cover image The Book of St. John

The Book of St. John

Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver. Ebury, $55 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5291-0321-2

A glorious ode to snouts, trotters, offal, fat, and other less appreciated bits arrives from Henderson and Gulliver of London’s famed St. John restaurant. Henderson (The Complete Nose to Tail), a pioneer of whole-animal and farm-to-table cooking, rolls out recipes for the hearty yet refined fare he’s known for—grilled lamb hearts with peas and mint; pig’s tongue, butter beans, and green sauce; tripe and carrots—that are short on subtlety and big on flavor. Recipes are casual but confident affairs, with ingredient measurements and cooking instructions frequently loose (a chicken, bacon, and trotter pie calls for “a splash of chicken stock” and should be cooked “in a fairly hot oven for an hour or so”; or you could replace the bird with two or three wild rabbits), a departure that those comfortable with cooking fundamentals rather than explicit recipes will appreciate. No surprise here, the entrees are standouts, but the vegetable-forward sides and starters are no slouches, and the one-page take on making stock, “the very essence of potential, the lifeblood of every dish,” veers closer to manifesto than recipe. Indeed, this is about as close as one could get to a lifestyle guide–cookbook hybrid. Home cooks who know a good butcher and want to braise off the beaten path couldn’t hope for a better guide. (Mar.)