Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook
By Daniel Humm and Will Guidara

 

Let's get the major fault in this beautiful cookbook out of the way: measurements are by volume rather than by weight, which is more accurate.

I asked chef Daniel Humm about this when I interviewed him a few months ago and he said he regretted being pressured by the publisher to use volume measurements but was told they would make the book more accessible to the average cook.

Even with volume measurements, though, this book will never be that accessible to the home cook. And that's not really the point of it, anyway - it is a showcase of the food served at Humm's Michelin three-star restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, in New York, which he co-owns with Will Guidara.

And it is a gorgeous book - the photography is as beautiful as that in Michel Bras' Essential Cuisine. Humm is known for making dishes that use iterations of the main ingredient: so his rabbit fantasy with bacon and mustard has seared rabbit loin, rabbit thighs cooked with foie gras and Swiss chard leaves, ground rabbit shoulder meat and mustard greens wrapped in caul fat, rabbit sauce and seared rabbit kidneys.

A chocolate and mint dessert is a composition of chocolate mousse, chocolate caramel tuiles, crystallised mint leaves, chocolate chip cookie crumble, peppermint sorbet, spearmint sorbet, lemon mint sorbet and chocolate gel.

The recipes are not necessarily difficult but many components are needed to make one dish. The creative cook who's pressed for time can simplify things, however, by using just one or two components from a single dish and letting them stand on their own.