cover image Roast Chicken and Other Stories

Roast Chicken and Other Stories

Simon Hopkinson, with Lindsey Bareham. . Hyperion, $24.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-0862-9

This idiosyncratic though charming cookbook was first published in the U.K. in 1994 and became a runaway favorite with a second publication in 2006. Hopkinson, a founding chef of London’s Bibendum and a newspaper columnist, rejects the notion that a dinner’s merit should be judged by its number of ingredients or steps. Instead, his earthy sensibility is guided by French techniques, rich English ingredients and lots and lots of butter. Chapters are organized not by course but by Hopkinson’s favorite ingredients, such as eggplant (grilled, creamed, baked and stewed in his cayenne-spiked version of the Turkish classic Imam Bayildi); leeks (in vinaigrette, in a tart crust, vichyssoise, baked with cream and mint); and tripe (Madrid-style, Lyonnaise style, deep-fried). Each chapter begins with a bit of history and often witty personal reminiscence. He’ll chart the use of anchovies around the globe, quote fellow food writer Elizabeth David on the beauty of anchoïade and guide readers to the best canned variety in the market. The recipes themselves are designed for the intuitive cook who can gauge a dish’s doneness by its color rather than by slavish devotion to a timer. Yet Hopkinson’s recipes are true winners, inspiring confidence in the kitchen and pleasure at the table with their simple, satisfying flavors. (Sept.)