Appetizers by Shane Osborn: A cookbook review Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Appetizers by Shane Osborn

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane

Appetizers by Shane Osborn is a book that should be on the must-buy list for everyone who has a need to entertain guests with exciting, visually-appealing and flavoursome food. There are over fifty recipes that are relatively easy to recreate in a home kitchen that can serve as appetizers or larger plates.
Shane Osborn is well known to foodies as the co-owner of London's Pied a Terre restaurant which has risen through the ranks to gain two Michelin stars. Readers will love his smoked eel pate, the cepe, artichoke and fava bean salad, the flavour-packed minestrone and the wild mushroom and parsley broth (made by simmering parsley stems in butter and then chicken stock).
The book is divided into cute headings such as Nibbles, Quick & Easy, Simple & Satisfying, Posh and Basics. Each recipe within each section has a clear set of ingredients on the left side of the page followed by a detailed description on how to prepare the dish and to deal with the ingredients. A full page, clear photo accompanies each of the recipes.
Take, for example, the recipe for the cepe, artichoke and fava bean salad. The first step in the recipe is to make a mushroom and thyme vinaigrette by heating olive oil in a pan and adding mushroom, garlic, thyme and salt and then shallot. When this mixture is cooked it is taken off the heat and balsamic vinegar is added to deglaze the pan. This mixture is then whizzed in a blender with olive oil to create the vinaigrette. The trimmed artichokes are added to a pickling marinade and simmered until tender. The beans are also simmered in water until cooked and are then taken out of the outer skin. The ingredients are then cut to size and heated together before being plated and covered with the vinaigrette and some fresh salad leaves. This is a flavourful dish that also looks very attractive.
We also love a recipe for roasted Spring carrots with star anise and tarragon. The carrots are 'roasted' in a pan with butter and star anise until tender and then caramelized with some sugar before being braised in some stock and then served with torn tarragon.
We were also delighted to see one of our favourite ways of preparing lettuce being used in his recipe for braised lettuce served over pomme puree. The lettuce is braised with bacon and chicken stock and then served over potato puree which has been softened with olive oil.
Finally, the book is worth delving into for one recipe alone. The lime-marinated scallop ceviche is simple to prepare yet absolutely delicious. The key is to use the freshest possible scallops and a marinade constructed from diced cucumber, tomato, shallots, lime zest, lime juice, fish stock, sugar, herbs and olive oil. The scallop slices are 'cooked' in this marinade for a few minutes prior to serving.
A beautiful photograph by David Loftus accompanies each recipe showing how the final product should be presented. All recipes are carefully explained and within reach of competent home cooks.
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