With Think Like a Chef, Tom Colicchio has created a new kind of cookbook. Rather than list a series of restaurant recipes, he uses simple steps to deconstruct a chef's creative process, making it easily available to any home cook.
He starts with techniques: What's roasting, for example, and how do you do it in the oven or on top of the stove? He also gets you comfortable with braising, sautéing, and making stocks and sauces. Next he introduces simple "ingredients" -- roasted tomatoes, say, or braised artichokes -- and tells you how to use them in a variety of ways. So those easy roasted tomatoes may be turned into anything from a vinaigrette to a caramelized tomato tart, with many delicious options in between.
In a section called Trilogies, Tom takes three ingredients and puts them together to make one dish that's quick and other dishes that are increasingly more involved. As Tom says, "Juxtaposed in interesting ways, these ingredients prove that the whole can be greater than the sum of their parts," and you'll agree once you've tasted the Ragout of Asparagus, Morels, and Ramps or the Baked Free-Form "Ravioli" -- both dishes made with the same trilogy of ingredients.
The final section of the books offers simple recipes for components -- from zucchini with lemon thyme to roasted endive with whole spices to boulangerie potatoes -- that can be used in endless combinations.
Written in Tom's warm and friendly voice and illustrated with glorious photographs of finished dishes, Think Like a Chef will bring out the master chef in all of us.
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