Saturday, January 20, 2018

One Knife, One Pot, One Dish #AbramsDinnerParty

When I got the latest cookbook for the Abrams Dinner Party (where I get a bunch of free cookbooks from the publisher) I was curious about the concept.

The book is called One Knife, One Pot, One Dish, and the subtitle is Simple French feasts at home.

Well, hmmm. When I think of French food, simple is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Wandering through the book, the titles didn't sound simple. Like Pork with Green Peppercorns and Shiitakes, Rabbit with Lemon Thyme and Almonds, Cauliflower with Lemon Mascarpone, or Salmon with Beets and Chocolate Mint.

There were others that sounded simple, like Chili, One-Pot Carbonnade, and Hot Dogs with Cheese.

But ... titles can be deceiving. All of the recipes are designed to be simple to prepare, no matter how "fancy" the ingredients are. First, you peel or slice or chop. Then it goes into a pot. Then you plate it. Boom! All done!

I decided to try the concept with a dessert - Apples with Salted Butter. Mostly because I had plenty of leftovers for the next few dinners, and I didn't want to pile on yet another dinner-like food.

This was a super-simple recipe that required a whopping three ingredients. Just apples, butter, and sugar. First, the apples are peeled, cored and thinly sliced on a mandoline. Then some butter and sugar go onto the bottom of the pot and the apple slices are layered into the pot with sprinkles of sugar and dots of butter between layers. Then it's baked for a while with the lid on the pot, and later the lid is removed so the sugar has a chance to caramelize.

It all went well except that when I got to the store, I had forgotten which apples were recommended, so I played apple roulette (seriously, how many apple varieties are in season now?) And I grabbed a few of each.

When I took the lid off the pot, the apples were swimming in juice. My goodness, I had juicy apples! It took much longer than recommended to get the apples to caramelize to a point that was even close to what was in the photo. Then, when I tried to unmold it, it kind of flopped out of the pan so it was useless for a photo.

Oh, but the flavor! Warm or room temperature or chilled, this was a-freaking-mazing. The amount of sugar (just about one tablespoon per apple) was enough to add some sweetness, but overall they were more tart than sweet. The butter added richness. I get grabbing and nibbling more and more. So good.

I'm going to be making this again, for sure. Possibly with different apples.

As far as the book, the techniques are pretty easy. Some of the ingredients would be a little difficult for me to find. Like the rabbit. I can't recall the last time I saw that at the grocery store. But you know what tastes like rabbit? Yup, chicken.

As far as other ingredients that might be less common (chocolate mint is available at the garden center; less so at the grocery store) they'd be pretty easy to substitute. Regular mint for chocolate mint. One mushroom for another. One fish for another. One cheese for another. The results might not be exactly the same, but they'd be darned close. And pretty easy, too.

I got One Knife, One Pot, One Dish by Stephanie Reynaud from the publisher at no cost to me.

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