If you find yourself at a bookstore this weekend (or maybe putting in that last Amazon Prime order), here are the three cookbooks I think you should consider buying for the foodie in your life.”Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes” (Ecco, $34.99): After all those years editing Food & Wine magazine, Dana Cowin knows how to translate chef kitchen experience into usable wisdom for the everyday cook. Each recipe has a “Why didn’t I think of that?” box with even more advice.“The Kitchen Ecosystem: Integrating Recipes to Create Delicious Meals” (Clarkson Potter, $27): Eugenia Bone wants you to think differently about how you cook. Not just to be open minded about new recipes, but to change how you think about making one dish whose components might fit into another, or how to enjoy one season’s bounty while you’re in it and preserve some of it to incorporate back into your — to her use word — ecosystem a few months later.”Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving” (W. W. Norton & Company, $35): Preservation expert Cathy Barrow’s first book will become an instant classic on the bookshelf of anyone who loves to smoke meat, can jam or make homemade stock. From fridge pickles to homemade yogurt, she’ll teach you how to do it. Here’s her recipe for smoke salmon with spinach on pappardelle.
Pappardelle with Smoked Salmon and Spinach
This is a comforting meal, ready in just a few minutes. If you don’t have cream, substitute sour cream or cream cheese. If you don’t have smoked salmon, substitute smoked trout or even tuna. No spinach? Use kale. No kale? Use peas. Or even steamed carrots, if that’s all you have. Add toasted chopped nuts to the bread crumbs if you want more crunch. Once you’ve made this a few times, it will become a go-to solution for a satisfying dinner. It is a perfect example of the practical pantry at work, and it is the dinner I crave on many cold, rainy Sundays.
— Cathy Barrow
3 to 4 cups baby spinach (or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach)
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
12 oz. smoked salmon, flaked
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. fresh or dried pappardelle
1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh chives
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fill a large deep, pot with water, salt well, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, if using fresh spinach, fill a 3-quart saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Insert a steamer basket (or use a colander or sieve), add the spinach, cover, and steam until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool, then squeeze the excess moisture out, pressing the spinach against the steamer or colander walls. Chop well and set aside.
In a large dry skillet, toast the bread crumbs until dry and golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Heat the butter in the same skillet until foaming, then add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the cream, stock, spinach, white pepper, and nutmeg and simmer, stirring gently, until the
sauce thickens slightly. Add the salmon, stir well, and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss gently to coat. Add the cooking water if the mixture seems dry. Serve piping hot, with a scattering of the toasted bread crumbs and chopped chives and parsley. Serves 4.
— From “Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving” by Cathy Barrow (W. W. Norton & Company, $35)