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Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio

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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    2001 James Beard Award Winner

  • Eat Your Books

    2001 James Beard Award Winner

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Polenta gratin with mushroom "Bolognese"

    • fprincess on April 07, 2012

      This recipe takes a while and the result was just average. I served the gratin with grilled ribeye steaks. Picture on eGullet: http://egullet.org/p1872066

  • Duck confit

    • wodtke on March 30, 2014

      Long been my standard confit recipe, never fails. Colicchio says that to use the confit legs, brown them skin side down, turn over, place in 300 degree oven until heated, about 15 minutes.

  • Root vegetable soup with apples and duck ham

    • fprincess on April 14, 2011

      A good hearty soup. Very nice garnish with the green apple and the duck proscuitto.

    • fprincess on January 12, 2012

      Made again for Christmas. Everyone loved it! eGullet post with a picture: http://egullet.org/p1860957

  • Roasted duck, root vegetables, and apples

    • fprincess on March 23, 2011

      This is wonderful and quite straightforward to make. The root vegetables and crisp tart apples go very well with the seared duck breast. It's rustic and refined at the same time.

  • Orecchiette with artichokes, cabbage, and cranberry beans

    • fprincess on March 30, 2011

      I found that dish very satisfying but it was involved, requiring braised artichokes prepared separately and beans that took about 2 hours to cook. Not sure if I would make this again but it was very good! I used black kale instead of cabbage and cannellini instead of cranberry beans.

  • Summer vegetable ragout

    • fprincess on April 24, 2011

      This recipe is great because it is simple and most of the prep can be done in advance. At the last minute, you just reheat the vegetables in the light butter sauce. I made it with carrots, sugar snap peas, and bok choy.

  • Artichokes braised in olive oil and white wine

    • fprincess on November 07, 2010

      Good building block for several recipes in the book.

  • Caramelized tomato tarts

    • Barb_N on September 07, 2016

      I had technical difficulties with two components- the caramel turned to rock as soon as it hit the ramekin and stayed behind when the tarts were out of the ramekins. Secondly, the onion confit never dried out and once the tarts were plated, left a watery moat around each tart- not appetizing. The recipe also assumes much cooking expertise and gives minimal guidance- e.g. 1- 1 1/2 c onion confit, place a tomato half in each ramekin and top with onion confit. By the time I filled the ramekins, so the puff pastry had something to sit on, I had about 3 times too much onion for the poor little tomato. I plan to try this again, learning from these glitches and hopefully can replicate the tasty dish I had on vacation.

  • Duck rillettes

    • twoyolks on December 27, 2016

      This was inedibly salty.

  • Eggplant caviar

    • fprincess on November 28, 2010

      I tried it without the mushrooms and it was very nice. I thought that the roasted bell peppers & garlic were a nice touch.

  • Corn chowder

    • twoyolks on May 18, 2016

      This was pretty good but was too heavy on the potatoes without enough corn for a corn chowder. Also, the bacon flavor got lost and would have been very complimentary.

  • Zucchini with lemon thyme

    • aeader on August 17, 2014

      Very quick and easy dish, and the flavors of the lemon and thyme do make it a nice change from my regular sauteed zucchini. I rarely have lemon thyme but regular thyme was delicious also. If you have larger zucchini, you may want to add less (or no) water. The second time I made this I used larger ones and they gave off a lot of liquid, which made the water unnecessary.

    • fprincess on April 11, 2011

      This is a little basic but it works and is fast & tasty

  • Pan-roasted zucchini

    • fprincess on June 24, 2011

      Simple recipe. A little involved due to the need to cook the zucchini in a single layer. I added herbes de provence.

    • twoyolks on August 20, 2018

      Really nice way to simply cook zucchini. The recipe doesn't say how thin to slice the zucchini but I cut them about 1/4" and that worked well.

  • Honey-glazed onions

    • Barb_N on March 19, 2017

      I have made this as written and adapted it to sliced onions. Whether you are making it for visual effect or to eat, it's a great recipe.

  • Braised lamb shanks with roasted tomato

    • Barb_N on March 21, 2017

      Craving a last braise of the season, I chose this recipe. Pretty classic although I balked at the addition of fresh tarragon. I didn't want to take the chance on ruining the flavor. I did not strain out the veggies, in fact more than doubled them and tossed a rinsed can of cannelini beans into the pot for the last few minutes.

  • Braised red snapper

    • fprincess on March 18, 2011

      This recipe packs a ton of flavor. It's a simple & delicious way to prepare fish. I made it with gold spot sand bass.

  • Onion confit

    • fprincess on November 24, 2010

      It's very to make and is quite versatile. Can be used in sandwiches, as a pizza topping, for quiche, etc.

    • Barb_N on September 07, 2016

      When I first made this recipe I bookmarked it as "favorite recipe'. I think I omitted the chicken stock. I made it again over Labor Day to use as a component of the Roasted Tomato Tarts, which I had eaten in a restaurant out West and wanted to recreate. Unfortunately, the stock never cooked off, even after more than an hour by which time the onions were turning to mush and not browned at all. I drained a good bit of stock out but the onions still didn't work in the tart recipe.

  • Brussels sprouts with bacon

    • twoyolks on January 18, 2016

      This is a bit fussy but makes very good Brussels sprouts without having them become too cabbagey. I'd use very large Brussels sprouts for this as it takes a while to separate the leaves on small ones. Additionally, while it wasn't specified in the recipe, I cut the Brussels sprouts in half before coring them.

  • Roasted tomatoes and garlic

    • Barb_N on September 07, 2016

      A basic technique/recipe- good to have up your sleeve to preserve those last (or less than perfect) tomatoes of summer. Great in any of this book's recipes, can keep in freezer for use in soups, pasta sauce etc during the long dark tomato-less months.

  • Pan-roasted sirloin

    • Barb_N on March 19, 2017

      A basic pan roasted steak, although I do not like the butter sauce.

  • Pan-roasted spring onions

    • fprincess on February 03, 2011

      Very easy recipe - less than 10 min start to finish. I used it to prepare green onions from my CSA box.

  • Fettucine with lobster and peas

    • fprincess on January 18, 2012

      I had some issues with the recipe. I had a 2 lb lobster instead of 1.5 lb so I increased the cooking time (7 min for the body, 10 for the claws) by a couple of minutes. The lobster was overcooked. The sauce never got thick enough. I used purchased stock, maybe it did not reduce enough? The recipe was not clear about what to do with the beurre fondue in the end (keep it with the sauce or discard it?). After much hesitatation, I decided to keep it which was a silly mistake as it just turned my sauce to soup. In the end, the sauce was liquid and did not cling to the pasta (I used homemade cavatelli). I would need to try this again and prepare the sauce correctly this time.

  • Pan-roasted asparagus

    • fprincess on February 02, 2011

      Dead simple and super tasty! I added some fleur de sel right before serving.

  • Roasted potatoes, leeks, and bacon

    • fprincess on April 01, 2011

      Everything tastes better with bacon! This is delicious and simple. Great recipe.

    • fprincess on August 14, 2012

      Made again, still love it. Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/5867-dinner/page__st__28380__p__1886899#entry1886899

    • twoyolks on January 18, 2016

      The potatoes were good but they didn't get particularly crisp so we're missing out on that flavor. I did, however, really like the addition of leeks.

  • Braised short ribs

    • jcl on February 12, 2014

      Amazing short ribs, so much flavor.

  • Braised beef cheeks

    • fprincess on September 10, 2018

      I adapted for the pressure cooker (50 minutes with natural release). An excellent start; next time I will cook 10-15 min more to get more of that melting texture that is so wonderful! Also the sauce needs to be reduced further, it's a little thin. Beef cheeks from Alpine meats that required some trimming. Picture here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/155098-instant-pot-multi-function-cooker-part-5/?do=findComment&comment=2169826

    • Totallywired on October 16, 2018

      Yields perfectly tender cheeks and rich sauce, perhaps a little chunky, but it can be thinned or skimmed depending on preference. Disregard instruction to cook uncovered - I’ve done that before and it leads to scorched sauce and dry/burnt cheeks. Served with celery root purée.

  • Pan-roasted mushrooms

    • twoyolks on November 29, 2016

      Just a good recipe for simply cooked mushrooms.

    • bgood on December 22, 2010

      Great for any recipe that asks for mushrooms that need to be dry. Elevates buttons or creminis

  • Diced potato-leek soup

    • Bloominanglophile on March 08, 2014

      This is a nice, filling variation of the standard potato-leek soup recipe. Chef Colicchio instructs you to add the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time--not sure why. I just poured the whole amount in at once. Although this is supposed to be a diced potato soup, I took out 1/2-2/3rds of the potatoes after they were soft, pureed the rest, and then added them back in (before adding the butter and chives). Made for a nicer looking soup IMO. I served this with pretzels from the bakery and a German Octoberfest beer. Would ideally have served a green salad alongside, but it was Friday and I let it slide!

  • Quick-braised striped bass with artichokes and zucchini

    • fprincess on November 07, 2010

      Tasty. I had a hard time keep the skin crisp in the broth. The fish should rest above the liquid otherwise the skin gets soggy instantly.

  • Roasted sea scallops with mushrooms

    • lorloff on July 01, 2017

      I was looking for a scallop recipe and in searching EYB I discovered that the next page after my absolutely favorite mushroom dish was this scallop dish that used the mushrooms recipe. It's a perfect match. I too struggled with getting a sear on the scallops. Will make again, highly recommended.

    • fprincess on August 14, 2012

      Instead of mushroooms I served the (pan) roasted sea scallops with his potatoes, leek and bacon recipe (from the same book). This is a simple recipe. The most challenging part is getting a nice sear on the scallops (don't overcrowd the pan!). Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/5867-dinner/page__st__28380__p__1886899#entry1886899

    • twoyolks on March 08, 2018

      I had no issues with getting a good sear on the scallops but I used a large pan. I liked the combination of the scallops and mushrooms a lot.

  • Roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant lasagne

    • twoyolks on September 07, 2015

      Unfortunately, the zucchini and eggplant isn't cooked enough in the recipe to really form a coherent lasanga. It was closer to zucchini and eggplant with some pasta.

  • Roasted chicken

    • fprincess on January 16, 2012

      This turned out very well. He fries the chicken before roasting it in the same skillet.

    • fprincess on January 24, 2012

      Here's a picture... http://flic.kr/p/bhZ4xc. I sprinkled some herbes the Provence on the chicken.

  • Pan-roasted striped bass

    • adrienneyoung on November 03, 2013

      Ditto. Pan roasted atlantic halibut fillets with brown butter. Worthy. Keeper.

    • westminstr on November 06, 2017

      Note to self: try the cast-iron skillet on this one to avoid the skin sticking.

    • fprincess on April 01, 2011

      Simple but delicious. Pan roasted fish with a thyme brown butter.

    • fprincess on March 23, 2012

      Made this recipe again with local corvina seabass and served it with roasted cauliflower. Really good. Picture here: http://egullet.org/p1869874

    • Gio on May 18, 2016

      Pg. 39 This continues to be our go-to recipe for a delicious pan-roasted firm fish fillet after 5 years.

  • Baked free-form "ravioli" with asparagus, ramps and morels

    • ksg518 on April 30, 2017

      This was delicious but really, really not worth the effort. Starting from scratch it took two of us about three hours to make, although that includes the hour for the pasta dough to chill. The ragout was great but the stick and half of butter put it in the indulgence column. The real problem with the recipe is the number of dishes you need to use. We used three saucepans and one large pot. It was only one pot because I realized we could cook the asparagus in the same water we used for the pasta sheets. And you also need an oven proof dish for baking the ravioli. I don't mind getting dishes dirty but this set some sort of record.

  • Pan-fried zucchini blossoms

    • fprincess on May 16, 2011

      Simple and delicious. Make sure to get rid of the excess flour and egg before cooking,.

  • Puree of onion soup

    • fprincess on December 23, 2010

      Easy to make with basic ingredients. Very flavorful.

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  • ISBN 10 0609604856
  • ISBN 13 9780609604854
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Mar 01 2001
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Random House USA Inc
  • Imprint Crown Publications

Publishers Text

With this book, Tom Colicchio, Chef at Craft and Gramercy Tavern, has set out not to record a restaurant menu but to entice you with the building blocks that are a cook's secrets.


He starts with techniques - what is roasting, for example, and do you do it in an oven or on top of the stove He also gets you comfortable with braising, sauteing, and making stocks and sauces. Next, he discusses useful ingredients - tomatoes for instance - and how to use them in a variety of ways. In a section called Trilogies, he takes three ingredients and puts them together to make one dish that's quick and then another that's a bit more complicated. In the final part of the book, Tom offers simple recipes for components that can be used in countless combinations.


Written in Tom Colicchio's own warm and friendly voice, and illustrated with appealing, step-by-step photographs and glorious pictures of finished dishes, this book brings out the master chef in all of us.



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