'The Most Useful Cookbook I've Ever Had'
Summer-into-fall recipes are what's for dinner this week
I have a large collection of cookbooks: spiral-bound church and Junior League books from cities throughout the country — a signed copy of Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking, classics from Paula Wolfert, Edna Lewis, and Thomas Keller — but all of those are in my living room. In my kitchen, there is only a small space on the top shelf of a cupboard for the books that I actually use. Those are: the most recent edition of How To Cook Everything, Maricel Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina, a small old softcover from Larousse just titled Vegetables, and Jeff Koehler’s La Paella. Of those, HTCE still gets the most traffic. I think that is about to change.
I never had the original How to Cook Everything Fast, and maybe I would have felt the same way about that one, but the new edition from Mark and Kerri is the most useful cookbook I’ve ever had.
I’m a father of two, I work full (and part) time, I have a huge appetite, and I like to cook. If you can give me reliable recipes that approximate feijoada, white bean and ham gratin (kind of like a cassoulet), or chicken tagine, that take under 30 minutes, you’ll have a fan for life. I’ll be making all of those as the weather gets colder.
This past week, I made four delicious dishes that worked well for the last days of summer or the first days of fall: Clams with Chorizo and Cherry Tomatoes, Corn Salad with Garlic Chicken, One-Pot Pesto with Cherry Tomatoes, and Melon Gazpacho with Crisp Prosciutto.
Using these recipes, you will prep as you cook. The prep steps are in italics.
Clams with Chorizo and Cherry Tomatoes
From Mark: A big pot of steamed clams is so inviting. No matter what goes in there with them, the broth makes for fantastic dunking, so be sure to serve with crusty bread. Or pour everything over rice or noodles.
4 to 5 pounds littleneck or other small hard-shell clams
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces Spanish chorizo
4 cloves garlic
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1 bunch fresh parsley
Scrub and rinse the clams under cold water; discard any that don’t close when you tap them; let them drain in a colander.
1. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Chop 4 ounces chorizo; add it to the pot.
Peel and thinly slice 4 cloves garlic; add them to the pot.
2. Cook the chorizo and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. When the garlic is golden, add the clams, tomatoes, 1 cup white wine, and a sprinkle of pepper. Adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily, cover, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the clams have opened, 5 to 10 minutes. (You can discard those that remain tightly closed or gently pry them open with a butter knife to see if they release easily and look and smell normal.)
Chop 1/3 cup parsley leaves.
4. Taste the broth and add a little salt if necessary. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with the parsley.
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