Nature: Simple, Healthy, and Good: 190 Recipes from a French Master Chef

Alain Ducasse. Rizzoli, $45 (362p) ISBN 978-0-8478-3840-0
Veteran restaurateur and cookbook author Ducasse (Spoon) offers cooks a wealth of French-inspired dishes that make the most out of produce in this collection of nearly 200 recipes. Featured here are novel takes on timeworn classics, such as pizza with porcini mushrooms, smoked bacon, and walnuts; grilled salmon with sesame polenta fingers; slow-cooked lamb with sage and pearl barley; and the relatively simple basque-style baked eggs. Many of these dishes will inspire (and require) a trip to the market, but Ducasse's imaginative use of common vegetables is remarkable. Though painfully precious and particular at times (guacamole requires the blanching and seeding of a single small tomato, black truffles and port go into mac and cheese, one dish requires a free-range chicken that has been specifically corn-fed, and cooks are encouraged to seek out black olives from Nice, France for tapenade) the hits outnumber the far-fetched misses. Cooks may find the recipes frustrating at first—the ingredients are embedded in the recipes, and making it easy to gloss over a key ingredient. However, once readers have familiarized themselves with Ducasse and his approach, they'll be whipping up Michelin Star-worthy dishes in no time. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 02/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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