In this, his first non-menu cookbook, the New York Times food columnist offers 100 utterly delicious recipes that epitomize comfort food, Tanis-style. Individually or in combination, they make perfect little meals that are elemental and accessible, yet totally surprising—and there’s something to learn on every page. Among the chapter titles there’s “Bread Makes a Meal,” which includes such alluring recipes as a ham and Gruyère bread pudding, spaghetti and bread crumbs, breaded eggplant cutlets, and David’s version of egg-in-a-hole. A chapter called “My Kind of Snack” includes quail eggs with flavored salt; speckled sushi rice with toasted nori; polenta pizza with crumbled sage; raw beet tartare; and mackerel rillettes. The recipes in “Vegetables to Envy” range from a South Indian dish of cabbage with black mustard seeds to French grandmother–style vegetables. “Strike While the Iron Is Hot” is all about searing and quick cooking in a cast-iron skillet. Another chapter highlights dishes you can eat from a bowl with a spoon. And so it goes, with one irrepressible chapter after another, one perfect food moment after another: this is a book with recipes to crave.
Tanis (A Platter of Figs) turns his focus to an eclectic array of simple, casual meals that satisfy and are appropriate to be eaten at any time of day. Tanis's whimsy runs from bread, snacks, and condiments to vegetables, griddled foods, desserts, and more. Waffle-iron grilled cheese, gorgonzola and walnut crostini; and ham and gruyere bread pudding are highlights among the rustic offering of bread entries. Snack options are diverse and wholly appetizing, including smaller nibbles such as quail eggs with flavored salt and cucumber spears with dill, along with more substantial dishes such as potato salad with peppers and olives, polenta "pizza" with crumbled sage, and cold chicken with spicy scallion oil. His chapter titled "Eating with a Spoon" centers on pleasures in a bowl and contains a full-bodied, save-your-life garlic soup, rice porridge with salted egg, yellow risotto with saffron and lemon, and clams in the shell with fennel and parsley. Recipes based on vegetables are robust and inventively appealing, including long-cooked kale, which incorporates Spanish chorizo and red pepper flakes; well-charred endives with anchovy butter; and braised lettuce, sweet peas, and ham. Accompanied by numerous full-color photographs, the recipes in this collection are suitable for solo dining or entertaining guests and are certain to please.