On a recent trip to Lawrence, Kan., I was lucky enough to be treated to the culinary creations of Robert and Molly Krause at their restaurants The Burger Stand and Esquina. After feasting on a ridiculous amount of impeccably prepared and presented dishes, I was highly tempted to order one of everything to go and drive it back to St. Louis with me. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the Krause's new cookbook, The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors.
With the credentials to back it up - including Robert's training at The Culinary Institute at Hyde Park, New York, and their former restaurant Krause Dining landing the #11 spot on Food & Wine's "101 Tastes to Try" in 2008 - the husband-and-wife team dare you to get adventurous in the kitchen with page after page of surprising flavor combinations.
Each of the 100-plus recipes in the book combines three distinct "base" ingredients that work together to create the imaginative flavor profile of the dish, such as using tomato + brown sugar + coffee to make barbecue sauce, or creating a savory sabayon with egg + caviar + chervil. Preceding each recipe is an introduction page that describes the three ingredients and explains how and why they work well together. Incredibly inspiring and endlessly educational, this is the book for anyone wanting to expand their culinary knowledge and develop a base for understanding how ingredients work together so you, too, can create recipes that inspire awe.
List price $26; available at multiple major booksellers in the St. Louis area
FEAST WEB-EXTRA RECIPE!
Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Grape-Saffron Salsa
By Robert and Molly Krause, from their book The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors
GRAPE + SAFFRON + NUT: This is a combination of exotic complexity. The honey-like aroma and bright color of saffron make the stimulating, crisp grape even more alluring. Nuts provide an addition layer of flavor and a crunch edge that unifies the combination.
This is a great crispy fish dish that is full of flavor but not heavy. Feel free to substitute your favorite fish fillet.
- 1 mild red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 mild fresh red chile pepper (such as paprika), seeded and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp (8 g) chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 24 seedless green grapes, halved
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup (65 g) diced jicama
- 1 tsp (1 g) saffron threads, lightly toasted
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 halibut fillets, 6 to 8 oz (170 to 225 g)
- 1/3 cup (47 g) cornmeal
- ¼ cup (31 g) toasted pistachios, ground in food processor
- 3 Tbsp (42 g) butter, for frying
- 2 eggs
| Preparation | Combine all of the salsa ingredients and allow to infuse while preparing fish. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fish. Combine cornmeal and pistachios in a shallow bed and season with salt and pepper. Beat egg in another large shallow bowl.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each piece of fish into the beaten eggs and then coat in the crumb mixture. Fry on each side for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately topped with salsa
NOTE: This combination and recipe could work equally well with chicken breasts. Pound them out between two pieces of parchment paper to make thinner and to take advantage of the crispy coating.