How do you know if a new cookbook is a classic, one that you will use and recommend forever?
For me, it’s not immediate. I start scanning the book, time dissolves, and suddenly I return and realize that a very satisfying half hour has passed. I’m enthralled with recipes and head notes, and I’m already puzzling with what recipe to try first.
Fresh from the Market, by Laurent Tourondel, is just that instant classic book. You’ll find one or two of these books a year, in good years. Your problem will be how many copies to buy: one for the kitchen certainly but perhaps one for the coffee table, too.
This book has been brilliantly produced. The photos are beautiful and, based on our testing, totally accurate. The recipes are exceptionally good, enticingly different and designed for the home cook. We’ve tried several and all have been tastefully successful.
What does it take to produce a book like this? Author Laurent Tourondel is famous for his restaurants. He’s an exceptional chef, a solid writer, and, most importantly, a lover of food and ingredients.
In Fresh from the Market he is at ease on one page talking about local ingredients, cheeses from Long Island. Turn a few pages, and he has flipped to other side of the continent, and is giving you insightful details about Oregon cheese. Laurent’s encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients and techniques simply shines here on every page. That knowledge has enabled him to forge new recipe ideas here that will thrill your palette.
As a meat and chocolate man, you might expect my first blog here to be on the hearty or desserty side. Surprise! Our farmers’ market has been loaded with fall vegetables, so we first tried this Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Marcona Almonds. The photo at the top shows this dish is its full dramatic glory.
This is a delectable dish. Even if you aren’t a veggie fan, you cannot fail to enjoy the flavors and textures of this salad. I know, Thanksgiving is past, and this would have been great next to your turkey. But, wait, you have holidays throughout the rest of December and for any feast you’ll fill yourself with pride by trying this salad! Do think of this as the perfect side dish for that next Turkey.
Brian and I have tasted many of the recipes in this book and I’ll be blogging them over this holiday month. The recipes here are unique, rich, and thoroughly satisfying. Here’s a sample:
- Wild Mushroom Gratinee
- Roasted Veal Chop with Artichokes and Black Trumpet Ragout
- Pigs in a Blanket [oh, not like anything you have ever tasted!]
- Country Duck Pate
- Beef Shank Stew with Celery Root, Turnips, Rutabaga, Parsnips & Fingerling Potatoes
- Chocolate-Coconut Marquise with Rum Ice Cream
When you scan this book, it’s very slow going. I used up a whole thing of stickies as I just marked page after page.
This book will work for you, and offer you culinary pleasures for years. I encourage to pick up a copy, do some scanning, and most likely take it home to start cooking. If you have foodie friends or family, this would be the ideal holiday present, one that they can use and will always appreciate.
Here’s the roasted vegetable salad. I helped make it, I loved, and I ate it.
[Full disclosure: I did leave room for dessert. Blog forthcoming!]
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Marcona Almonds
Yield: serves 6
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 small yam, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 large golden beet (leaves reserved for garnish), peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 2 medium shallots, peeled and cut into 3 pieces each
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Marcona almonds
- 1 ½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Sage-Garlic Brown Butter [recipe follow]
- Zest form ½ lemon
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Toss the vegetables with the olive oil in a large blow and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet, making sure the beets and the turnips stay together since they will roast loner. Roast the vegetables until the squash and parsnips are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove all the vegetables except the beets and the turnips from the roasting pan, transfer them to a platter, and cover with foil. Return the beets and turnips to the oven and roast for 20 minutes more.
Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, roughly chop the almonds. Stir the almonds and sherry vinegar into the warm brown butter.
Once the turnips and beets are completely roasted, add them to the patter of vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with the brown butter and chopped nuts. Garnish with the reserved beet leaves and lemon zest.
Sage-Garlic Brown Butter
Yield: ¼ cup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 6 thinly sliced sage leaves
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden brown and butter is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sage.
Source: Fresh from the Market by Laurent Tourondel