All About Roasting

“There is no single path to perfect roasting.” So says Molly Stevens, classically trained chef and author of All About Roasting. And she’s not far off. Like baking, roasting is a technique embedded by time and tradition with just enough “je ne sais quoi” to elude exact quantification. So rather than trying to pin its many variables down to an exact science, Stevens treats roasting like “a process, a conversation between you the cook, the oven heat, and the food you’re roasting.” And All About Roasting, her compendium guide to all things roast-related, provides the tools, techniques, and traditions you’ll need to begin—or elevate—the roasting conversation. Before delving into specifics, Stevens provides some of the history and basic chemistry of roasting, culled from the likes of James Beard and Harold McGee. Dishes are qualified by method (e.g. “combination sear and moderate heat”), planning (“the apricots need to soak for 4 to 8 hours”), and wine pairings from M. S. Tim Gaiser (who recommends a “Nebbiolo-based red” for Stevens’ Oven-Roasted Porchetta). And recipes span the gamut, in skill and cuisine type, with several recipes per protein (or fruit or vegetable)—meaning an experienced chef can work on the nuance of his or her technique while newbies delve into the delicious basics.