Marc Murphy: Season with Authority

Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy admits in Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015) that he likes salt:

Salt, in particular, is an ingredient that shines. Without it, food doesn’t taste as vibrant or as balanced. To me, this is the very first – and perhaps the most important-step in making better-tasting food. (p. 11)

In fact, in his list of essential panty items, you won’t find salt, but you will find plenty of salty things like anchovies and capers that bring umami and “pop” to his dishes. This is a home cooking recipe book by a straightforward restaurant chef who has plenty to teach any level of home cook. What you’ll find are easy-to-slightly difficult recipes with plenty of extra flavor. There is enough here to warrant taking this book to your summer holiday house to assemble an everyday dinner or a fancy feast.

Season with Authority by Marc MurphyBesides salt, Marc seems to like eggs. So, if you are fortunate enough to have a good supply of fresh, farm eggs try an appetizer of Asparagus Mimosa topped with minced egg yolks (p. 34) or Deviled Eggs with Fried Oysters (p. 41) intensified with pickled jalepeños and a roasted garlic fortified mayonnaise. In his breakfast chapter, try the luscious Arugula, Mortadella, and Taleggio Egg Sandwich (p. 69) or a Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata (p. 70) that will use up any leftover broccoli or other similar vegetable – both could double for a lunch dish. Then there is an ultimate poached egg recipe: Eggs En Meurette (p. 75) with red wine simmered mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and poached eggs. Finally, in the breakfast section, he includes the classic Croque Monsieur (p. 82) that should be on every graduating high school senior’s must know list of recipes. Who could resist the Gruyere loaded béchamel, the ham, the egg, and the crusty bread? A simple dish that underscores Marc’s use of seasoning: miss the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and good Black Forest Ham, and you miss an amazing dish.

Season with Authority includes an excellent chapter on pasta, another on seafood, and others on meats, salads, and desserts. There are classic French preparations, New England specialties and recipes from Marc’s family. Don’t miss the Plum and Black Pepper Crostata (p. 52) for the perfect rustic tart finish to any meal. Marc doesn’t miss a beat – adding a savory seasoning like pepper to a sweet dessert is seasoning with authority.

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