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Cook the Book: 'How to Roast a Lamb'

20091109-howtoroastalamb.jpgSometimes it seems like no cuisine is as underappreciated as Greek cuisine. It's a food culture with a long and glorious history of fresh Mediterranean ingredients, but why has it been relegated to the ranks of soggy spanakopita and wilted Greek salads, heavy with greying black olives and stinky feta?

Psilakis started in the front of the house, waiting tables in a T.G.I. Friday's.

This cuisine is crying out for a champion and Michael Psilakis is just the man for the job. Raised in a food-focused first generation Greek-American family in Long Island, New York, Psilakis was a late bloomer in the restaurant world. Unlike most chefs, Psilakis started in the front of the house, waiting tables in a T.G.I. Friday's. What started as a quick way to save for law school turned into a career in hospitality.

Over the next few years, he went from waiting tables to managing and owning restaurants. One day Psilakis found himself at the helm of an Italian restaurant with his head chef nowhere to be found. He traded in his front-of-the-house suit for chef's whites and, recalling the Greek recipes he grew up with, he transitioned from manager to chef-owner.

How to Roast a Lamb is Psilakis' culinary scrapbook, complete with photos of family and food alike. These are the plates that Psilakis' mom threw together for weeknight dinners, the meals that fed the entire Psilakis clan on special occasions, and the dishes that helped make Kefi and Anthos the restaurants they are today.

This week we are heading into the uncharted Aegean territory and sharing from the best recipes from Michael Psilakis' How to Roast a Lamb, namely a Greek Salad that will have you doubting any previous incarnations, an award-winning Lamb Burger, and an Octopus and Chickpea Salad that will assuage all of your octopus cooking fear.

Win 'How to Roast a Lamb'

Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at Little, Brown, and Company, we are giving away five (5) copies of How to Roast a Lamb this week. All you have to do is tell us about your favorite lamb recipe in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, November 16 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

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