  on  1/19/2018 at 3:42 PM

    I would definitely try the Chimichurri first.

  • bettinab  on  1/19/2018 at 4:45 PM

    Pea and dill hummus

  • milgwimper  on  1/19/2018 at 5:04 PM

    mint and rose pickled onions. curious flavorings.

  • GillB  on  1/19/2018 at 5:23 PM

    Almond and Sumac Dukkah

  • Scotsman61  on  1/20/2018 at 12:15 AM

    Rutabaga and pancetta with lemon, anchovy, and capers

  • lapsapchung  on  1/20/2018 at 4:46 AM

    Cashew and coconut breakfast dukkah

  • RSW  on  1/20/2018 at 1:58 PM

    Cashew and coconut breakfast dukkah

  • lindagroene  on  1/20/2018 at 7:39 PM

    I would make the salad with the asian pears.

  • Bakersdozen  on  1/21/2018 at 1:09 AM

    I want to try the Poblano-feta dip.

  • kerrin1976  on  1/21/2018 at 6:33 AM

    Baco bread

  • annieski  on  1/21/2018 at 8:10 AM

    Pistachio cheesecake with matcha sugar (page 286)

  • BMeyer  on  1/21/2018 at 9:05 AM

    coffee rub for meats

  • luccio  on  1/21/2018 at 9:07 AM

    English Pea Hummus

  • priyamaine  on  1/21/2018 at 9:44 AM

    The lime and fish sauce vinaigrette looks fantastic!

  • rlmiller  on  1/21/2018 at 10:01 AM

    Quick cherry “almostarda”

  • v.t  on  1/21/2018 at 11:54 AM

    Caraway bread crumbs or fresh ricotta!

  • bstewart  on  1/21/2018 at 5:59 PM

    The baco bread!

  • Julia  on  1/21/2018 at 8:40 PM

    Fresh ricotta

  • RickPearson54  on  1/22/2018 at 6:59 AM

    baco bread

  • fiarose  on  1/22/2018 at 9:20 AM

    all of the spice rubs and blends sound so great; also loving the caramelized cauliflower with mint, pine nuts, lime, and yogurt!

  • gloriole  on  1/22/2018 at 10:58 AM

    Creamy grits with blistered tomatoes, pickled serrano chiles, and sunflower-miso tahini

  • tararr  on  1/23/2018 at 7:24 PM

    Sautéed broccolini with Mexican Sriracha and queso fresco

  • Sfgordon  on  1/23/2018 at 7:42 PM

    Cashew and coconute breakfast dukkah or berbere spiced meatballs sound great!

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  1/24/2018 at 10:59 AM

    would like to try the mint and rose pickled red onions found on page 22

  • jd5761  on  1/24/2018 at 5:43 PM

    Potato croquettes for me

  • MaryCunningham86  on  1/26/2018 at 4:50 AM

    Beets bi tahina

  • cora429  on  1/27/2018 at 4:47 AM

    Braised chicken with leeks, tomatoes, berberé, thyme, and yogurt

  • SheenaSharp  on  1/27/2018 at 9:46 PM

    "Caesar" Brussels sprouts

  • Jenamarie  on  1/27/2018 at 10:07 PM

    Hazelnut and fennel dukkah

  •  on  1/28/2018 at 11:16 AM

    Almond and sumac dukkah

  • vali  on  1/29/2018 at 10:42 AM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • Maria.luiza  on  1/30/2018 at 2:46 PM

    Potato croquettes

  • lene  on  1/31/2018 at 5:28 AM

    I'd try the Curry leaf Meyer lemon pickle

  • Toomanybooks88  on  1/31/2018 at 7:47 PM

    Id try Five textures of chocolate

  • lils74  on  2/1/2018 at 3:14 AM

    I would make Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha - Yum!

  • contrarywise  on  2/2/2018 at 9:10 AM

    New ideas for rutabagas always! Pancetta and salsa verde sound like a great addition to one of my favorite vegetables so I book marked the recipe linked above.

  • HelenB  on  2/3/2018 at 10:56 PM

    Baco bread

  • t.t  on  2/3/2018 at 11:58 PM

    Urfa biber shichimi togarashi

  • sunset34  on  2/4/2018 at 4:46 PM

    berbere chicken and creamy pecorino rice

  • cambridgecook  on  2/5/2018 at 2:44 PM

    grapefruit dill shrub

  • mjes  on  2/5/2018 at 6:48 PM

    Walnut-miso bagna cauda

  • shaz4  on  2/10/2018 at 4:41 AM

    Pistachio cheesecake with matcha sugar

  • stitchan  on  2/11/2018 at 7:36 AM

    Citrus and dry-cured olive salad

  • choppergirl  on  2/11/2018 at 9:59 AM

    Salted cucumbers with avocado and ginger-soy dressing

  • verorenee  on  2/11/2018 at 1:39 PM

    Almond and sumac dukkah

  • wester  on  2/16/2018 at 3:40 AM

    The first recipe already looks amazing: Mint and rose pickled red onions.

  • Katti  on  2/16/2018 at 6:55 AM

    Panko-crusted shrimp with chives and Mexican Sriracha

  • Karla123  on  2/16/2018 at 3:38 PM

    Citrus and dry-cured olive salad...sounds splendid!

  • JenJoLa  on  2/17/2018 at 1:18 PM

    Red endive and blood oranges with blue cheese, dukkah, and Banyuls vinaigrette

  • orchidlady01  on  2/17/2018 at 10:09 PM

    Marcona almond, coconut, and rosebud breakfast dukkah

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