There was a 6 month period back in 2009 where everything I cooked came out of David Tanis's A Platter of Figs. His chicken and pumpkin tagine, spinach cake, succotash, and cherry clafouti were such a regular rotation that I wondered if I'd ever open another cookbook. I was beyond obsessed, so it should come as no surprise that I clamored for his following cookbooks, including his new book, One Good Dish.
Inspired by his City Kitchen column in The New York Times, One Good Dish is Tanis at his most basic. While his previous cookbooks have focused on entertaining menus, this new work is a collection of simpler recipes. He devotes an entire chapter to day(s)-old bread, and another to meals eaten out of a bowl. It's comfort food without all of the extra weight that usually comes along with that moniker. In true Tanis fashion, the meals span a range of culinary inspiration. Think saffron risotto, mini Tunisian meatballs, Southern braised kale, and eggs—lots and lots of eggs.
While simple, the recipes aren't always written for kitchen newbies. In One Good Dish, as in his other cookbooks, Tanis writes for those who already know how to handle a knife and a skillet. Don't expect intricate directions for poaching an egg. (I suppose that's what the Internet is for.) However, the book is breezy and casual, leaving room for improv (slash mistakes) and instinct. There's not much one can do to screw up a simple garlic and sage soup. And, as always with the excellent Artisan cookbooks, the book is tightly edited and beautifully designed.
This week, we'll take pleasure in a few good dishes. We'll bake a warm, savory ham and Gruyère bread pudding, simmer that garlic and sage soup, and braise Tunisian-spiced meatballs in a bare-bones but delicious sauce. Next, we'll stir the aforementioned and elegant saffron and lemon risotto before finishing off the week with Thai-inspired sea scallop cakes.
Win 'One Good Dish'Thanks to our friends at Artisan, we have five (5) copies of One Good Dish to give away this week. All you need to do for a chance to win is to tell us about the single best dish you cook in the comments section below.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.