The Best of Craig Claiborne is the very best, indeed.
From the master chef who first brought the flavors of the world home to the American table comes the signature collection sure to surprise and delight every kind of palate. With 1,000 delicious recipes covering everything from regional and ethnic dishes to haute cuisine, Craig Claiborne’s magnum opus is an essential cookbook for every kitchen.
As food editor of The New York Times from the late fifties to the late eighties, Craig Claiborne has shared his passion for food with readers through his columns and more than twenty cookbooks. For this new collection, Claiborne’s longtime editor, Joan Whitman, has selected the best recipes from Craig Claiborne’s The New New York Times Cookbook (co-authored with Pierre Franey) and three other classic cookbooks, Cooking with Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking, and Craig Claiborne’s Gourmet Diet.
Among the distinguishing features of Craig Claiborne’s culinary genius is the inspired way he marries flavors from all corners of the globe. As a gregarious host with a voracious curiosity, he has welcomed the world’s finest chefs into his kitchen and has devoted himself to exploring authentic combinations of exquisite flavors. The result is the diverse repertoire that helped to revolutionize American cuisine.
The delicious recipes in this peerless collection range from classic American regional dishes like Southern Fried Chicken, Jambalaya, and New England Boiled Dinner to international delights such as the Mediterranean fish soup Bourride, Vietnamese Grilled Lemon Duck, Curried Thai Shrimp, Yakitori (Japanese Skewered Chicken), Cassoulet from France, Paella from Spain, Tangy Chinese Noodles, Ossobuco Milanese, Indian Keema with Peas, and Caribbean-Style Stuffed Crabs. These dishes represent the creative contributions of renowned chefs and gifted home cooks with whom Claiborne has maintained an active culinary correspondence for many years.
Particularly noteworthy here are the immeasurable contributions of the late Pierre Franey. The former chef of the acclaimed Pavillon restaurant in New York and author of the New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet series, Franey collaborated with Claiborne to expand the frontiers of fine cooking. Working as a brilliant team for more than twenty years, the two master chefs developed a culinary repertoire that rivals any in the world.
Cooks everywhere will be delighted to find the most sophisticated recipes, from the ethereal coulibiac of salmon to traditional chocolate truffles. How- ever, as Claiborne himself says, “It is certainly not all foie gras and truffles.” The recipes range from simple to stunning, with flavors both robust and delicate, and are never beyond the grasp of most home cooks. The Best of Craig Claiborne contains an abundance of practical and enlightening advice and down-to-earth meals that often make use of leftovers and less expensive ingredients. In addition, many of the recipes have been updated to include low-fat alternatives.
The Best of Craig Claiborne is a celebration of the world’s culinary masterpieces that belongs in every cook’s library.From the late 1950s through the ’80s, Craig Claiborne was the food editor of The New York Times. As such, he was instrumental in acquainting Americans with the world’s great dishes in recipes that worked. These appeared not only in his columns but also in the landmark cookbooks he authored, including The New York Times Cook Book and the Craig Claiborne’s Favorites series. The Best of Craig Claiborne, written with longtime collaborator Pierre Franey, culls more than 1,000 of these recipes–dishes created by celebrated chefs and accomplished amateurs who famously trekked to Claiborne’s home to share their cooking expertise. Claiborne fans and cooks wanting a globe-spanning selection of outstanding recipes will welcome the book.
The remarkable recipe range touches all menu bases–from appetizers, soups, luncheon dishes, and pastas, to entrees of all kinds, breads, sauces, and of course, desserts. Exemplary versions of traditional favorites such as roast chicken with mustard sauce, southern biscuits, chili, and linguine with clam sauce are presented alongside newer culinary canon members, such as Vietnamese grilled pork patties in lettuce leaves, braised Chinese mushrooms, pozole, poori, and sushi, among similar specialties. With signature dishes from Alice Waters (her goat cheese and prosciutto calzone recipe is a standout), Jacques Pépin, and Bernard Clayton (among others), and Claiborne’s anecdotal sketches of dishes and their cooks, tips, and–above all–precise yet accessible recipes, the book should work for all palates and for cooks at all levels of expertise. –Arthur Boehm
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