A Basque-New Orleans Hybrid Sandwich (and a review of North Face of the Heart for TLC)

Here’s another tardy review for TLC Book Tours.   

Thanks again to Lisa at TLC for allowing me to post late.  And, before I begin, let me just tell you:  this is a wonderful book!

About the Book:

Amaia Salazar, a young detective from the north of Spain, has joined a group of trainees at the FBI Academy in Virginia. Haunted by her past and having already tracked down a predator on her own, Amaia is no typical rookie. And this is no ordinary student lecture at Quantico. FBI agent Aloisius Dupree is already well acquainted with Amaia’s skills, her intuition, and her ability to understand evil. He now needs her help in hunting an elusive serial killer dubbed “the Composer,” and in solving another case that’s been following him his whole life.

From New Jersey to Oklahoma to Texas, the Composer’s victims are entire families annihilated in the chaos of natural disasters, their bodies posed with chilling purpose amid the ruins. Dupree and Amaia follow his trail to New Orleans. The clock is ticking. It’s the eve of the worst hurricane in the city’s history. But a troubling call from Amaia’s aunt back home awakens in Amaia the ghosts from her childhood and sends her down a path as dark as that of the coming storm.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Dolores

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About the Author:

Dolores Redondo (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1969) is the author of the Baztán Trilogy, the most important Spanish literary phenomenon in recent years. The three installments of this trilogy, The Invisible GuardianThe Legacy of the Bones and Offering to the Storm, have reached more than three million loyal readers worldwide. Following the publication of The Invisible Guardian, the critics welcomed Redondo as one of the most original and influential writers of the noir genre in Spain, and she has continued to hail great praise for her writing since. The trilogy was followed by All This I Will Give to You, with which she was awarded the Premio Planeta 2016 Award. Her latest novel, The North Face of the Heart, was published on October 1st 2019. In 2021, her debut novel The Angel’s Privileges was reissued with a foreword by the author. Today, there are already more than 38 worldwide publishers who have published Redondo’s works.

In 2017, the film The Invisible Guardian was released, and in 2019 and 2020 the adaptations of The Legacy of the Bones and Offering to the Storm were released, respectively. They are all available on Netflix.

What I Thought…

In full transparency, I did notice this book on my desk around the first of June and wondered, “Did I win this book?  Is it from my friend-share stack?”  I was so busy last month that I just dismissed it and literally shelved it.  Then I saw my friend Deb’s post about it and I knew it was a TLC commitment.  Then Lisa gently nudge me.

I have to say, the book literally had me hooked on page one.  Then the first natural disaster occurs in Oklahoma (even though Brooksville is a totally fictitious name).  The girth of this book is mighty but I finished it in a weekend (and a day).

Since this is an English translation of a Spanish novel, I was surprised how much of the plot takes place in the U.S.

This is a hard book to categorize.  Yes, it’s a crime-thriller, but it also deals with family dynamics and loss.  And, there’s a supernatural angle as well with Basque legends and New Orleans voodoo.

Most significant, North Face of the Heart revisits the tragic occurrences and human loss of Katrina.   There’s a few different plot lines working and two crime investigations occurring.  These investigations also mirror the lives (and pasts) of Amaia and Dupree (her FBI mentor).  I would love to discuss the book more, but that would border on spoilers.

The above publisher’s blurb mentions the Netflix adaptations.   I watched The Invisible Guardian when I was about three-quarters of the way through the book.  Although the film is filmed in Spanish and dubbed in English, I did think it gave me some insight into Amaia’s character.  I do plan on watching the other two.  (My guess is that The North Face of the Heart is a prequel to her Baztán Trilogy.)

The Food:

Even though the author has a culinary degree, there’s not a lot of food mentioned in the book.  I found references to breakfasts and sandwiches and granola bars (as the agents ate on the fly) and then there’s the jambalaya in the swamp.   As Amaia’s family owned and operated a bakery in her hometown, I also had thoughts of baked goods.

Here’s where I landed; I would focus on the settings in the novel. Amaia comes from the Basque country and the narrative of the novel transitions between her childhood there and the current plot in the States. In honor of Ignacio, a Basque sheepherder, and Iper, the shepherding dog that he gives a young Amaia for protection, I decided to try a bread from that area.

Basque Shepherd’s Bread

Based on Prize-Winning Sheepherder Bread

I halved this recipe.  I really can’t imagine how big the loaf would be if you made the full recipe.


  • 1 1/2 c. very hot water
  • 4 T. butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 t. Kosher salt
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 t.)
  • 4 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided
  • olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine hot water, butter, sugar and salt. Stir until butter is melted; let cool to about 110 degrees. Stir in yeast; cover and set in a warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes. Beat in about 21/2  cups flour to make a thick batter. Stir in about 1 3/4 cups more flour to make a stiff dough. Scrape dough onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and satiny, 10 to 20 minutes — adding as little flour as possible to prevent sticking. (I did all the mixing and kneading with my stand mixer and a dough hook.)
  2. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled — about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Punch dough down and knead briefly on a floured board to release air. Shape into a smooth ball. With a circle of foil, cover the inside bottom of a 5-quart cast iron or cast aluminum Dutch oven.  (I used parchment paper.)  Grease foil, inside of Dutch oven, and lid with oil. Place dough in Dutch oven and cover with lid. Let rise in a warm place until dough pushes up lid by about 1/2 inch, about 1 hour. (Watch closely.) Bake, covered, with a lid in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  4. Remove bread from oven and turn onto a rack to cool. You will need a helper. Peel off foil and turn loaf upright. Makes one very large loaf. (Remember the amounts for this recipe have been halved.)

Yield: 1 loaf

And, since a large part of the plot takes place in New Orleans during Katrina, I decided to use this bread to make a Turkey Muffaletta sandwich.

Muffaletta with Turkey

Based on this recipe.

I halved the above loaf and used half of the ingredients below but the dressing is good enough you will want to make a full batch and pour it on everything.


  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 t. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 recipe of above bread (or loaf of your liking)
  • sliced deli turkey
  • sliced provolone
  • 1/4 c. sliced pimento stuffed olives
  • roasted red pepper slices
  • 2 whole pepperoncini peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Italian cheese blend, shredded
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. In a half pint jar, combine the oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper flakes.  Shake to combine and set aside.
  2. Cut bread in half through middle; carefully hollow out top and bottom, leaving a 1-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use like making your own bread crumbs).  Brush the dressing on both sides of the bread.  You will have dressing left over.  Save it for a salad (or another sandwich or two).
  3. Layer turkey, provolone cheese, red peppers, pepperoncinis , olives and tomato. Sprinkle with the shredded Italian cheese and fresh ground pepper. Replace bread top.
  4. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Yield: 4-6

Again, I am totally recommending this book to EVERYONE I know and I am ordering the Baztán Trilogy.  Please check out what the other tour hosts thought.

Review tour:

Tuesday, June 1st: @sweethoneyandbrei

Wednesday, June 2nd: @nina_the_bookworm

Thursday, June 3rd: She Just Loves Books and @shejustlovesbooks

Friday, June 4th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie

Saturday, June 5th: @books.cats.travel.food

Sunday, June 6th: @aimeedarsreads

Monday, June 7th: @readerofthewrittenword

Tuesday, June 8th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, June 9th: Mom Loves Reading and @mom_loves_reading

Thursday, June 10th: Jessicamap Reviews and @jessicamap

Friday, June 11th: @jenniaahava

Saturday, June 12th: @megsbookclub

Monday, June 14th: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews and @bluntscissorsbookreviews

Wednesday, June 16th: @the_bookish_runner

Friday, June 18th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, June 21st: @reading_with_nicole

Tuesday, June 22nd: @what.ems.reading

Wednesday, June 23rd: @crystals_library

Friday, June 25th: @bookishwithwine

Friday, July 2nd: Books & Bindings

I’m linking up with Foodies Read and Souper (Salad and Sammie) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.

16 comments to A Basque-New Orleans Hybrid Sandwich (and a review of North Face of the Heart for TLC)