Great American Food

Charlie Palmer, Author, Gozen Koshida, Photographer, Judith Choate, With Random House (NY) $55 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-43794-9
Palmer is owner/chef of Manhattan's consistently top-rated Aureole, and his first cookbook reflects the elegance and high standards of that and his other restaurants. While cookbook writer Choate's experience helps make this fare more accessible to the home cook, the recipes here belong to an exacting restaurant tradition and call to mind the works of Chicago chef and author Charlie Trotter. Spice-Seared Cervena Venison with Apple-Turnip Conserve, Marinated Leeks, and Caramel Jus; Preserved Duck Salad Roulade with Roquefort Vinaigrette; and Four-Grain Vegetable Risotto (which requires pre-cooking millet, oat groats, kasha and bulghur separately) are among the dishes that challenge and reward the focused home cook. Margin notes from both authors add to information in recipe headers but sometimes border on cute. Alongside Soft Potato Ravioli with Truffle Pan Sauce (in the chapter titled ""Some Simple Foods""), Choate notes that mushrooms can substitute for the truffle, but warns ""Don't tell Charlie."" Palmer turns clever tricks with meat and its derivatives: Mushroom-Crusted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Jus are coated with fresh and dried mushrooms, and Roasted Halibut ""T-Bone"" with Beef Juices is basted with veal stock. A few dishes (Vegetable Couscous) are simple and flavorful, and, as Choate repeatedly points out, components of most complex recipes can be prepared in advance. The majority of the recipes, however, remain labor-intensive. That is, after all, the success-secret of chefs like Palmer. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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