Written in 1995, Roasting was one of those “instant classic” books that appear so rarely. It’s a monumental work. Since its publication, there have only been a couple of other “roasting” books published. What more can you say? How could you say it better than Barbara?
Early in the book, Barbara asks, “What is roasting?” The answer is provided in an example: a fluffy baked potato versus potato slices roasted as they nestle next to a chicken or pork roast. It’s fat. Added fat or internal fat. But fat+heat means you are roasting.
What can you roast? More than you might expect. Barbara suggests you begin with chicken for a roasted chicken in the ultimate in comfort food — and easy. It is the ease and speed of roasting that makes it such a universally appreciated technique.
After the chicken, some lamb. And then … The chapters of Roasting are filled with hundreds of ideas organized in four chapters:
Fish and Shellfish
Vegetables and Some Fruits [some, not all]
In 450 pages, you would expect to see familiar dishes and some surprises. Here’s a baker’s dozen of those surprises, ideas I doubt you have experienced:
Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze and Fresh Mint
Roast Duck Salad with Black Bean Sauce
Cumberoutlandish Sauce for Poultry [orange, lemons, red currant jelly, ginger, port, mustard]
Roast Pork Loin in Onion-Rhubarb Sauce
Roasted Coho Salmon with Mint, Wine and Yogurt
Roasted Sea Bass with Fermented Black Beans
Lemon Shrimp Frisée with Scallion Vinaigrette
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Broth
Hungarian Roasted Cabbage with Paprika, Caraway and Sour Cream
Tex-Mex Roasted Baby Eggplant
Roasted Creminis with Orange-Cumin Glaze
Puffed Sweet Potato Slices with Crisp Red Onion Rings
Roasted Papaya with Curried Lime Sauce
Tips and insight appear on page after page. This book is a master’s degree in roasting — actually in the selection, preparation, and presentation of the ingredients you already love. But now, you will love them more. A little fat. That’s all.