Gourmet magazine recently picked their top cookbooks for 2007. I agreed with some of their picks, but not all of them. One book that was missing from the list was Cook with Jamie. If you are a Jamie Oliver fan, and I admit I am, this book is a must. But if even if you’re not, this book is really worthwhile and very different from other cookbooks on the market. Subtitled “My guide to making you a better cook” it’s filled with all the little secrets that chefs learn in the kitchen.

So what kind of secrets are revealed? How to perfectly dress a salad so there is just the right amount of dressing, how to make really good schnitzel (a recipe taught to him by David Bouley), a technique for knowing when fish is cooked through that doesn’t involve breaking it apart, how to pick leeks in the market, how to properly store things in the freezer. I could go on and on.

In addition to all the tips and techniques, explained in the typically “easy-peasy” Jamie Oliver manner, there are the recipes. The thing I like about Jamie Oliver recipes is that they each seem to have that added element that elevates them into something special. It might be an extra sauce, or topping of crispy herbs or even an unexpected ingredient. There are 160 recipes that range from Ultimate Rib of Beef with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes to Slow Roasted Pork Belly with the Sweetest Braised Fennel to Roasted Baby Leeks with Thyme. If you are like me, these are recipes you will want to cook. At just under $25 on Amazon, I highly recommend this book.

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