cover image All About Roasting

All About Roasting

Molly Stevens. Norton, $35 (496p) ISBN 978-0-3930-6526-8

Stevens is a cooking instructor and food writer whose first book, The Art of Braising, won a 2005 James Beard Foundation award. Here, in this outstanding cookbook, she shows herself to still be at the top of her game. She begins with a 45-page introduction to the art and science of roasting that should be required reading for anyone in possession of a chunk of meat and an oven. Topics covered include the differences in employing high versus low heat, the reasons to rest meat before carving, the joys of convection ovens, and why fat is always a critical component. Next come 150 recipes divided into chapters on beef, pork, poultry, fish, and vegetables. Each begins with a basic entree that, once grasped, leads the way to more complex adventures. A simple sear-roasted pork tenderloin, for example, involves only salt, pepper, and oil, but 30 pages later it is time for a sausage and prune stuffed pork loin with brandy cream sauce. Numerous tips on trimming, carving, and shopping augment the work, all of which is written in a clear, confident voice that educates (“Fat conducts heat much better than air”) and entertains (“Halibut is an easy fish to love”). It is a compelling collection that drives home the difference between a chef merely showing off some recipes and a teacher exploring her craft. (Nov.)