Elizabeth loves her some Tom Colicchio. Her love of his take on food was first sparked by Top Chef, strengthened by a visit to craftbar in New York a few years ago, and solidified after getting Think Like a Chef for Christmas last year. Admittedly, it’s an odd cookbook, because while it approaches the basics of cooking, it is not a cookbook for real beginners.
One highlight of the book is its take on flavor combinations, something chefs and TV cooks often mention, but no one really ever says much about it beyond mentioning the simple avocado/lime or tomatoes/basil pairs. Tom inspires the home cook to learn about less obvious mixtures like peas, lobster and pasta, essentially the benefits from the kind of messing around that a chef can do that may be more difficult to the rest us (I don’t know about you, but I don’t got no extra lobster hanging around to play with).
Here we have the lovely combination of seared scallops and sauteed mushrooms, I assume some game played with similar textures and counterpoised flavors. Mushrooms are very earthy and upfront, the scallops are oceany and subtle. This simple appetizer is luxurious without being ostentatious; the mushrooms don’t all have to be super-expensive, a good mix of cheaper Creminis with high-end Wood Ears and/or Oysters does nicely. The Manhattan Fruit Exchange is a good bet for a great selection of reasonably priced fungi. Your local greenmarket may also yield a bountiful harvest, but prices and availability are always a crapshoot. Continuing foraging until next time, friends. Cook on!