Food & Wine
“In his new cookbook, Italian Grill, the star chef steps up to the grate with amazing recipes that express his extroverted approach to flavor.”
…shows the big man in good form…and displays some of the wonderful lunacy that shows up on the best of his menus and in televised "Iron Chef" competitions…Unless you received a rotisserie attachment for your birthday, there's probably too much in the way of spit-roasting over live fire. But most everything is adaptable to a plain-Jane grill, and the flavors are worth the improvisation.
The New York Times
Chef Batali's latest cookbook, written with LJ's Cookery columnist, Sutton, covers antipasti to vegetables, stopping at pizza, fish, poultry, and meats along the way. There is also a nice section at the beginning covering Italian wines and grilling info and featuring a glossary of ingredients and techniques. Many of the recipes, including pizzas, flatbreads, shellfish, and vegetables, are grilled on a piastra, which is a metal griddle or piece of granite heated directly on the grill. This allows many foods not normally suited for the grill to be included. Rotisseries are also used for some larger cuts of meat, like fresh ham and turkey breast. Recipes are not complicated, and spices and seasonings ensure big flavors. The usually fast process of grilling also adds to the appeal. Illustrations include close-ups of beautifully prepared food. A list of sources for hard-to-find ingredients and a thorough index round out the book. With Batali's following, this will be in demand; for public libraries with cookery collections.
“Mario Batali is a madman/hero. Is there nothing he’s not good at? Great chef, successful restaurateur, an author, an intellectual, host of a ridiculously informative and much-too-good-for-television TV show, afficianado of fine rock and roll, and a man of Falstaffian appetites.”
Read an Excerpt
Schiacciata with Prosciutto and Melon
Serves 6 as an antipasto
Pizza Dough (page 66)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
1 small or ½ large ripe cantaloupe, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Put a piastra (see page 9) on the grill to preheat.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece out to a rectangular shape about 12 inches long, 6 to 7 inches wide, and ¼ inch thick.
Carefully place one rectangle on the piastra (or cook both breads at the same time if your piastra is big enough) and cook for just 30 seconds. Carefully turn over and cook until the bottom is light golden brown and dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board (with the less cooked side up), and repeat with the second piece of dough.
Brush the top of each bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Divide the prosciutto between the breads, covering as much of the bread as possible. Using a large spatula, carefully place one of the breads (or both if you have room) on the piastra, cover with a large upside-down roasting pan, and cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom is a deep golden brown and the top has cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the second bread.
Allow the schiacciate to rest for 2 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges, place on plates, and set a wedge of melon alongside each one.
Piadina withTaleggio, Coppa, and Apples
Makes 12 piadine
Piadina Dough (page 80)
2 Granny Smith apples
1 pound ripe Taleggio, at room temperature
8 ounces thinly sliced coppa
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Place a piastra (see page 9) on the grill to preheat.
Cut the dough into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each piece into a 6-inch round, and place on two baking sheets or trays.
Quarter the apples, core them, and, using a mandoline or other vegetable slicer, cut them into paper-thin slices. Put them in a shallow bowl and squeeze a little lemon juice over them, tossing gently so the slices don't break (don't worry if a couple of them do). Set aside.
Working in batches, place the rounds on the piastra and cook until light golden brown on the first side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. Transfer to the baking sheets.
When all are done, smear the soft Taleggio evenly over the piadine and cover with the sliced coppa. Pile the apples on top of the coppa.
Place the piadine on the grill for a minute or two to rewarm them, then serve. Italian Grill. Copyright © by Mario Batali. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.