Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Josh Emett's handsome new CUT strong contender for NZ cookbook of the year

Josh Emett is a very busy man. With his restaurant Rata in Queenstown and Chef Series the restaurant-quality supermarket range soon to be available across the country, another top-rating MasterChef New Zealand television series behind him and his role of food director at Ostro Restaurant which has just opened in the Seafarers building in Auckland’s Britomart, the devoted dad to two adorable little boys has more than enough on his plate.

But, amidst all of this, he’s also made time to gather together his best recipes in a stunning cookbook for the home cook who loves nothing more than to serve up a good cut of beautifully cooked meat for family and friends.

Called simply Cut, Josh’s handsome cookbook features dramatic food photography created by Kieran Scott, one of our best food photographers. Stylist, Tamara West's collection of antique french tableware and props are reminiscent of the work of 16th century Flemish still life painters. Refreshingly, in this age of point and shoot digital technology, Kieran’s returned to the old, using his 4 x 5 inch field camera and lens adapted to a digital sensor to achieve a painterly, moody result, making it a cookbook to be truly treasured.

Despite Josh’s impressive background as a chef his cookbook is imbued with a relaxed elegance which any cook will be able to achieve — whether they are heartland or urban dwellers. With the proliferation of farmer’s markets, specialty supermarket ranges, good old fashioned butchers or the enduring convenience of home kill in heartland New Zealand, quality cuts of meat have never
been more accessible.

Josh is a Michelin-starred chef, having worked in London, New York and Los Angeles and Melbourne with Gordon Ramsay, but he’s never forgotten his Waikato roots and his happy family life growing up — a life that he’s determined to replicate with his wife, Helen, and their boys. They believe in enjoying evening meals together as a family, sharing the events of their day, TV off.

It’s this farming background which has also shaped Josh’s key philosophies of zero wastage, using everything from the animal; having respect for the animal; and knowing where your food comes from.

Divided by duck, chicken, lamb, beef, quail, rabbit, pork, veal and venison the cookbook also includes a section on pies because, as we know from one of the Masterchef master classes, Josh is a huge fan of them.

In addition to information on all the cuts of meat for each animal, this book includes usage of each different cut, and recipes for using each defined cut. Plus each of those recipes contains other components such as side dishes, sauces and relishes — essential knowledge for all good home cooks

The publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce the following recipe which I am planning to use on Christmas Day.

Veal fillet with asparagus, green beans, sugar snap peas, yellow courgette & sage vinaigrette

Serves 4

This is a perfect summer dish, when all the ingredients are at their best. Tossed together with some quinoa or another grain this would make a great simple salad. Like the loin, the fillet is a very delicate cut so handle and cook gently and with care. This is an easy, quick dish to cook and once you have all the ingredients ready, you can be done in fifteen minutes.

6 x 150g veal fillets, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
sea salt
rice bran oil for cooking
8 spears asparagus, trimmed
250g green beans, trimmed
150g sugar snap peas
1 yellow courgette, thinly sliced on a mandoline
50g butter
¼ bunch sage, leaves picked
1 Tbsp classic vinaigrette (recipe below)
rocket flowers to garnish

Season the veal fillets with salt. Quickly sauté the fillets in oil in a hot pan, colouring on all sides. Rest for 3–4 minutes.
Blanch the asparagus, green beans and sugar snap peas in boiling salted water for 3 minutes.
Sauté the courgettes in a hot pan with a little oil. Remove and place in a bowl with all the other vegetables.
Place the pan back on the heat and add the butter. When it browns slightly, add the sage leaves followed by the classic vinaigrette.
Slice the veal fillets in half crossways, and arrange on plates. Place the vegetables around and dress with the sage vinaigrette. Garnish with rocket flowers.

Classic Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
50ml chardonnay vinegar
150ml olive oil
pinch salt
pinch sugar

  • CUT - Josh Emett
  • Random House NZ - Hardback - $65.00

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