Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures: Home Cooking from the Gotham Bar and Grill's Acclaimed Chef
Alfred Portale & Andrew Friedman
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he acclaimed Chef of the Gotham Bar and Grill, offers over a hundred recipes for home cooking in
Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures
. He tells us that they '
illustrate how much harmonious flavor can be produced by using just a few carefully selected and perpared ingredients.
' His strategies for success? The Chef recommends
the element of surprise
sums greater than their parts
. The cookbook is full of lovely color photographs that not only highlight recipes but also focus in on
like a luscious watermelon.
chapter on '
The Modern Pantry
' introduces useful ingredients from Anchovies to Walnut Oil. Recommended '
' includes a Japanese Mandoline and a Spice Grinder. Recipes themselves are gathered into the usual categories from
Salads, Starters, and Small Plates
, each with an interesting introduction by the Chef, that emphasizes for example the strong seasonal statements that soups can make. Recipes often include a suggested
with another in the cookbook. '
' encourage substitutions for variety, or when ingredients can't be found. '
' recommendations can be used to spice up dishes and personalize them to individual tastes.
n to the recipes.
Beet Salad with Feta, Orange and Mint
adds color to any table. How about
Mushroom Crostini with Thyme and Truffle Oil
Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables
would make a meal in itself, as would a
Spicy Shrimp Salad with Mango, Avocado, and Lime Vinaigrette
. The Soups are all surprising, for example
Celery Root and Caramelized Pear Soup
Wild Mushroom Minestrone
Grilled Vegetable, Arugula, and Fresh Mozarella Sandwich
is already on my summer menu list, as are many of the varied Pastas presented here. My family enjoy Risottos and will try
Shrimp Risotto with Sweet Peas, Leeks, and Chervil
as well as
Risotto with Sausage, Radicchio, and Pecorino Romano
've always found flavoring Fish a challenge, but
Roast Cod with Escargot Butter
works for me. Chicken has been one of our family staples since cholesterol reared its ugly head, and I like the look of the selection here, especially
Chicken Breasts Marinated with Lemon, Sage, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Roast Duck Chinois
sounds like the next best thing to Peking Duck, and who wouldn't enjoy
Filet Mignon with Madeira Sauce
? Enticing Accompaniments include
Creamed Spinach Custards with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Parmesan Cheese
Wild Rice with Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Walnut Oil
(I could eat that one right off the page!)
he Chef's Desserts include elegantly simple fruit presentations, including fresh fruit
! There's a dangerous (to the waistline)
Chocolate-Grand Marnier Cake
, and a festive variation on my favorite Creme Caramel (
Eggnog Panna Cotta with Caramel Sauce and Brandied Cherries
), as well as a
Mixed Nut Brittle
that my father would have loved.
Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures
is a delectable cookbook, appealing to both inner and outer eye. Treat your family, and impress your guests with these deceptively
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