Book review: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

January 16, 2013 § 5 Comments

Our friends Olga and Anthony recently gifted us with Ina Garten’s latest book, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof .  Already it’s a favorite.  I can’t abide a cookbook that doesn’t have a picture for every page, and the Barefoot Contessa understands that the most important part of eating is visual.  With a beautiful picture of every recipe, Ms. Garten inspires us to eat enthusiastically and enjoy life.

A week doesn’t go by where I fail to consult one of Garten’s delightful books.  Her recipes are standard fare around here.  Her latest book is no exception, and it is a pleasure to the senses.  Even if you don’t cook, you can’t resist this book.

And by the way, Dave gave a whole-hearted thumbs up for the recipe on page 150 for salmon and melting cherry tomatoes.   We decided to sauté the tomatoes with a little pasta, and it was fabulous…definitely a dish we will make again and again.  If you buy just one cookbook this year, let it be this one.

It’s a treat…even if you don’t make a single recipe, the pictures alone make it worthwhile.

Ina Garten

Ina Garten’s salmon and melting cherry tomatoes

olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion (try Vidalia, but we used regular green onions)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (we used three, because we’re cooking rogues)

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem (we used grape tomatoes because we think they taste better)

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons julienne fresh basil leaves

1 (2-pound salmon fillet, cut crosswise into 4 pieces)

Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and sauté an additional 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes, a little salt (a pinch or two), and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens slightly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the vinegar and basil.  Cover with a lid to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat a large 10-12-inch cast iron pan on high heat for 5 minutes.  Brush the salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Place the salmon skin side up in the pan.  Cook the fish for 3 – 4 minutes without moving them, until they are browned.  Turn the salmon skin side down with a metal spatula and cook an additional 3 minutes (Ina’s recipe suggests that you place the fish in a preheated 425-degree fahrenheit oven at this time, for about 8 minutes; we prefer using the stovetop, however).

Remove the fish to a serving platter.  Cover with the tomatoes, and serve.

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