cover image So Good: Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

So Good: Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

Richard Blais. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-66331-2

The practical follow-up to restaurateur and Top Chef winner Blais’s 2013 Try This at Home, which called for sous vide cookers, smoking guns, and squid, dials back the showmanship (for the most part) and amps up the flavor. One of the keys to Blais’s appeal is his ingenious juxtaposition of flavors, seen here in dishes such as roasted Concord grapes and ricotta toasts, and notions such as the addition of bone marrow to meatballs. He also innovates with ingredients, swapping out noodles for shaved coconut to prepare coconut noodles with peanut sauce. His creations are as tasty as they are surprising. Full-out showstoppers include fried duck confit with eucalyptus honey and mustard greens, and a barbecued lamb’s head carnitas. Blais also includes plenty of dishes that can be completed with less time and effort, such as snap peas with feta and mint, beet and barley chili, and Heath bar chocolate bread pudding. It’s clear that there’s a method to Blais’s culinary madness: he’s doing his damnedest to get the most flavor out of the best ingredients. Home cooks interested in upping their game will want to give this one a look. (May)