Some people read cookbooks like magazines, stopping only when something piques their interest, and others read them cover to cover, savoring every page. All About Roasting by Molly Stevens is one of those books. You won’t want to put it down!
I’ll admit, it begins a bit peculiarly, with a two pages of side dishes and four pages of conversion tables, right up front before the introduction. But the real magic beings with the first page of chapter 1 “The Principles of Roasting”.
“The Principles of Roasting” is an introduction to the art and science of roasting. It’s Roasting 101. Forty nine pages covering all aspects of roasting: dry vs. moist heat, low/medium/high heat and when to use each, salting and brining, carry-over cooking, oven rack position, resting and carving your final product. The basic equipment needed – a thermometer, roasting pan, and sometimes a rack – are discussed in detail.
The rest of the book contains 150 recipes divided into chapters: Beef & Lamb, Pork, Chicken & Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Vegetables & Fruits. Each wonderfully written chapter begins with its own table of contents and two pages about the specifics of roasting that type of food. The first recipe in each chapter covers the basics. It may look long, but Stevens leads you step by step through the process. Once you master the first recipe progressing on to the more advanced recipes should be easy.
Throughout the book – between the recipes – you’ll find all sorts of wonderful essays. From shopping guides for specific ingredients, to trimming various cuts of meat (I can now butterfly a whole chicken), to discussions of spices – from lemon grass to Aleppo or Gram Masala, and choosing the best vegetables. These make All About Roasting a really fun read, and so much more than just a cookbook.