Despite the wealth of cooking resources on the Internet, which I use constantly, I still love my cookbooks. I'm really fussy about them, so buying one for me can be risky.
My husband really scored with the one he just bought me for my birthday. Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat is a real cook's cookbook. What I mean by that is that it is for creative cooks who consider recipes ideas that they can mess around with, and who want to take their flair for cooking to the next level.
Many Chez Panisse alumni have written cookbooks. Samin has written one that is both wonderful and different. There are delightful and humorous illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton. Samin's recipes are clearly ideas that she expects you to mess around with. I've been having a blast trying them out, and I've owned the book for around a week.
"Master herb salsa--it'll only take one attempt, that's how easy it is--and soon you'll find a hundred sauces up your sleeve," writes the author. I made my first batch using the formula below with parsley and basil, and the second one with parsley, thyme & rosemary. We've tossed some into brown rice, a pasta dish that came out a little less exciting than I'd hoped, a pot of cooked beans, leftover chicken, and I can't remember what else.
So here's the FORMULA:
1. Finely chop one medium shallot, place in a small bowl and cover with 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes to macerate.
2. In another small bowl or small mason jar, combine 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley and other herbs of choice. Add a generous pinch of salt, and cover with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
3. When ready to serve, use a small strainer or slotted spoon to add the shallots but not the vinegar to the herb oil mixture. Stir (or shake if you have it in a jar with a cover) and add salt or vinegar to taste. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for a few days.
You can also make it your own by adding red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper, 3 T. chopped, 1 T chopped celery, a couple of tablespoons of chopped pistachios, 1/4 t. lemon zest, or a finely minced garlic clove. Or whatever! Experiment! Have fun! Create deliciousness!