Geoffrey Zakarian is the chef-owner of Manhattan's Town restaurant, a spot acclaimed for its polished cooking. In Town/Country
, he offers "town" recipes from the restaurant partnered by less dressy "country" formulas, which aren't, however, always easier to accomplish--130 dishes in all. The conceit here is to provide a town and country recipe for each of 65 "favorite" ingredients, ranging from acorn squash to zucchini--pairings like Chicken Confit Salad and Peri-Peri Chicken; Mackerel Escabeche with Zucchini Noodles and Warm Mackerel with Basil Chiffonade and Zucchini Vinaigrette; and Raspberry and Honey Crisps with Greek Yogurt and Flourless Raspberry Soufflé. The dishes, which include imaginative reworkings of classics like Duck à lOrange, are always attractive; readers should be aware, however, that this is "cheffy" cooking, and as such demands a kitchen commitment as well as ingredients that can be hard to find, expensive, or both. The organization by ingredient, which results in mixing savory and sweet recipes, also makes it difficult to find formulas for a particular course. The book includes photos of the dishes and of the author shopping, cooking, and musing. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Zakarian has crafted the zesty celebration of opposites you would expect from the chef/owner of the New York restaurants Town and Country. "Pairings or partnerships are what make a recipe dynamic," he says in an introduction that generously acknowledges other chefs and the great home cooks in his life. He's in love not just with the usual contrasting dyads of smooth/crunchy, sweet/sour and hot/cold: his recipes come in sets of two, reflecting opposite approaches to the same core ingredients—with the common goal of explosive intensity. So the "town" take on the noble crustacean is Lobster Ginger Royale, with a ginger broth (perhaps made out of homemade chicken stock) and coconut milk custard, entailing a day or two of prep and execution. The "country" cousin is a lobster roll, assembled at the last minute; and Zakarian recommends Hellman's mayo, although he also tells you how to make your own if you must. The language throughout is refreshingly basic, save for the occasional home-baked word (e.g., "asparagussy"). The man of opposites includes enough arcana and innovation to entice a pro, yet his clear and realistic instructions make it possible for a weekend cook to produce minor miracles. Bacon's closeups—raspberries, squash, fennel, crabs—complement the words. (Apr.)
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