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
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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