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Yesterday's Imprint Friday introduced you to the literary side of John Donohue's Man with a Pan. Today it's all about the recipes. For more detailed information about the book, see yesterday's post.
Each of the men featured in Man with a Pan contributed at least one tried-and-true recipe from his own files. The mix of dishes included in the book runs from musician Michael Ruhlman's Roast Chicken for Two to lawyer/author Adam Bonin's Duck Breasts with Five-Spice Glaze. The bulk of the recipes, however, are family friendly and look fairly easy to put together. A few of the recipes use ingredients that may be difficult to find in a small town.
The recipes are printed in the style of the contributor. In other words, some are written out just as you might get a recipe from a friend, whereas others are more formally presented. Each recipe title is included in the table of contents, and there is no index. But as I implied yesterday, Man with a Pan is much more than cookbook; in fact the essays and stories are the true heart of the book.
The dishes that appeal to me most are the easy pastas, soups, and chili. As you might imagine, several of the men rely on their grills, and Mr. BFR will be trying some of those dishes over the summer.
My only complaint is that some of the recipes could have used a recipe editor. I understand that Donohue wanted to preserve the voice and personality of the featured men and that this is not a primarily a cookbook, but I found a few inconsistencies. The solution is to be sure to read the directions carefully before you begin to cook.
I tried two recipes that I served together: author Sean Wilsey's Fagioli all'Uccelletto and professor Henry Schenck's Broccoli Rabe. (I cheated for the bean dish and used my pressure cooker.) Both dishes were excellent and I will be making them again.
- 1 pound dry white beans, large or small
- 1 28-ounce can of peeled plum tomatoes
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed plum tomatoes
- olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
Put the beans into a stockpot. Add both cans of tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with a spoon. Bring to a boil and then turn the flame down really low, cover the pot and leave it simmering.
In a frying pan, saute the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minutes. Add half the sage leaves [I chopped them] to the pan and saute for another minute. Add the garlic and sage to the simmering stockpot with the beans and the tomatoes.
Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are soft as desired, which, depending on the size of the beans, could be twice as long. There is really no formula here--just keep checking. When they're done, they're done. [I used a pressure cooker, so my beans were done in under a half hour.]
When the beans are cooked, remove the cover, increase the heat, and reduce.
Fry the remaining sage [I left the leaves whole] in a frying pan (careful--don't burn it!) and toss this in. Serve in bowls with the freshly fried sage on top.
- Olive oil
- 2 large heads of broccoli rabe, washed and diced [I used a rough chop instead]
- 1 head of garlic, chopped
- Lemon juice and salt to taste [I also used pepper]
Add salt and lemon juice to taste.