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Michael Mina: The Cookbook    by Michael Mina order for
Michael Mina
by Michael Mina
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Michael Mina is a very busy man. He is chef and partner of Restaurant Michael Mina in the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco; Bellagio, Nobhill and SeaBlue in Las Vegas; and Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point, California. Plans are under way for two new restaurants in Atlantic City and Mexico City.

This, Michael Mina's first cookbook, introduces a new concept to cooking. Trio selections. He can explain it far better than I. His plan is to merge 'peak seasonal ingredients with modern cooking techniques to produce pure flavors that can be presented in an innovative fashion. Seasonal trio selections define the elevated food concept ... crafted especially for MICHAEL MINA. The trio concept highlights a primary ingredient that is accessorized with a trilogy of accompaniments: each of the three presentations offers an intricate array of taste sensations.' In non-chef terms, this means you will use three variations to accompany one main ingredient.

So, let's take for example Lobster Soup and Salad. For our first selection of the trio, we could add Mushroom Soup, Roasted Fennel and Canterelle Salad, and Lemon Crème Fraiche. Second offering, Ciopino, Heirloom Tomato Salad, and Avocado Mousse. And for the third Thai Coconut and White Corn Soup, Grilled Corn and Coconut Salad, and Red Pepper Cream. Or fix the Master Recipe for Olive Oil Poached Rack of Lamb. Enjoy Cucumber Raita with that. Also Mint Cremolata, and then Heirloom Tabbouleh. I think it is evident that Mina likes to create new and exciting dishes – he is just as enthusiastic about using seasonality in his ingredients.

This is a wonderful new cookbook with innovative recipes and glorious photographs. Mina states that, though the pairings are complex, the recipes are simple and easy to fix. Plating the recipes may be a little difficult for the home cook. Mina has had china made to his specifications for serving his trios. But we're versatile. We can overcome that. Can't we? Michael Mina: The Cookbook is a lovely volume, just in time for Christmas giving.

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