Approachable recipes, blessed with tasty little twists and turns
Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home By Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35; 336 pages
Family Table gets the mouth watering at first read: Here are recipes that are approachable but blessed with little twists and turns to pique the palate. Yellow Bell Pepper Panzanella swaps skillet-softened peppers for tomatoes in a salad dotted with capers and balanced with white balsamic vinegar. Pushcart Chicken is a delicious version of the New York City food-cart specialty that some locals are a bit leery about trying on the street; its 12-ingredient spice paste produces a gorgeously aromatic, juicy bird. And I loved Slow-Cooked Green Beans, a dish that reminds us of a too-often-overlooked truth: Beyond al dente lies, for some vegetables (like asparagus), a beautiful, soft, succulent texture that in no way can be called overcooked; these lemony beans are dusted with toasted breadcrumbs and black pepper.
The recipes, Romano writes, come from almost 50 contributors, "from sous chefs to prep cooks to porters." The qualities a recipe needs to have to make it into the book? "Enthusiasm and a tasty idea." Hear, hear.