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What Is A New Way to Cook?

The New York Times Book Review called Sally’s 732–page A New Way to Cook “the ‘Silver Palate’ for the new generation.” It won both James Beard Foundation and International Association of Culinary Professionals’ (IACP) cookbook awards and was a finalist for IACP’s Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarshop. Since its publication in 2001, it has been included on numerous lists of “essential” cookbooks, in the company of The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The Guardian named A New Way to Cook “One of the Best Books of the Decade.”

A New Way to Cook offers a revolutionary approach to everyday cooking — vividly flavored dishes that satisfy our passion for great food and our desire for balance in the way we eat. What makes Sally’s 600 recipes such standouts is that they are healthful, yet use all the ingredients we love, such as butter, cream and bacon. She spent years figuring out ingenious ways to reinvent favorite recipes with all their deliciousness intact. Whether they’re quintessential American favorites such as macaroni and cheese, rosemary buttermilk biscuits, and chocolate malted pudding or Italian polentas, risottos, focaccia, and pastas, or Asian cold sesame noodles or curry–crusted shrimp, you can count on the dish being better tasting than the traditional, and better for you.

Simple, innovative techniques make the difference, such as intensifying the flavor of oils and butter so you can use less, roasting in order to “fry” or caramelize vegetables using little fat, using quick, fragrant broths to sauce fish or to make impromptu soups. Quickly–made sauces, rubs, marinades, essences, and vinaigrettes add instant hits of flavor with little effort. (Chive oil becomes an instant sauce for grilled salmon; smoky tea becomes a rub that makes steak taste as though it was cooked on a grill; a long–keeping Port wine sauce, made with only three ingredients, becomes an elegant rustic sauce for steak, duck, lamb, chicken or salmon).

Throughout are a wealth of tips and practical information to make you a more accomplished and self–confident cook, such as how to make soups and purees creamy without cream; how to make desserts with less sugar; how to maximize the flavor of spices, nuts and canned chicken broth.

Variations and improvisations offer the cook infinite flexibility, and “essential” recipes become key standbys with which you can build any meal. A rich pepper–and–onion stew can be a topping for bruschetta, a simple lunch topped with shaved cheese, a pasta sauce, an omelet filling, a bed for grilled fish or chicken. And by building dishes from simple elements, turning out complex meals doesn't have to be a complex affair.