Michael Field: Forgotten Recipe Master

May 27th, 2014 § 0 comments

A good cookbook usually has many pages stained by spices and sauces. That’s because it is a book that is used, not a coffee table ornament. Michael Field’s Cooking School (published in 1965) was one of the first cookbooks acquired by HG/BSK and the duo has consulted it numerous times for better than 40 years. Michael Field’s recipes are foolproof. In the introduction to the book, Field makes it clear: “I cannot emphasize enough the need to follow these recipes precisely, especially the first few times you make them. Departures are all good and well providing you know exactly what it is you are departing from.” Last night, HG/BSK had two Colorado pals for dinner. BSK prepared a Field classic: Broiled Leg Of Lamb With Avgolemono Sauce. The leg is butterflied and marinated before broiling. The sauce is Greek in origin, lemony and invigorating, excellent over the lamb and even better over the steamed asparagus BSK served. The sauce is composed of egg yolks, lemon juice and chicken broth (plus a bit of arrowroot, cayenne and salt). Add more chicken broth and you’ve got a delicious soup (HG often had many bowls at the Pantheon Restaurant on Eighth Avenue in New York). Add rice, poached chicken and chopped parsley and you’ve a got a sumptuous dinner (precede it with a mezze of feta cheese, Kalamata olives and giant lima beans). Instead of chicken in the soup, try poached cod or other firm fleshed fish. Don’t see Avgolemono on many menus these days. A pity. As for Michael Field, he and his cookbooks seem to be forgotten. That’s a shame.

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