When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. Read more...
When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. It would be the heart of his neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for both the downtown and the uptown sets, serving Southern black and cross-cultural food. It would reflect Harlem's history. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. These traditions converge on Rooster's menu, with Brown Butter Biscuits, Chicken and Waffle, Killer Collards, and Donuts with Sweet Potato Cream. They're joined by global-influenced dishes such as Jerk Bacon and Baked Beans, Latino Pork and Plantains, and Chinese Steamed Bass and Fiery Noodles. Samuelsson's Swedish-Ethiopian background shows in Ethiopian Spice-Crusted Lamb, Slow-Baked Blueberry Bread with Spiced Maple Syrup, and the Green Viking, sprightly Apple Sorbet with Caramel Sauce. Interspersed with lyrical essays that convey the flavor of the place and stunning archival and contemporary photos, The Red Rooster Cookbook is as layered as its inheritance.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-15
- Reviewer: Staff
With four cookbooks and two memoirs already under his belt, Samuelsson (Marcus off Duty) at last turns his attention to what has made him a celebrity in New York and beyond, his Harlem restaurant, the Red Rooster. Harlem and its history are never far from the chef’s mind, with numerous profiles of uptown denizens, like Billy Mitchell of the Apollo Theater, sharing space with soulful recipes and joyful tales of working uptown. The section on chicken is entitled “Birdland” and, as with each of the dozen chapters, comes with a suggested playlist of classics to listen to while cooking. The chapter showcases his classic fried yardbird, with its dark meat chicken soaked overnight in a marinade of coconut milk, buttermilk, and spices. For brunch, there is Aunt Maybel’s ham buns and chocolate gravy, and we learn that when President Obama came for dinner there were short ribs braised in plum sauce along with a vegetable medley featuring the unlikely combination of sweet potatoes, green beans, and jalapenos. Fisher’s food and street photography colorfully captures the character of Samuelsson’s dishes as well as the characters that inhabit his neighborhood. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, InkWell. (Oct.)
Cooking: Cock of the walk
There are plenty of big-name, beautiful cookbooks coming out this holiday season that are perfect for the gourmet on your gift list. The Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelsson’s thriving restaurant in the heart of Harlem, seems a far cry from his svelte Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit, but both are products of Samuelsson’s unique culinary genius. Harlem is his home now; he’s wild about the food, the people and the history, and his new book, The Red Rooster Cookbook, celebrates the place where his pickled herring gets along well with cornbread. Vibrantly eclectic is an understatement for the mix of recipes here, from Fried Yardbird and Brown Butter Biscuits to Puerco en Cerveza, Trout with Ginger and Citrus and Ethiopian-Spiced Lamb. As a delicious treat, Samuelsson walks us though the lively Harlem scene in lyrical essays studded with photos.
A CHEF AT HOME
The “restaurant chef cooks at home” style of cookbook is very popular, but some are hardly believable. Nancy Silverton’s new cookbook is. She loves to cook at home for friends and family, and now that she’s established her flourishing restaurant empire, she’s had time to pour her zeal into a new cookbook. Mozza at Home is her ode to the joys of home-cooked dinners served at a big table piled with platters of food, all at room temperature, mostly made ahead. She offers over 150 recipes organized into 18 meals, plus one -Umbrian feast. Choose from among these tempting dishes, follow Nancy’s instructions, and host and guests will be happy, relaxed and very well fed.
BAKING WITH BITTMAN
The prolific Mark Bittman is back with How to Bake Everything. This time, he’s taking on the cooking domain often viewed as too rigid and precise for the casual cook and Bittman-ized it, showing us what is negotiable and what isn’t, focusing on simple core recipes with lots of variations, along with charts, lists and illustrations. His aim is to turn us all into confident, creative bakers who can improvise, adapt and customize, whether baking a tart, a cake, cookies, flatbread, a crusty baguette or a flaky croissant.
TOP PICK IN COOKING
You can never go wrong with Ina Garten. Cooking for Jeffrey, Garten’s latest, is a deeply personal tribute to her beloved Jeffrey, husband of nearly five decades, stalwart supporter and muse. There are new recipes from the imaginative Garten and updates of “Jeffrey-tested” classics. Brisket with Onions and Leeks and an Herb and Apple Bread Pudding that’s perfect for Thanksgiving are treasured treats from the past. More recent Jeffrey-inspired dishes include Moroccan Grilled Lamb Chops, Roast Chicken with Radishes and Bourbon Honey Cake. This is Garten at her foolproof, fabulous best.