cover image American Flavor

American Flavor

Andrew Carmellini. Ecco, $34.99 (310p) ISBN 978-0-06-196329-2

In the 30-page autobiography that Carmellini provides as a means of introduction to this, his second cookbook, we follow his culinary travels from hauling beer for an Ohio caterer through his tenure as chef de cuisine for Cafe Boulud in New York, to the opening of his own eateries, including Laconda Verde and the Dutch. It is clear from the high-meets-low recipes he then presents that his two James Beard Awards rest firmly upon a foundation of the hearty Midwestern foods of his youth and the Miami seafood he came to know on trips to his father’s hometown. Not that he doesn’t put his own spin on each entrée. Notable comfort foods include a thin-crust chicken pot pie, a spiced up fried chicken, and meat loaf stuffed with macaroni and cheese. Scallops with grapefruit butter are a seafood highlight, along with steamed snapper served with peanut sauce and lime. There is nothing more American than a road trip, and Carmellini often finds inspiration crossing the country. For example, a roadside stand in Fall River, Mass., leads to a clever root beer cake. Other times, no travel is required, as in a Vermont inspired endive, apple, and farmhouse cheddar salad, served with country ham and topped with a dressing of wheat beer and honey. (Oct.)