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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Avocado, beet, and citrus salad

    • rosten on September 07, 2017

      Great instructions on prepping each part of salad independently. Lots of possible variations. I was surprised at how much better this very simple salad could get using her careful instructions.

  • Mexi-slaw

    • Dannausc on March 30, 2018

      Good, easy; a nice accompaniment for tacos.

  • Asian slaw

    • Lepa on April 18, 2018

      We liked the gingery taste of this slaw but I think it would benefit from a bit of fat- maybe some sesame oil? Also, I used purple cabbage and I'm not convinced the salting was necessary or improved the taste/texture of this slaw.

  • Vietnamese cucumber salad

  • Honey-mustard vinaigrette

    • Kjohns101 on June 12, 2018

      I love this. Made with dried shallots or without shallots. Very simple but just right amount of sweet, not too sweet. Used on a shrimp chef salad with oranges. Good on butter lettuce and goat cheese salad. Keeps well for 3 to 4 days in fridge.

  • Tomato vinaigrette

    • bwhip on September 07, 2017

      Used this on a Caprese Salad last night, and it was delightful.

  • Caesar dressing

    • okcook on March 07, 2018

      This turned out really well. But, I made some modifications: I used 4 oil packed anchovy fillets; 3 T lemon juice; and 1 oz of grated Parmesan (I think there is a typo because 1 oz was about the one cup she gives as an alternate to weighing the cheese.

  • Green goddess dressing

    • Frenchfoodie on July 22, 2018

      Tasty though I found it a little acidic, next time I’d hold back on the vinegar and add only after tasting.

  • Japanese sesame seed dressing (Goma-ae)

    • Dannausc on December 27, 2017

      Good, but the tahini was a little overpowering.

  • Miso-mustard dressing

    • Laurendmck on October 22, 2018

      Really good on a slaw I made with cabbage, carrots, radishes, peppers, and garlic.

  • Cherry tomato confit

    • Laurendmck on July 23, 2018

      I made this with grape tomatoes and put it on top of small toasts with ricotta. They were quickly devoured by my dinner group!

  • Roast: butternut squash and Brussels sprouts in agrodolce

    • Lepa on January 27, 2018

      My family of squash skeptics loved this salad. I did, too. I will absolutely make this again. We ate it with coconut rice and soy-glazed salmon and it was a bright contrast to the rich, creamy rice. Like the other poster, I turned the vegetables so they would evenly brown.

    • Rutikazooty on January 13, 2018

      This is an amazing dish!! I’m not crazy about squash but this is so good. I did turn the squash and brussel sprouts over while they roasted although it didn’t say to do that in order to get browned on other side.

  • Classic egg drop soup

    • patioweather on April 22, 2018

      Couldn't be easier but everyone really enjoyed this. I don't think the cornstarch really contributed that much so it could be omitted.

  • Chunky: Tuscan bean and kale soup

    • Jane on December 31, 2017

      This is a lovely warming winter soup, a thick stew-like soup. I cooked the beans in the Instant Pot then added the cooking liquid from the beans instead of stock. I think the grated Parmesan on top is important to lift the flavor a notch.

    • ldtrieb on August 30, 2018

      Sort of followed the recipe, already cooked beans added to previously sautéed kale. Looked over the recipe and added anything that wasn't in the original recipe. Oh, and no tomatoes because I didn't have any. Amazing how the parmesan rind changed the taste in just a short simmering time. Superb!

  • Smooth: silky sweet corn soup

    • bwhip on August 06, 2017

      Very simple, extremely delicious! A family friend gave us a bunch of fresh corn, and this was a fantastic way to use a bunch of it.

  • Persian-ish rice

    • Tatiana131 on January 28, 2018

      After the initial parboiling the rice cooks uncovered in yogurt. In my case this was insufficient to finish cooking the rice as there are no instructions to cover the rice so it can steam. It came out pretty flavorless and raw.

    • Dannausc on December 27, 2017

      It did not hold together when I flipped it over and could have used a few more minutes in the pan. It still tasted really good though!

  • Tomato: pasta alla pomarola

    • ldtrieb on September 19, 2017

      I used wonderful tomatoes, they are so good this year. Froze some and made meat sauce with the rest.

  • Vegetable: pasta with broccoli and bread crumbs

    • Lepa on August 22, 2018

      I was trying to recreate a perfect bowl of pasta that I enjoyed in Italy recently so my expectations were rather high and I was probably setting myself up for disappointment. This made a good bowl of pasta, for sure, but the long-cooked broccoli didn't have the simple, sweet taste of the broccoli pasta of my dreams so I enjoyed it less than I might have under different circumstances. It was quite good with the breadcrumbs and parmesan (and anchovy) but I'm afraid I'll have to keep looking for the perfect recipe.

    • Dannausc on December 10, 2017

      Quite good.

  • Meat: pasta al ragù

    • ldtrieb on September 19, 2017

      Used up some whey I had frozen instead of milk (I did correct later after long cook down and add some regular milk) I had ground pork and ground up some leftover tri tip for the beef. It was lovely, more in the freezer for later.

    • Tatiana131 on January 28, 2018

      Fabulously rich and complex sauce, made the house smell so good that my non-pork eating guests asked if they could have some. Comes together very easily, and is incredibly flavorful and rewarding.

  • Slow-roasted salmon

    • mondraussie on October 25, 2018

      Pay attention - cooking time depends on the thickness of your salmon. Definitely check after 25-30 mins.

    • rosten on January 16, 2018

      Very good, incredibly simple. Would have been better if I pulled it out of the oven a little sooner. So, would recommend checking after 30 minutes or so. . .

  • Crispiest spatchcocked chicken

    • Dannausc on December 27, 2017

      Super crispy; quite good

  • Finger-lickin' pan-fried chicken

    • Tatiana131 on January 28, 2018

      I usually omit parmesan for ease of prep. The key is seasoning (salting) all toppings really well - the flour and the bread crumbs. Frying takes about 2X as long as indicated, but that may be because I'm a lazy chicken pounder. I usually only use about 3-4 tbsp of ghee, and it's enough. Excellent tender, flavorful chicken that has none of dryness or stringiness common to chicken breasts.

  • Chicken and garlic soup

    • Dannausc on March 30, 2018

      Pretty decent. I liked it better than my wife did.

  • Chicken with vinegar (Poulet au vinaigre)

  • Glazed five-spice chicken

    • stockholm28 on June 09, 2018

      This requires an overnight marinade. Other than that, this is a very flavorful dish that requires little effort. I cut the recipe in half and just cooked 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

    • Barb_N on June 12, 2018

      This is an amazing marinade that spins straw into gold while cooking. Next time I will bake in a larger dish as there were too many pan juices (which I normally would relish) for the pieces to really get sticky.

    • bwhip on July 08, 2017

      Delicious! I cut up a whole chicken for it, and made my own five-spice, as my grocery store was lacking. Marinade/Glaze was really tasty. I served it with the recommended Jasmine Rice and Vietnamese Cucumber Salad from the same cookbook. Excellent, flavorful combination.

  • Buttermilk-marinated roast chicken

    • BasicStock on December 08, 2018

      This is going to be the way I roast chicken from now on. Moist and slightly elusively tangy. Makes me want to tackle more of Samin's recipes.

    • raybun on September 17, 2017

      I know it's not much of a recipe but the method is excellent! The chicken is SO moist after its salt rub and 24 hr buttermilk marinade. That varnished mahogany look is not from a strange photo filter, it really looked like this! (Photo)

    • Tatiana131 on January 28, 2018

      Fabulous recipe, amazingly tender and well seasoned chicken. Rivals our house recipe of roast chicken with lemons and garlic.

    • bwhip on November 23, 2017

      So simple, yet so great. Perfectly moist and flavorful chicken.

  • Sicilian chicken salad

    • bwhip on July 03, 2017

      Very tasty. A really nice blend of textures and flavors, with the creaminess of the aioli offset by the acid of the lemon juice and macerated onions, along with a little sweetness from the currants.

  • Pork braised with chilies

    • averythingcooks on September 04, 2017

      We really enjoyed this shredded pork / sauce combo in tacos. I used a mix of ancho, Anaheim and cascabel dried chilies and added chipotle as asuggested. After pureeing the sauce , I tried passing some through the sieve but didn't seem to "catch" much so skipped that step for the rest of the sauce. Of course I did peel the garlic even though she "said" I didn't have to :) I did thin it a bit with beef broth before adding it back to the shredded pork. Toppings included grilled corn cut off the cob, chopped lettuce, shredded cheese AND the lime crema / quick picked red onions from Dinner CTG. Those last 2 were a delicious complement to the smoky, spicy pork.

    • Tatiana131 on January 28, 2018

      I think I used too much chipotle, less is more here. The sauce was complex and tasty, but not as enchanting as I'd hoped. It needed a lot of bright flavors of lime, sour cream, cheese to pick it up. I'd repeat it with some tweaks.

    • jzanger on December 11, 2017

      This tastes incredible and is dead simple to prepare. I made this on Thanksgiving day and we ate it the next night which I think gave the liquid time to reabsorb back into the pork. The resulting sauce was intense and complex without being spicy and all the beer added such a wonderful acidity to something that has the potential to be incredibly rich. I will absolutely make this again.

    • Dannausc on March 30, 2018

      I used beef broth in place of the beer. It turned out really good. Definitely deserves a repeat. Made for fantastic tacos.

  • Turkish köfte

    • Dannausc on December 27, 2017

      So good!

  • Mexican-ish herb salsa

    • Dannausc on March 30, 2018

      Good easy; a nice accompaniment for tacos.

    • amandabeck on January 15, 2018

      Delicious! I used pickled jalapenos because it is impossible to get fresh ones where I live-- still turned out wonderful! Added some chopped cabbage as well for a nice crunch. Would have doubled or tripled the recipe if I knew it was going to be so delicious.

  • Herbed yogurt

    • Dannausc on December 27, 2017

      It was missing a little something/needed some acid, so I sprinkled in some sumac which did the trick.

  • Lori's chocolate midnight cake

    • bwhip on July 03, 2017

      Excellent cake. Great chocolate flavor, and a nice, light crumb from the oil. The vanilla whipped cream was the perfect light counterbalance. Recipe calls for hot water or coffee, we used coffee as I've always found it's great for chocolate cake flavor.

  • Almond and cardamom tea cake

    • ldtrieb on September 19, 2017

      Was afraid it would be too sweet, reduced the sugar by 1/3 and almond paste from 9 oz to 7 oz. Ground my own cardamom and increased it slightly as I found a little more than the recipe called for. It came out very light, with subtle taste of cardamom and slightly crunchy almonds on top. I would definitely make this again.

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Reviews about this book

  • Stonesoup

    Always good to revisit the basics and Samin is an excellent guide. So much to learn! There aren’t any photos though so if you like your images this might not be the best book for you.

    Full review
  • The Kitchn

    ...an in-the-know show's originating text, full of wise advice for learning the intuitive elements of cooking.

    Full review
  • The Kitchn by Faith Durand

    This award-winning cookbook is becoming a must-watch new Netflix show.

    Full review
  • Food52

    Nosrat takes on a completely different mission, which is, in the span of one volume, to provide a universal culinary education.

    Full review
  • Food52

    Samin offers a simple, straightforward, often funny, totally complete education in food and cooking. She presents these lessons in a manner that is easy to digest...

    Full review
  • Eat the Love

    Samin’s book not only breaks down the mystique of cooking food, but also shows you that you can make fantastic food from some of the most basic ingredients.

    Full review
  • Simply Recipes

    ...is edifying and engaging—you have a cooking teacher in the room with you who goes deep into the details. And as we all know, that’s where the devil resides, especially in cooking.

    Full review
  • Food52

    What Food52 members are saying about this book.

    Full review
  • Food52

    Picked for Food52's September 2017 Cookbook Club.

    Full review
  • Joy the Baker

    Simplicity and knowledge and beautiful drawings. This book is approachable and inspiring and lays a strong, strong foundation.

    Full review
  • Food52

    ...we’re really excited about the book...it’s full of ...I can’t believe I never thought of that tips...it prioritizes a love of learning as much as a love of cooking.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 1782112308
  • ISBN 13 9781782112303
  • Published Aug 29 2017
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 480
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher Canongate Books Ltd

Publishers Text

While cooking at Chez Panisse at the start of her career, Samin Nosrat noticed that amid the chaos of the kitchen there were four key principles that her fellow chefs would always fall back on to make their food better: Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat. By mastering these four variables, Samin found the confidence to trust her instincts in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients. And with her simple but revolutionary method, she has taught masterclasses to give both professionals and amateurs the skills to cook instinctively. Whether you want to balance your vinaigrette, perfectly caramelise your roasted vegetables or braise meltingly tender stews, Samin's canon of 100 essential recipes and their dozens of variations will teach you how.

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