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!
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Most of these recipes use fairly simple fresh ingredients and are surprisingly easy to make. Most important, the results taste delicious!
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 of the 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.
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.
Chef Barbara Lynch grew up in tough circumstances in South Boston and discovered her passion for cooking by accident during a high school home economics class. In addition to being a top Boston chef, she's an inspirational example of how hard work, determination, and continual learning can get you where you want to go - or as she's often quoted as saying, "Fake it until you make it."
As chef/owner of Menton (winner of a coveted Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux award), No. 9 Park, Sportello, and other Boston restaurants, Chef Lynch has more than "made it."
Most of Stir's recipes involve simple ingredients and easy cooking techniques - but combined in ways that you'd never come up with yourself.
All of the recipes are foolproof, meaning you can make them for the first time for dinner guests without risking embarrassment.
Beyond the recipes, two things make this cookbook a standout: Barbara Lynch's generosity in sharing her "secret" tips and methods behind her recipes (in fact, they're easy only because of her tips), and the absolutely gorgeous photos that show you how to serve the food just like a fancy restaurant would.
Favorites: Pasta Fagioli with Shrimp Polpettini (tiny shrimp "meatballs"), all of the Brioche Pizzas (for these recipes alone you have to get this cookbook!), Bibb Lettuce Salad with Cheese Crisps and Creamy Parmesan Dressing, the Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage and Cannelloni Beans, Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Mushrooms, the Vanilla Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce - and lots more!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.