Cookbook 189: Appetites: A Cookbook

Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain was gifted to me by Scott (one of the husbands) for Christmas. He knows I love Anthony Bourdain and remain devastated by his untimely death, and happily buys me wonderful cookbooks as gifts.

Anyway, back to this book. It’s odd, but not in a bad way. Odd like someone who wanted to be an edgy cookbook designer decided to take artistic and generally not entirely representative photos of the food. For example, the photo accompanying the Bagna Cauda with Crudites (which I did not cook), is a wooden spoon covered in the bagna cauda, over someone’s bare feet that has had the bagna cauda splashed on their foot. It’s weird. Some of the photos are of Anthony Bourdain or his friends posing with the dish or elements of the dish. It doesn’t detract from the book, but makes it a weirder experience in selecting recipes.

Unlike some other Anthony Bourdain books, this one actually has vegetarian recipes included, probably aimed as a side dish, but still there are several non-potato based vegetarian dishes which means that this book is more friendly to my household. We only cooked two recipes out of this book on the night in question, and I have a couple of recommendations for those recipes, but in flipping through it again there are many others I want to try. Overall 4 out of 5 stars.

(recipes translated to metric by me and Window’s calculator)

Roast Leg of Lamb with Flageolets (beans) Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried or 3 cups canned flageolets (or white navy beans or cannellini beans). If using dried, soak overnight
  • 1 boneless lamb shoulder (about 1.4kgs)
  • 15 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large very ripe beefsteak of similar red tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 20 oil-packed anchovies, drained with oil reserved and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

  1. Place the beans in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, let cook for 5 minutes, then cover and let sit for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Trim and reserve the excess fat from the lamb.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans and return them to the pot, along with the lamb fat, 3 cloves’ worth of chopped garlic, the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and oil. Add water just to cover – the tomatoes will release a lot of liquid as they break down. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender. Season with salt and pepper once the beans are done cooking. Cover to keep warm.
  4. While the beans simmer, in a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining garlic, the anchovies and about 2 tablespoons of the oil they were packed in, the thyme, and chilli flakes and mix well. Remove and discard the netting that the lamb has most likely been wrapped in, and open it up to lay flat on a clean work surface. Spread it with about half of the anchovy mixture, then roll and tie it into a cylinder with twine. Use the remaining mixture to coat the outside of the lamb. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and place it in a roasting pan, ideally one with a rack.
  5. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (if you like it medium rare – longer if you want it more cooked), rotating the pan and turning the meat after 45 minutes, until the instant-read thermometer registers 57C (or your preferred temperature). The temperature will rise to 60C as it rests, for medium-rare meat). Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve with the beans alongside.

Notes on this recipe:

  • To save your oven, if using a roasting rack, please place about a cup of water in the roasting pan. Otherwise your oven will fill with smoke, your kitchen will fill with smoke, and then the house will fill with smoke because the anchovy oil dripping into a hot pan and then burning. Check the water frequently.
  • The lamb was great otherwise. I’m not a fan of anchovies preserved in oil, but this was a really great use of them.
  • The beans were… basically fancy baked beans. And if you like baked beans, then you’ll love these. I am indifferent to baked beans, so I didn’t think they really added much to the dish.

Roasted cauliflower with sesame (serves 4 – 6 as a side dish)

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken by hand into florets
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/5 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 230C
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, oil, salt, coriander, oregano and pepper and toss well to evenly coat the cauliflower with the oil and spices. Transfer to a sheet pan and arrange in an even layer, making spaces between the pieces as much as possible. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the tray and lightly tossing the pieces halfway through.
  3. While the cauliflower roasts, combine the tahnini, miso, vinegar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven, transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with the sauce and sesame seeds to coat evenly.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Nigel really enjoyed it. It was pretty easy to make and a great use of a cauliflower.

Let me know what you think

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