I admire top chefs who would rather spend time behind the stoves than in front of a camera. April Bloomfield is one of those rare birds, a chefs' chef, who can usually be found toiling at one of her three hugely popular Manhattan restaurants: The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar.
And now she's come out with her first book, A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories by April Bloomfield with JJ Goode (2012 Ecco), $33.
While Bloomfield's celebrity is mostly contained within the five boroughs, A Girl and Her Pig is sure to make her more of a household name. I recently took it home one weekend and found myself drawn to her bold, British approach to seasonal cooking. I bookmarked half the recipes with yellow notes and read her charming stories into the wee hours of the night. It's an engaging tome, less of a restaurant compendium and more of a guide to better Sunday suppers.
Here are a few of Bloomfield's simple, delicious recipes to grace my table this fall:
This is an autumnal seven-vegetable soup, which gets the gentlest undercurrent of heat from dried chili flakes. A squeeze of lemon sharpens the flavours, taking the dish from "Mmm..." to "Wow."
Big flakes of moist hot-smoked trout, earthy roast beets, peppery arugula and tangy blobs of crème fraîche come together for a sensational salad.
Wedges of Savoy cabbage, carrots, shallots, whole garlic cloves and thick slices of bacon are braised in rich chicken stock. This dish somehow manages to be both hearty and light.
Every recipe I tried is a keeper. If you want to up your game without spending all day in the kitchen, this book is a good investment.
For more great ideas, see our Fresh Fall Recipes guide.