With an industry wide reputation for being both a brilliant and meticulous chef, Marcus Wareing’s high standards are now also familiar to home cooks, thanks to his role as a judge on BBC Two’s MasterChef: The Professionals.
But while Marcus Wareing New Classics is about as accessible as Wareing’s recipes get – and clearly aimed at the domestic market – there’s still plenty of interesting flavour combinations and techniques to stimulate his fellow chefs.
New Classics delivers a contemporary twist on family favourites, such as roast chicken, beef bourguignon and crumble, while also asserting to create new classics, largely born out of the recipes Wareing cooks at home, including fish tacos, Thai vegetable curry and Cumberland sausage, onion and potato pie.
The opening chapter ‘From the garden’, reflects the influence of his fruit-and-vegetable merchant father and highlights the benefits of salt-baking. Rather than creating a salt crust, Wareing prefers to work with a salt dough, suggesting that it imparts more flavour to the food it encloses.
“The flour in the dough lessens the intensity of the salt, enabling more control over the seasoning,” he writes, sharing his recipes for salt-baked parsnip and horseradish crumble and salt-baked kabocha squash (a small and sweet, dry-fleshed pumpkin) with pomegranate, ricotta and mint.
‘From the farm’ features hanger (or onglet) steak. He recommends brining the steak for two hours in salt, white peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, thyme and bay leaf, before griddling it and then roasting it in the oven.
In ‘From the sea’ readers get a glimpse of young Wareing’s inspiration when he worked on the fish section at the Savoy, while the book closes with ‘From the store cupboard’ containing items that you’re likely to have in your larder (hurrah!) rather than those improbable suggestions by certain celebrity chefs.
Co-authored by Wareing’s group director of operations and chef-patron of Tredwells, Chantelle Nicholson, New Classics features photography by Jonathan Gregson, which, one could argue, is worth the price tag alone.
By Amanda Afiya
If you like this, why not try
The Skills by Monica Galetti
Marcus at Home by Marcus Wareing
Knife Skills by Marcus Wareing and Shaun Hill
Marcus Wareing New Classics By Marcus Wareing with Chantelle Nicholson (Harper Collins Publishers, £20)