How to Create a Taste of Boston in Your Own Kitchen
Boston's many talented chefs delight diners in their restaurants.
If you visit Boston and have the chance to dine in Sarma, Flour, Summer Shack, No. 9 Park, Union Oyster House, Menton, or any of our other wonderful restaurants, you'll know how special the food is here in Boston.
Our best chefs prepare fresh New England ingredients in ways that reflect strands of our local heritage, particularly French, Mediterranean, Italian, as well as many more cuisines.
Thanks to these cookbooks by Boston chefs, you can create a taste of their culinary magic at home.
In these special cookbooks, our most famous Boston chefs share their favorite recipes and cooking tips for making their famous dishes. In fact, these cookbooks by the city's top gourmet chefs will enable you to create a taste of Boston at home, and you'll be surprised by how easy it is!
We provide links below to Amazon in case you want to purchase these cookbooks; please note that as an Amazon Associate, Boston Discovery Guide earns from qualifying purchases.
Most of these recipes use fairly simple fresh ingredients and are surprisingly easy to make. Most important, the results taste delicious!
Top photo: Boston Chef Joanne Chang's "Make Life Sweeter - Eat Dessert First" famous slogan in Flour's South End location
Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbeque Wisdom
By Andy Husbands and Chris Hart
If you've experienced the succulent BBQ at Andy Husband's Smoke Shop restaurants in Boston and Cambridge, you know how addictive it is: the perfect mix of sweet, salty, spicy, and meaty.
Now you can try recreating the magic at home. Pitmaster takes you through how to build the perfect fire, the best smokers, different regional barbeque styles, and how to make all your favorites: baby back ribs, different rubs, pulled pork, brisket, and lots, lots more, plus cornbread, sides, sauces, and desserts.
Must try: Pulled pork, beef bbq, cornbread with butter, honey, and sea salt, spicy collards
North End Italian Cookbook
By Marguerite DiMino Buonopane
North End Italian Cookbook is a must if you're a fan of Boston's mouth-watering Italian restaurants, especially those in the North End neighborhood where Italian immigrants settled over 100 years ago.
Written by a life-long North End resident, former restaurant chef-owner known for her delicious cuisine, and cooking teacher, this book features easy renditions of classic Italian recipes you may have enjoyed in local restaurants. From describing how to put together the perfect antipasto platter to how to make "Sunday Gravy" (everyone's favorite meat sauce) to how to make cannoli, she gives you clear instructions on how to make authentic Italian dishes.
The photos of the North End neighborhood in this attractive cookbook are a nice bonus.
Must try: Mezzaluna salad, crab cioppino, roast lamb with potatoes and peas, ricotta-stuffed calamari
By Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick
Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, chef/owners of Cambridge's Sofra Bakery and Cafe (Sortun also is chef/owner of Sarma), share 100 sweet and savory recipes highlighting Middle Eastern flavors similar to those available in their popular bakery/cafe.
Recipes range from breakfast dishes such as rolled omelets with herbs and yogurt to lamb sausage with pistachios to mouth-watering pastries.
Some dishes look intimidating - but once you read the instructions, you'll realize they're actually quite easy to make at home.
Favorites: Baked Eggs with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Savory Spinach Pies, Lentils with Chard, Tahini Shortbread Cookies.
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe
By Joanne Chang
If you've ever eaten in Joanne Chang's mini-empire of uber-popular Flour Bakeries in Boston, you already know the reason to buy this cookbook as fast as possible: her famous Sticky Buns, the pecan-studded, caramelyzed sugar-coated, light-as-air miracles of goodness that have given her bakeries an almost cult-like following.
In addition, there are almost 150 other recipes for sweet and savory baked goods, along with her tips and techniques for achieving perfection.
Favorites: Lemon Curd, Smoked Salmon and Herbed Cheese Quiche, Cranberry Orange Scones, Double-Chocolate and Orange Semifreddo, and of course the famous Sticky Buns.
Jody Adams, chef/owner of highly acclaimed Rialto Restaurant in Harvard Square uses local New England ingredients to create mouth-watering Italian dishes.
Even though a few of the dishes in In the Hands of a Chef are somewhat challenging, most are relatively easy. They do tend to require long, slow simmering or braising - which means that fabulous aromas fill the house while you do other things.
Chef Adams gives a personal explanation about how to make each item, and why you should do things a certain way. It's like having a friend who happens to be a fabulous cook describe how to make a favorite dish.
Favorites: Pot Roast of Beef with Green Peppers and Pancetta, Escarole Soup with Mushrooms and Little Meatballs, Orange Beets (make this just once and you'll never want to make them any other way), Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Roasted Pears with 5-Spice Zabaglione.
Union Oyster House Cookbook: Recipes and History from America's Oldest Restaurant
By Jean Kerr and Spencer Smith
If you've dined at the Union Oyster House during a visit to Boston, you'll want a copy of this terrific cookbook. It's the perfect souvenir, plus you'll use its recipes again and again.
In addition to containing stories about this historic Boston restaurant, open since 1826 and the oldest restaurant in the U.S., Union Oyster House Cookbook contains over 50 recipes for the restaurant's favorite dishes. The recipes are authentic, but they've been modified somewhat for home cooking.
One of the things that makes this restaurant special is that you can stop by for a meal and eat essentially the same thing that your great-grandparents might have enjoyed there. With this cookbook with recipes by 19th century Boston chefs, you can also make them at home.
Favorites: Oyster House Clam Chowder, Basque Style Steamed Mussels, the Cocktail Sauce, American Bouillabaisse, and Gingerbread.
Sultan's Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook
By Ozcan Ozan
Chef/owner Ozcan Ozan's Sultan's Kitchen Restaurant (116 State Street) in Boston's Financial District is one of Boston's best-kept culinary secrets - a real Boston insider restaurant. You can easily pass it by without realizing that the Turkish cooking inside is of top-notch quality.
Sultan's Kitchen is also one of the most comprehensive cookbooks by Boston chefs. Chef Ozan describes the key ingredients that the recipes use, and explains where to get the few not readily available in American markets. Most of the dishes are fast and simple to make, and rely on fresh veggies, meats, and fish that you can easily get anywhere.
Favorites: Sultan's Rice Pilaf, Char-Grilled Swordfish Shish Kebab, Green Peppers Stuffed with Meat and Herbs, and Almond Pudding.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
By Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
The late Julia Child was perhaps the most recognizable chef in Boston and Cambridge, thanks to her popular television show.
Of course, Julia Child's cookbooks are classics, starting with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Use it to discover French cooking techniques, re-discover the joy of butter, and prepare memorable meals. Although her recipes are easy to follow, you'll also learn a lot - including some French!
Favorites: Chicken Breasts Rolled in Parmesan and Fresh Bread Crumbs, Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallops with Wine, Garlic, and Herbs), Cheese Wafers, Spinach with Ham, Fresh Peach Tart, Caramel Custard, Orange Sponge cake.
The Figs Table: More than 100 Recipes for Pizzas, Pastas, Salads, and Desserts
By Todd English and Sally Sampson
Todd English's restaurants are know for combining ingredients in unexpected ways to create spectacular flavor combinations.
In Figs Table, Chef English shares his knowledge about how and why to do things to produce specific results - for example, how to caramelize onions to produce the deepest, most intense sweetness.
Like a lot of cookbooks by Boston chefs, Figs Table contains recipes that seem simple, but require expertise to cook well. Fortunately, Chef English explains exactly how to make them to produce spectacular results.
Favorites: Spaghetti with Hazelnuts and Green Beans, Creamy Cheddar and Spinach Polenta, Blanco Pizza, Four-Onion Risotto, and Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti.
50 Chowders: One Pot Meals - Clam, Corn, and Beyond
By Jasper White
If you've eaten at Summer Shack, Jasper White's popular Boston restaurant, you may have tasted his sumptuous New England Chowder. But who knew how many other kinds of chowder are possible - much less how to make them?
In 50 Chowders, Chef White entertains while he instructs.
You'll learn about the history chowder and its history in northeastern New England and Canada while you learn to make all the different varieties and accompaniments. His explanation about why New England cuisine has a strong French influence is especially interesting, especially considering the large number of French restaurants in Boston.
Favorites: New England Clam Chowder (naturally), Lobster and Corn Chowder, Portuguese Fish Chowder, Skillet Corn Bread (almost as good as my mom's), and Mushroom Chowder with Curry.
More to enjoy: Lobster at Home
- Chef White shows you simple ways to prepare this favorite shellfish at home for an affordable and delicious meal.
The New Legal Seafoods Cookbook
By Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer
Here in Boston, we think of Legal Seafoods as a local restaurant with several locations - and it is - but it also has sites across the U.S. Even if you haven't visited Boston, you may have dined at Legal.
Roger Berkowitz's New Legal Seafoods Cookbook explains the secret of excellent seafood: how to prepare fish in the simplest ways possible to make the flavors of the sea stand out.
You'll also find lots of other recipes. If you're hoping to find exactly the same dishes that you can order at the restaurant, you'll be disappointed because many differ in large and small ways as Legal's recipes have evolved since this cookbook was published.
However, the simplest recipes are the same, or very similar to the dishes you'll enjoy in Legal Seafoods today. And if you're not trying to replicate what you had for dinner in the restaurant, you'll find plenty to enjoy.
Favorites: Sauteed Bluefish with Chorizo and Potatoes, Asian Glazed Salmon, Tropical Salad, Seafood Casserole, and all the sauces.
Trident Booksellers and Cafe - Great selection of travel books for Boston and other locales, and wonderful food in their cafe - located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. Also, if you're visiting Boston and are interested in literary events, check the "Events" section of their website as they usually host at least 3-4 special events each week.
Cookbooks by Boston Chefs - Longing for a taste of Boston? Try these recipes from Boston's top chefs. These cookbooks also make great gifts!