The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine
An old proverb states that to taste right a fish should swim three times: in water, in butter, and in wine. This cookbook, a companion to the public television series, shows how not only fish but also meats, pastas, vegetables, soups, and cheeses can benefit from a vinous immersion.
Some of the dishes described here traditionally have contained wine -- coq au vin, coquilles St. Jacques, paella. Others reveal more creativity, such as vegetable and champagne soup or pudding made with port instead of milk. Still others, like lamb chops with olive paste, require no wine at all in their preparation. Almost all of the recipes are simple and quick to prepare, and Smith presents them clearly.
Scattered throughout the book are helpful suggestions. For example, Smith advises that salting water before cooking improves eggplant but dries out meats. Additional features include hints for furnishing a kitchen (some of which, like a boiling water faucet and a second sink, are none too frugal), a glossary for the novice, and advice on buying, storing, and serving wine.
Occasionally recipes are overly simple. Why recommend story-bought mayonnaise when Smith himself tells how to prepare homemade as quickly as one can pry the lid off a jar? Why call for frozen spinach when fresh, even washed, is readily available? Despite these lapses, the book is ideal for the fledgling gourmet, and even an experienced cook will find much information and enjoyment in the recipes and essays.