If it is the Lord who should be praised, then praise the Lord for Lidia Bastianich, one of the great chefs in America. She is always in service to the food, not her own ego, yet there is a self-contained sureness in her as she teaches on television and in her books.
In paying tribute to Lidia at a Food Schmooze dinner with her last year in Connecticut, I told her that I felt torn referring to her as a "chef," rather than a cook. While I bow to her exquisite knowledge of Italy's regions, and her extraordinary technique, her ability to translate recipes for those of us who are home cooks, is wise and rare. You do not pick up one of her cookbooks, including the new one featured here, Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking, and think, I can't possibly do this. In fact, you can't wait to get at it, and the dish never disappoints.
Lidia's latest cookbook Commonsense Italian Cooking: 150 Delicious and Simple Recipes Anyone Can Master, does what it says, giving us uncomplicated recipes that use good quality ingredients, a formula that practically guarantees success. A focus on good and simple ingredients also reminds us that basic things can be savored as well as satisfy us at the deepest level.
It was hard to choose a recipe, but in the end I had to go with what I consider the temptress in Lidia's stable, a gorgeous yet simple Salmon with Prosecco wine that you and your guests are not likely to forget. Seriously, they don't get easier than this, and with such a wondrous pay-off.
- Gordon Chalue is making a great paleo lasagna at Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli.
- Matthew Goodyear, from the Blue Canoe Oyster Bar & Grill in Greenport, NY makes a killer cocktail using brown butter bourbon.
- Chris Prosperi is chef and owner of Metro Bis Restaurant in Simsbury, CT.
- Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is author of Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking: 150 Delicious and Simple Recipes Anyone Can Master