Iron Chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay can cook up a storm, but he also understands the pleasures of the classics. From his recipe for Perfect Burgers he builds mouth-watering constructions like the California Burger (layered with Monterey Jack and spicy avocado relish) and the Greek Burger (topped with feta, yogurt, and cucumbers). Flay’s accompaniments are equally tempting: He offers recipes for eight different kinds of French fries and more than twice as many milk shakes, including an ultra-decadent Toasted Marshmallow.
See our latest round-up of recommended cookbooks for 2013.
2 of 8 Courtesy of Clarkson Potter
“The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” by Ina Garten
Still a favorite 10 years after its publication, this book will leave you well equipped (and excited) for summer entertaining with simple, tasty dishes you’ll want to make again and again. French Potato Salad, Salmon With Fennel, Peach and Raspberry Crisp―the names may sound familiar but the resulting dishes are anything but boring. A trusty resource to pull out the next time you need to plan a brunch, cocktail party, or dinner.
“A16: Food + Wine,” by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren
The chef of San Francisco’s acclaimed Italian restaurant A16, Nate Appleman offers his rustic, southern Italian―inspired cuisine―think Naples-style Pizza Pomodoro With Ricotta and Braised Salmon With Basil, Almonds, and Lemon―in this beautiful collection of recipes. Ed Anderson’s photographs of Italian daily life and profiles of the country’s wine regions are the next best thing to being there.
If you’ve ever been intimidated by the mountain of equipment and instructions required to preserve pickles and jar jam, this is the book for you. A charming DIY guide by a self-professed amateur cook, it’s packed with thoroughly approachable recipes that will have you replacing grocery store staples with homemade goods before you know it. Learn to cook your own potato chips, cure bacon, bake crackers, and make ricotta cheese. The book’s laid-back approach and helpful how-to photos will spark inspiration for tasty gifts, too.
“A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes,” by David Tanis
Head chef of the famed Chez Panisse restaurant, Tanis organizes the menus in this year-round cookbook by season, always adhering to his mantra: “The best meals mirror nature.” In the Summer Menus chapter, his recipes seduce with elegantly simple preparations for peak-season fruits and vegetables. From the Corn, Squash, and Beans With Jalapeño Butter to the Grilled Chicken Breasts made with only salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh rosemary, Tanis shows that sometimes less is more when it comes to great food.
Grill master Steve Raichlen’s no-nonsense approach and slew of trusty tips make this an essential guide and the perfect gift for anyone who loves to cook over an open fire. With Raichlen’s guidance, you’ll be able to quickly and easily unskewer shish kebabs, fillet a whole grilled fish, butterfly a cut of pork, and more. The 500-plus recipes inspired by barbecue styles around the world promise to keep your backyard meals exciting this summer.
“Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire,” by Jamie Purviance
Step-by-step photographs with detailed instructions on how to build a fire, test for hotness, prepare baby back ribs, and cook what seems like every possible cut of meat make this book a valuable reference, even if you never get around to tackling the dozens of recipes, many from non-professional charcoal fanatics and ardent grillers. A useful supplement to Steven Raichlen’s “The Barbecue! Bible” (see previous slide).
“In Season: Cooking With Vegetables and Fruits,” by Sarah Raven
Sarah Raven first became famous in England as a gardener. Her intimacy with the land and respect for ingredients stand out in this book’s delightful recipes, like Lettuce Hearts With Hot Butter Dressing and Fresh Strawberry and Shortbread Tart.