Omni Daily Crush: "Michael Symon's Live to Cook"

In his debut cookbook, Michael Symon's Live to Cook (available November 3), the Cleveland chef with the infectious laugh, who beat  John Besh to become Food Network's newest Iron Chef, presents a collection of family-style fare inspired by his Greek-Italian-Eastern European roots. In the introduction to the book, his coauthor and fellow Cleavelander, Michael Ruhlman, classifies their book as "an uncompromising chef's book that speaks directly to home cooks without talking down to chefs or simplifying any of the food." And as an ambassador for all things pork, Symon gives readers a passport to porcine goodness with nose-to-tail dishes like Crispy Pig's Ears with Pickled Vegetables, Fresh Bacon with Watermelon and Haloumi, Pappardelle with Pig's-Head Ragu, and Roasted Rack of Pork with Grilled Peaches and Chestnut Honey Vinaigrette. You won't find any desserts between the covers, but there's plenty of meat-centric menu items (Braised Rabbit Thighs with Olives and Orange, Beef Cheek Pierogies with Wild Mushrooms and Horseradish) and a lineup of killer sides (Ohio Creamed Corn with Bacon, Whipped Root Vegetables) that could stand on their own. And the sections on charcuterie (Lamb Bresola, three different sausages) and pickles (Pickled Ramps, Pickled Cherries) are outstanding. One minor quibble I have with the design of the book is the all-caps Judas Priest-style font that's used for the chapter subheads. While they may capture Symon's blue-collar, rebel spirit they're a pain to read (but that won't stop me from spending more time in the kitchen with the book).

Recommended for fans of Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork and Charcuterie.


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