Kitchen Matrix is Mark Bittman’s latest book and, as always, it’s worth adding to your food library.In this unique book, Bittman takes the guesswork out of kitchen improvisation, demonstrating the galaxy of dishes that can be inspired by a single ingredient once you’ve unlocked its essential nature.
The book is a result of his five-year New York Times “Eat” column and includes formulas, recipe generators and a plethora of ideas for both single ingredients (potatoes) and full dishes (pasta primavera). “It always seemed like if you could cook one thing, you could cook five things, and if you could cook a hundred things, you could cook 5,000 things,” he says.
Vegetable soup, for example, can be made creamy, broth-y, earthy, or hearty with just a few subtle substitutions, while grilling or stir-frying asparagus produces wildly different outcomes. Salmon is served raw, poached, grilled, or as a burger. Fruits are transformed into crisps, gratins, clafoutis, and poached desserts, almost effortlessly.
Accompanied by striking photographs and brief, straightforward instructions, these thematic matrices show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in a master recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious.
Mark Bittman is one of the country’s best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with more than one millions copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen.