Michael's Genuinely Killer Cookbook (from chef Michael Schwartz)

Michael Schwartz's genuine food has made him one of South Florida's most acclaimed chefs.   At a time when foams and gels and airs and kitchens outfitted with the kind of equipment better suited to a science lab than a place to cook have been lavished with more hype than the Super Bowl, the chef-owner of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and now the Cayman Islands has made his considerable (and national) reputation by taking the best ingredients he can find, locally as much as possible, and tweaking them just enough so their whole is greater than the sum of their parts. 

If you've drooled over the massively succulent slow-roasted pork shoulder or Moroccan-inspired onions stuffed with ground lamb and apricots or crackling crisp polenta fries with house-made catsup at his Design District restaurant, but despair at making the long drive to Miami, well, now you're in luck. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Schwartz's first cookbook, dubbed, fittingly

enough, Michael's Genuine Food, will be released, and having had an

advance copy for a little over a week now, if you're one of the folks

targeted in the book's subtitle--"Down to earth cooking for people who

love to eat"--then you'll snap up a copy and want to cook your way from

front to back without skipping a single page. 

The beauty of

Schwartz's recipes is the beauty of his cooking itself: get the best

possible ingredients, combine them with creativity leavened with

restraint and common sense, prepare them carefully and serve them

simply. Unlike in many chef's cookbooks, his dishes don't require a

brigade of prep cooks or restaurant-quality kitchen or a week's vacation

to execute. 

The first couple days I had the book I made one of

his pizzas, a simple but sophisticated pie with manchego cheese,

garlicky sautéed escarole, fresh shrimp and Spanish chorizo. Even making

the pizza dough, it was relatively quick, easy and wickedly tasty,

playing the buttery cheese against the slightly bitter, garlicky

escarole against the sweet-briny shrimp against the smoky-pungent


There's a lot more I have yet to try, from garlic,

cheese and herbed breadsticks made with twisted pizza dough to sweet and

spicy pork belly with kimchi and crushed peanuts to

honey-soy-Dijon-marinated cod with potato-parsnip puree. And that's not

the half of it. 

If you want to pre-order a copy on Amazon or get one after it's released, go here. It will cost you about 20 bucks but the pleasure you'll get from cooking out of it is priceless.

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Bill Citara