cover image Flavor Bombs: The Umami Ingredients That Make Taste Explode

Flavor Bombs: The Umami Ingredients That Make Taste Explode

Adam Fleischman, with Tien Nguyen. HMH/Martin, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-78489-5

In the introduction to this excellent collection, Fleischman, founder of the popular Umami Burger and 800 Degrees Pizzeria chains, discloses the revelation behind his success: “What people crave isn’t a burger or a pizza. What people crave is within the burger or the pizza”—that is, savory condiments, cheeses, and vegetables. Furthermore, he realizes, while one tangy ingredient is good, multiple tangy ingredients are exponentially better. His signature burger is topped with shiitake mushrooms, a homemade ketchup with a dash of fish sauce, caramelized onions, oven-dried tomatoes, and a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese crisp. Fleischman extends his repertoire far above the realm of his restaurants’ menus. In an international sampling of main dishes there is a Puerto Rican mofongo; a marmite sweet-and-sour pork from Australia; and a Roquefort and mushroom fondue, perfect for dipping charcuterie or fingerling potatoes. Among the dozen vegetable side dishes, the worldwide tour continues with Japanese-style collards bathed in miso and sake, and cabbage norcina with black truffles and Italian sweet sausage. Even mixed drinks get the umami treatment, with a mezcal truffle cocktail that employs truffle honey and pineapple syrup. Photographer Wendy Sue Lamm, known for her international scope, provides the luscious visuals. The so-called fifth taste is elevated to star status in this mouth-watering debut. (May)