Read this cookbook: “How To Roast Everything: A Game-Changing Guide to Building Flavor in Meat, Vegetables, and More” (America’s Test Kitchen, $40)
By Wendell Brock
Back in 1995, the great food writer Barbara Kafka published “Roasting: A Simple Art,” a book that focused on blasting food at high temperatures, a technique that produces shockingly good and flavorful things to eat.
Kafka’s book was wildly influential. Molly Stevens’ “All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art” followed in 2011, picking up awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Now America’s Test Kitchen weighs in — with a 416-recipe, 295-recipe tome designed like “Joy of Cooking” for people who roast.
Not just fish, fowl and meat, mind you. But vegetables and fruits, too. (Plus instructions on how to pick the best cuts of meat, how to buy seafood, how to prep it all like a pro.)
There’s also a hefty chapter that demystifies the magic of roasting on the grill, starting with spice-rubbed drumsticks and ending with Grill-Roasted Oysters with Mignonette Sauce.
Ah, yes, sauce. How we love it. The stuff that rehydrates, accentuates, and (often) coagulates but not before transforming a leg of lamb, a hunk of fish or a pork belly into something grand, something fit for company.
Now we’ve arrived at the point where I tell you about the recipes that caught my eye. They are clever, beautifully photographed, legion. (How much space do we have? Thought so.)
Slow-Roasted Beef, made from an inexpensive boneless eye-round, cooked to perfect pink medium rare, sliced thin and served (if you like) with a boat of Horseradish Sauce. Classic.
Also Roasted Salmon Fillets with Tangerine and Ginger Relish; Tandoori Chicken with Raita; Roast Pomegranate-Glazed Quail; Roast Beef Tenderloin With Smoky Potatoes and Persillade Relish.
Since I’m back on beef, perhaps I should move along to the plant kingdom. Here we have roasted carrots three ways. Bulgur-Stuffed Eggplant. Best Baked Potatoes (with three toppings and, you know, just the thing to go with beef!).
If roasting food appeals to your tastebuds, this is one smart, deeply researched and delicious-looking guide.
It will save you money, time and heartache – and warm up your kitchen on a cold day, too.
I see a lot of cookbooks. This is one I plan to keep nearby for years to come.
Wendell Brock is an Atlanta-based food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).