Every time I open Flavored Vinegars, I get hungry.
Even all these years later, 13 and counting, I remain very proud of this little book. When writing it for Michael Chiarello, I cooked everything in it. Michael’s food then, as now, is rooted in the rustic, traditional Italian dishes he learned at his mother’s side. That kind of food never goes out of fashion.
And somehow the dishes still seem brand new and innovative. After being all the rage, then fading back, infused oils and vinegars show up again frequently in recipes. As do oven-drying fruits, roasting vegetables, brining meats, and slow-braised dishes. All of those are there in Flavored Vinegars and more. I still don’t see many folks smoking beans as is done in the Smoked Lentil and Shelling Bean Stew. Smoking gives the lentils a meaty character.
And some of the signature dishes created by Michael while at Tra Vigne apear not in the Tra Vigne book, but here: The simply incredible Pasta with Braised Rabbit, the succulent Braised Short Ribs of Beef, and Tra Vigne’s most requested recipe–Roasted Polenta with Mushrooms and Balsamic Sauce. Book group is coming to my house this month, maybe that is what I will make them.
This book, and its companion, Flavored Olive Oils, have been sandwiched together and reprinted as Flavored Oils and Vinegars, 100 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils and Vinegars.