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November 23, 2016

How to Sauté

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-3-12-16-pmHow to Sauté

By: Michael Ruhlman

Alton Brown, the great kitchen science guru, said, “I’m not sure if Michael Ruhlman is a great writer who cooks or a great cook who writes, but either way he always manages to make my favorite thing: good sense.”

How to Sauté isn’t a long cookbook (23 dishes, plus some sauce recipes), but the goal with this book is not to create showcase a large collection of recipes. Instead, it brings together a collection dishes representing different ways to understand and apply the sautéing technique. Ruhlman begins with an introduction for understanding what sautéing is, when to use the technique, and how it’s used to make food more flavorful. This photo-filled book doesn’t just feature the finished dish, but includes pictures of how food should look during each step of the recipe.

The recipes are great too: Chicken Schnitzel, Sautéed Flounder, or Pork Chops with Sauce Robert sound quite fancy, but are simple, inexpensive, and quick enough to knock out on a weeknight and unique enough to add variety to your dinner repertoire. That’s not to say there aren’t special occasion recipes: Duck Breasts with Rhubarb Gastrique probably won’t make it on my everyday table, but I did learn about a fairly simple dish featuring foods I hadn’t cooked before.

Ruhlman’s books work very well because he comes to cooking as an outsider – someone who wants to understand why food tastes good and how we can replicate that at home. He began his career as a journalist and realized very quickly that when he interviewed chefs he had no idea what they were talking about, so he attended the Culinary Institute of America, spawning a memoir (The Making of a Chef). He has since written several other books on food and cooking, including collaborations with Thomas Keller and Brian Polcyn. He has two other books in this series: How to Roast and How to Braise.


Review By:  Julia Welzen