Wednesday, October 21, 2009

David Ferriero's Desert Island Cookbook

Name: David Ferriero

Occupation: Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries   Archivist of the United States, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Desert Island Cookbook:
The Classic Italian Cookbook
by Marcella Hazan

Why The Classic Italian Cookbook? David explains:

An inspiring, relaxed approach to food preparation, in keeping with the Italian ethos. As she writes in the "Afterthoughts" section of her book:

What people do with food is an act that reveals how they construe the world.... What we find in the cooking of Italy is a serene relationship between man and the sources of his existence, a long-established intimacy between the human and natural orders, a harmonious fusion of man's skills and nature's gifts. The Italian comes to his table with the same open heart with which a child falls into his mother's arms, and with the same easy feeling of being in the right place. (Hazan 393)
For me good cookbooks nurture creativity and experimentation. Hazan's cookbooks do that. Her polenta with gorgonzola and fried polenta recipes lend themselves to experimentation with other ingredients. Her sauces, likewise, encourage experimentation. Among my favorite recipes: chicken livers with sage, roast chicken with rosemary, fennel braised in olive oil, and the pasta dishes -- cappellacci to cappelletti, tortellini to tortelloni!

Chicken Livers with Sage
(from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook)

1 1/2 lb. chicken livers
2 T. finely chopped shallots or onion
2 oz. butter
1 dozen dried sage leaves or a handful of fresh sage
6 T. dry white wine
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Examine the livers for any green spots and cut them out. Remove any bits of fat and wash the livers thoroughly in cold water. Dry well on a paper towel.

Sauté the shallots in the butter over medium heat in a frying pan. When they turn pale gold, raise the heat and add the sage leaves and chicken livers. Cook over high heat for just a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the livers lose their raw, red color. Transfer the livers to a warm dish.

Add the wine to the pan and boil briskly until it has almost completely evaporated. Scrape up and loosen any bits of cooking residue. Add any liquid the livers may have released in the dish, and allow it to evaporate.

Return the chicken livers back to the pan, turn them quickly for a few minutes over high heat, add salt and pepper, and then transfer to a warm serving dish.

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Do you think we can bribe David Ferriero with polenta, to keep him at NYPL? Thanks for this great post!