Rating: Buy it. Now
We have made a number of the dishes in this book but we won't bore you with the details of them all. Instead we will talk a little about our two favorites, the Sofrito and the Noodles with Mussels, which uses the sofrito.
This is a recipe that may seem daunting at first as it requires a little time and some semi constant attention but once its done you will be grateful for the time spent. Think of it like someone's grandmother's special tomato sauce. Its amazing, you want to put it on everything, you want to bath in it but you won't because that would be a waste, and you cant imagine ever making it on your own. She must have super special cooking powers. She doesn't. What she has is patience and an understanding of a few simple fundamentals, and that makes all the difference. You can have those too. Taking the time to make this sauce will not only be rewarding to your belly, but also your skills in the kitchen. Its amazing.
Noodle soup with mussels
We didn't have fish stock on hand to make this one so we used chicken stock instead. That's OK. You can do that with these recipes, they are exceedingly versatile. It has gone straight into the top 5 on the List of Cooking Triumphs to come out of our home kitchen. We have talked about it longingly ever since. I have prepared hundreds and hundreds of mussels at work but for some reason, until this, never at home. It seems like a big hurdle to leap at first. You have to talk to the fish guy at the store, clean them, soak them, then cook them and be confident that you did it right. With the step by step pictures and advice, this book moves that hurdle right down to the ground. You can cook mussels at home. Fantastic.
Buy "The Family Meal". Buy it used, new, stolen, whatever. It will make you a better cook and will be something you can go to and rely on for years to come.
Next time we will be talking to a chef you may not have heard of, but who deserves more attention, about their go to cookbook. The book that's closest to their heart. See you then.