Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (May 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #54,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #18 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Main Courses & Side Dishes > Salads #84 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Entertaining & Holidays > Seasonal #101 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking by Ingredient > Vegetables
"I could live on raw fish." If you agree with this statement, then you might really like this cook book by renowned foodie, cooking instructor and gardening enthusiast Patricia Wells. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of raw scallops and the like. I picked this book based purely on the title; Salad as a Meal. I love salads and I love making them the main dish of a meal, sounds like perfection, right?Sadly, this book is not for me.Here's what I liked about it;1..Excellent and inventive recipe for croutons - one in particular using polenta may actually get me interested in buying polenta to make them2. Perfectly detailed instructions on how to poach fish. Poached fish, especially salmon is an auto pick for me when I go to nice restaurants. I've never tried to make it at home because I thought I'd need one of those specialty fish poacher thingies and frankly I have neither the extra $ or the cabinet space.3. Lovely and very useful recipes for flavored salts. I don't know why it's never occured to me to make some of my own at home (I'm slow, I guess), but I just mixed up a batch of lemon salt per Ms. Wells recipe (it smells divine) and I'm going to try it out on some chicken I'm making for dinner tonight. But I could also see using this on hummus, tabouli, chocolate caramels, bread dip, the applications are flipping endless!Here are the reasons I do not like this book, they are biggies.1. There aren't as many salads in this book as I'd supposed, the book is broken down into chapters, Soups (comprised mostly of cold soups, seven out of the nine are chilled soups and I' not a fan of cold soups, sorry), Eggs, Fish, Poultry, Meat, Bread and sauces.2.
As many reviewers have already noted, Patricia Wells has a very broad definition of the word salad. This includes cold meat dishes, chicken and soba noodles with a ginger peanut sauce, and hummus (just to list a few examples). I tried two of the salads, the cobb salad and the grilled sausage salad with quick apple compote and watercress. The cobb salad was excellent and had a nice lemon yogurt dressing. The grilled sausage salad also hung together nicely. Both recipes I tried were well written and came together very quickly. The layout of the recipes is done well and she includes a wine suggestion list. In the back of the book, there are resources for finding ingredients, a list of essential kitchen equipment, and a list of the items she considers essential for her pantry.The recipes in this book range from the relatively simple to the very adventurous. For example, there is a recipe for curing beef fillet in salt and sugar (a 3-15 day operation), a recipe for smoking duck or chicken breast, and a recipe for an oxtail salad. Another section is recipes for making your own condiments, from fig chutney to curing your own olives and capers- Fun! If you are up to this challenge, you will delight in this book. Personally, I love trying bizarre and strange new foods so this is a definite selling point. If you like your menus simpler, you may be frustrated by the unusual ingredients and strange recipes.A minor point is that while the pictures in the book are all very beautiful, they are not always relevant to the recipes. Personally, I like a picture per recipe and I wish this had more pictures. I tend to choose the recipes with a picture and I often never cook those without.All in all, I enjoyed this cookbook and will probably use it quite a bit.
In some ways this is an extremely poor book on salads:1. There is an awful lot of non-salad recipes for a book with "salad" in the title.2. There are an awful lot of odd ingredients (fish cheeks-- preferably halibut cheeks?!).3. There are some weird issues with the typeface, so that one and a half comes out looking like 11/2. It took me a minute to realize that was not 11 divided by 2.4. There are some very fussy steps, involving things such as wood chips and some stove-top contraption (conveniently sold by Ms. Wells herself, right here on ). "Salad as a Meal" implies everyday cooking, not ordering halibut cheeks from Alaska and building a fire over my kitchen stove.5. Very, very, very few photos of the actual completed recipes. Instead, if a recipe uses lemons, there is a very pretty photo of a bowl of lemons.6. For my tastes, the writing is a little too personal and a little too pretentious (why she cannot possibly resist writing "haricots vert (green beans)" each time is beyond me).7. I would never, ever go along with her "love of raw food", including shell fish and beef.So why 3 stars and not just 1? Because there are some great ideas in here, you just have to make a lot of substitutions. Instead of tatsoi, red mustard and mizuna, just use strongly flavored salad greens. Instead of Halibut Cheeks, just use chunks of firm fish or scallops, and for "sucrine", use iceberg lettuce (she actually suggests these substitutions). Instead of the complicated grilling she calls for, just stick it under your broiler. Don't worry about the garlic cloves being "plump and moist". As long as they are decently fresh, you'll be fine. Best quality French Brine-Cured Black Olives?
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