16 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
`A Chef for All Seasons' by the English high tempered chef, Gordon Ramsay looks like and is very much of a `follow the trend' book, just as `healthy eating' and `quick cooking' themes are bandwagons on which cookbook writers jump to squeeze another ounce of interest out of their audience for their latest book. Unlike some other seasonally or calendar oriented books such as Alfred Portale's `The 12 Seasons', Nigel Slater's `The Kitchen Diaries' and Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette various `Twelve Month' cookbooks, the recipes in this book offer little real guidance to when it is best to make these various recipes. As the author himself says, for him, summer begins in early May and most of the best produce is available closer to autumn than in high summer.
Except for a very few fruits and vegetables such as fava beans and strawberries in spring, tomatoes and corn in late summer, there is little reason aside perhaps from cost from restricting oneself to strictly seasonal produce, except for price. While my favorite local supermarket carries excellent asparagus the year around, it's price jumps from $1.99 to $2.99 in late summer, to drop back a dollar in March, and briefly drop to $1.69 (a pound) in May and June. So, I don't eat asparagus at $3 a pop, but do eat it every other month. Similarly, I don't make dishes with beefsteak tomatoes quite as often in the winter and spring as I do in high summer, but I don't eschew them entirely in winter. So, unless you are willing to literally graph out prices and availability of produce based on supermarket prices in your area, most seasonal considerations seem like a waste of time. Because, if you can't get it at all (like fresh fava beans in October), the question is moot, and if you can get it at a reasonable price and at a reasonable quality, the small difference between seasonal and off seasonal produce shipped in from Chile probably won't make a big difference to you, especially when you are looking at Master Ramsay's recipes, where the prep and cooking time are worth far more than that extra dollar you may pay for off season blueberries.
The other side of the coin is that Gordon Ramsay's recipes are very, very good without using excessively expensive ingredients except as options and they are (relatively) easy for `haute cuisine' dishes. So, this book is more of an argument to select Gordon Ramsay as your primary source for fancy dishes, instead of Eric Rippert or Albert Portale or Tom Colicchio or Joel Robuchon or Michael Romano or Charlie Trotter. Compared to many of these chef / authors, Ramsay is equally as fussy, but manages to follow the dictum of using the best ingredients and being as careful as possible not to muck them up. And, unlike some of his preachier colleagues, he concentrates on the simple procedures rather than on the gratuitous yapping about using fresh ingredients. For us in the peanut gallery, we pick the best that we can get without traveling 20 miles out of our way. Even foodies have a life beyond cooking and marketing.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ramsay's style, it is very, very French in technique with lots of creamy sauces, soups, and confits. It may not be the kind of thing you would pick for a low calorie diet, but it is not quite as fat laden as the provincial cuisine of southwestern France (see Paula Wolfert's excellent new edition on the subject). As usual, the most sprightly and revealing blurb on the back cover comes from the always eloquent Tony Bourdain, who describes this as `...food porn at its most lush...', a far more original approbation than the overworked `decadent'.
I confess I was not immediately as impressed with this book as I have been with some of Ramsay's other books, but this is largely due to what seems like less general information on cooking technique and more space on the recipes themselves. There is, however, still a fair amount of gems on various foods here. For example, he gives an excellent argument for preferring your mangoes firm and not quite ripe to the squishy red ones soft to the touch. But, the very best part of the book for the foodie cook is the last section on `basic recipes and techniques', especially if your library is not already filled with tomes from Jacques Pepin, the CIA, and James Peterson on basic kitchen skills. The most interesting recipe here is the one for `Vegetable nage' that on the surface is very similar to a vegetable stock, but it seems to be a cross between a veggie stock and a court bouillon. It is not cooked as long as stocks and it seems to have a longer refrigerator life than meat or fish stocks. While this is a classic French term and concept, I have not seen recipes for it in many other books. By pure coincidence, I noticed a very similar recipe in the book `Full On Irish' by Irish Michelin starred chef, Kevin Dundon which he describes as a kitchen garden vegetable stock. I don't even recall seeing this in Deborah Madison's great works on vegetable stocks.
All of Ramsay's measurements are Yankee friendly, as everything is measured by cup, spoon, or count and not by gram or liter. He also does a better job of displaying ingredients lists so that units and ingredient names are all put on separate lines or columns. Unfortunately, he does not do this in the `basic recipes' section. But, since almost all items are simply counts, the problem is not acute.
This is another reason to make Gordon Ramsay your celebrity chef/writer of choice, especially as his books are reasonably priced and very attractive to look at, with full oversized pages of well-chosen pics (but without captions!).