By Richard Blais
Clarkson Potter, $30
If you know Richard Blais only from Bravo’s TV show Top Chef All-Stars, you might be surprised at how approachable the tantalizing recipes in his debut cookbook are. Professionally, Blais likes to push the limits of culinary creativity, often using high-tech wizardry to craft delectable curiosities. What’s striking about the food in this book is how warmly familiar it all feels and how easy it is to make. There’s nothing complicated, for example, about his recipe for Persimmon Caprese-slices of persimmon, fresh mozzarella, and onion topped with olive oil, balsamic, and fresh basil. The wow factor comes purely from Blais’s genius substitution of silky persimmon for the tomatoes in this other wise classic salad. Blais wanted this book to be about the everyday dishes that he loves to eat with his wife and children, but for those readers who want it, the cheffy razzle-dazzle is still there in recipe variations that let you play with unexpected flavors, create foams, use dry ice, and cook sous vide to your heart’s delight.
Cinnamon Brioche “French Toast” Skewers (page 73) What a fun way to spice up breakfast: French toast pops made by skewering strips of French toast on cinnamon sticks. The egg mixture includes a beguiling hint of the Moroccan spice blend ras al hanout.
Pan-Seared Spiced Pork Chops with Microwave Applesauce (page 242) Rubbed with fragrant spices before being sear-roasted with ginger, garlic, and fresh herbs, these chops have a beautifully browned crust and juicy meat. And the applesauce could not have been easier: just microwave apples for 5 minutes, then mash.
|Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Kale, Sage and Balsamic Brown Butter||Cinnamon Brioche “French
|Potato Chip Omelet|
Photos by John Lee