Atlanta chef Todd Richards combines the traditional with the unexpected in Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes (Oxmoor House, 370 pages, $35), introducing readers to soul-food standards — collards, cornbread, catfish — before using them as springboards for contemporary dishes. Fried Green Tomatillos With Ancho Chile BBQ sauce, Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Collard Green Butter, Pork Jowl With Brussels Sprout Slaw, and Smoked Turkey Breast With Pickled Beet Chutney, to name a few.
Richards is a natural writer ("Once you familiarize yourself with the nuances of the wide variety of onions, you realize that their unique flavors and textures tell you how to use them" is a tiny example) and his emphasis on fresh produce — corn, tomatoes, melons, berries and stone fruits — makes this the ideal summer cookbook, but plenty of recipes featuring root vegetables, leafy greens and beans and rice make this a book you can use year-round.
Although this book is undeniably Soul, Richards encourages readers and cooks to let go of labels and limitations. "You'll liberate yourself in the kitchen, grow as a cook and your taste buds will have better dining experiences."
Speaking of dining experiences, each recipe includes beverage and side dish suggestions and scattered throughout the book are menus for some of Richards' favorite meals and playlists for setting the mood.
— Rick Nelson (Star Tribune/TNS) and Kelly Brant (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Food on 02/06/2019
Print Headline: Reading Nook