Nik Sharma is an auto-buy author for me. I think he is one of the most interesting people writing about food today. Veg-table is more contained, and a little less daunting than The Flavor Bible, but it isn’t less exciting. If you are new to Nik Sharma, this is a great place to start.
To clarify, Veg-table: Recipes, Techniques and Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals is not a vegetarian or vegan cookbook. Some of the recipes do have meat and dairy, and some do not. Vegetables are the star and Sharma has divided them by family. He gives us a lot of great information about veggies, the science and history as well as how to store them and use them. Veg-table is lighter on Sharma’s other love, science, but there’s still plenty to geek out to. And as I have come to expect, the photography is lush.
I’ve made a few of the dishes, though not as many as I would like because it is too hot to do much cooking right now. But everything I made was fantastic. I made the Corn Cakes with Sichuan Chive Butter, and served them with smoked salmon and an arugula salad. I can’t eat dairy, so I made the spicy compound butter with Earth Balance and it worked fine. The Saffron Lemon Confit with Alliums + Tomatoes made my house smell amazing and as soon as it isn’t a million degrees Fahrenheit I’m going to make it again. The Guajillo Chilli Salsa that he pairs with roasted sweet potatoes is a keeper in my house. It’s spicy enough to make me happy and mild enough for my housemate. It’s great on everything.
The one thing I don’t like, and it’s definitely not a deal breaker, is the way he incorporates the ingredient list into the recipe. I understand why he’s doing it, but for the way that I, personally, process information, it’s a struggle. I like that ingredients are bolded in the recipe, but not having a separate ingredient list makes planning a chore for me. Obviously, this is not a deal breaker, but if you are like me, you will need to write out the ingredients list separately.
It’s out in October and will be a late birthday present to myself.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Chronicle Books and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.