My Favorite Ingredients: An Enticing Collection of Recipes

Skye Gyngell, Author . Ten Speed $24 (255p) ISBN 978-1-58008-050-7

In this age of chemistry-experiment cooking, it's refreshing to remember that some chefs still find their greatest inspiration in the simplest of elements. In this readable, colorful volume, London chef Gyngell (Petersham Nurseries Café ) chooses 16 of her favorite foods and showcases their versatility with highly original recipes. Asserting that her cuisine is mostly produce-driven and seasonally sensitive, Gyngell cooks to highlight natural subtleties rather then wring unusual sensations with elaborate technique. Chapters are paeans to topics such as asparagus, “leaves,” and apples, beginning with lyrical yet informative descriptions of the ingredient at hand, including tips on preparation, selection, storage, and, in some cases, how to grow it at home. The simple dishes that follow are sophisticated yet easy to make (provided there's access to some of her more obscure ingredients like Malanca and partridge): an arranged plate of clementines, Medjool dates, pomegranates and honeyed almonds with a dab of mascarpone cheese; seared skirt steak with hazelnut and wilted escarole; a layered salad of peppery kohlrabi, sweet fresh crab and crisp apple. The result is an idiosyncratic cookbook, and, in her understated way, Gyngell has much to offer curious cooks. Photos. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
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