THE PRESSURE COOKER GOURMET: 225 Recipes for Great-Tasting, Long-Simmered Flavors in Just Minutes
Release date: 12/01/2002
As Wise notes in a thorough introduction that covers general methods, the pressure cooker is a time-saver; she then offers a nice range of recipes, from a relatively simple Trout à la Vapeur with Toasted Almonds and Parsley Sauce to a more complex Salmon Terrine with Asparagus Tip and Spinach Root Garnish that is packed into a loaf pan and steamed. However, Wise (who was the first chef at Chez Panisse) often undermines that savings in time. For example, a recipe for beef broth calls for roasting the bones for 30 minutes before cooking the broth. Other recipes simply would be almost as quick when prepared using normal stovetop methods, like a Spring Spinach and Scallion Soup that takes six to seven minutes to come to pressure, then sits for eight minutes as the pressure escapes. The pressure cooker works best for braised dishes such as Chicken Marengo with Porcini-Topped Fried Bread Rounds and Rabbit with Fennel Seed, Parsnip, and Prunes in Brandy Cream, but perhaps is not the optimal choice for delicate vegetables such as Asparagus with Shallot, Lemon, and Olive Oil Dressing. While the writing in their headers tends to be awkward (Chilled Potato Soup Mexican-style with Cantaloupe and Toasted Almonds begins: "It was the gazpacho in Grenada that showed, in the right setting at the right time, cold soup is an oxymoron of a notion but a lilt in the day's repasts"), the recipes themselves are clear and simple. (Jan.)
Forecast:This is a good effort, especially in the context of a small field, but not the equal of earlier pressure-cooker books like Pressure Cooking for Everyone, by Rick Rodgers and Arlene Ward, and other titles from Lorna Sass.