By Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe
Clarkson Potter, $35
This glorious cookbook by James Beard Award-winning chef Donald Link is a celebration of the South. A Louisiana native, Link is the man behind some of New Orleans’s top restaurants (Herbsaint, Cochon, Peche Seafood Grill) and has the inside scoop on where to find the best vittles the South has to offer. With this book (his second), he invites readers to join him on a festive, intimate tasting tour in which he reveals and revels in the region’s traditions, ingredients, beloved dishes, and cooking techniques. But not all of the 100 recipes he includes are Southern classics. While you’ll find recipes for shrimp roulade, red beans and rice, and country ham and biscuits, there are plenty more idiosyncratic dishes here, too. In his take on carbonara, a signature dish at Herbsaint, he poaches and then fries the egg and uses uncured pork jowl, a Southern staple, in place of the Italian cured version. And while some of the recipes come across as a little chef-y (why must I use guinea hen and not chicken in my gumbo?), what comes through loud and clear is the region’s laid-back vibe, where it seems there’s always more than enough for everyone to have seconds.
Beef Short Rib Sugo, p. 136 In this unfussy, slow-cooked stew, short ribs roast in the oven for an hour before simmering on top of the stove with broth, wine, tomatoes, and oregano until the meat is meltingly tender and your home deliciously aromatic.
Southern Bruschetta, p. 47 Crisp, salty bacon and diced ripe tomato get spooned onto toast slathered with herb-infused mayo. Super simple but couldn’t be better.
Photos by Chris Granger