Welcome to Rick Tramonto's kitchen. In the celebrated chef's newest cookbook, Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto (Andrews McMeel, April 27, 2010, $35), he invites readers into his Vernon Hills home for a peek at what's on the menu when he cooks up feasts for his own family and friends. That means big platters of juicy grilled steaks and colorful plates heaping with produce that's fresh and in season at the market. It's about flavorful, down-to-earth food, great wine and cocktails, lively conversation and an eclectic musical soundtrack; in short, great times with friends--hold the pretension. The new cookbook is a definitive guide to creating delicious steakhouse-style meals at home, from a lauded veteran chef--and competitor on the current season of "Top Chef Masters" -- who has helped to define Chicago dining for nearly 20 years. Steak with Friends will appeal to any steak lover, with its dazzling selection of 150 refined, yet easy-to-prepare recipes for steak and its many "friends," from seafood, poultry and other meats, to salads and hearty sides, to tasty desserts. Chef Tramonto shares his steakhouse secrets, from decoding the dizzying array of cuts at the butcher shop to choosing well-marbled meat and coaxing that perfectly charred crust and juicy interior.
Minimalists will gravitate toward the "Steak on a Plate" chapter, featuring Chef Tramonto's sage advice on prepping and grilling cuts such as Dry Aged New York Strip, Hanger, Kobe Flatiron and more. Although a juicy, grilled steak may seem like the epitome of simplicity, anyone who has accidentally over-cooked a great cut of beef can tell you that getting a steak just right requires some know-how. Tramonto shares his steakhouse secrets, from decoding the dizzying array of cuts on the market to choosing well-marbled meat, and coaxing that perfectly charred crust and juicy interior.
The array of rubs, crusts, flavored butters, sauces and salsa featured in the "Steak Toppers, Rubs and Glazes" and "Sauces, Stocks, Dressings, Marinades and Syrups" chapters add an extra punch of flavor to any steak, and the timeless Beef Wellington, Steak au Poivre and Filet Oscar recipes from the "Steak and Beef Classics" chapter will conjure nostalgic food memories for steak-lovers of every generation. And because no Chicago chef could get away with writing a steak book and not including a recipe for Italian Beef Sandwiches (with homemade giardinera, of course), Tramonto has spilled the beans on his definitive version in the "Soups and Sandwiches" chapter.
While steak is the heart and soul of Steak with Friends, a steak without its "friends" is like a dinner party without guests. And what's a better friend to "turf" than "surf"? An avid seafood lover, Chef Tramonto highlights seafood recipes for everything from hot and cold appetizers (Belgian-Style Ale-Braised Mussels; Hamachi Sashimi with Pineapple Bubbles) to soups (Cioppino, Tramonto Style) to entrees (Lobster Pot Pie; Grilled Sea bass with Tomatillo Tomato Relish), daring home cooks to mix and match to their hearts' content to invent their own spins on surf 'n' turf. For those who prefer their meat of a color other than red, there is even a chapter devoted to "Other Meat and Poultry," with recipes for Chicago-Style Barbecued Smoked Ribs, Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Grilled Ramp Pesto and Grilled Chicken with Roasted Squash Salad.
Peppered throughout with lush photography depicting the bounty of Chicago's venerable Green City Market, Steak with Friends displays Tramonto's passion for fresh, seasonal produce in recipes such as the tri-colored Roasted Beets with Burrata Cheese and Walnuts and Peekytoe Crab Salad bursting with apples, fennel and celery. And with more than 20 recipes for hearty, rib-sticking vegetarian sides like Truffled Mac and Cheese, Shell Bean Ragout, Rick's Steakhouse Creamed Spinach and Pickled Eggplant, even non-meat eaters will find new favorites.
Every great steak dinner deserves a sweet finale, and Tramonto's Killer Chocolate Pudding, garnished with black sea salt or Vertical Banana Split made with bruleed bananas and homemade banana and peanut butter ice cream are the perfect finishing touch on a dynamite meal.
And since no party at the Tramonto house would be complete without the perfect libations for a toast and great music on the stereo, Steak with Friends offers ideas for both. Sprinkled throughout the book, Tramonto's insights on wine varietals arm hosts with simple, succinct information to make an informed wine choice. There's also an array of cocktail recipes, including a summery Basil Margarita, a Vodka-Thyme Sour and the classic Dirty Martini. And in a nod to Chef Tramonto's eclectic taste in music, each chapter opens with the chef's favorite music to play while preparing and serving the dishes that follow. Santana with steak? Metallica with mussels? Why not!
For more information and sample recipes, visit http://cookbooks.andrewsmcmeel.com.
About Chef Rick Tramonto
Nationally renowned chef Rick Tramonto has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years. He is the executive chef/partner of several restaurants in the Chicago area, including Tru, Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, and RT Sushi Bar and Lounge. Rick has won numerous awards. In 1994, Food and Wine magazine recognized him as one of the Top Ten Best New Chefs in the country, and in 2002 he was named Best Chef of the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Tru won the James Beard Outstanding Service Award. He is an accomplished cookbook author with six previous titles to his credit, including Amuse-Bouche, which features the little bites Rick has become known for at Tru. He has been featured numerous times in national newspapers and magazines, and on national television, including Top Chef and Iron Chef America. Rick lives in the Chicago suburbs with his family.
About Mary Goodbody
Mary Goodbody is a nationally known food writer and editor. Her credits include Tru, Amuse-Bouche, Fantastico!, and Taste Pure and Simple. She lives outside New York City.
WHO: Chef Rick Tramonto, Executive Chef/Partner of Tru and Founder of Tramonto's Steak and Seafood and RT Sushi Bar and Lounge
WHAT: Steak lovers, rejoice! Rick Tramonto's seventh cookbook, Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35), is available today, Tuesday, April 27, wherever cookbooks are sold! The acclaimed celebrity chef's first home-centric cookbook is chock full of more 150+ recipes and hundreds of photos offering a peek at what's on the menu when he cooks for his own family and friends. Recipes feature everything from steak, seafood, poultry and other meats, to salads, hearty sides and satisfying desserts.
On Wednesday, April 28, at 9 p.m. (CT), catch Chef Tramonto competing on Bravo's hit reality cooking show "Top Chef Masters". Preview the action, including the chefs catering a lunch for the cast and crew of ABC's "Modern Family," by clicking here.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 27 -- Steak with Friends on sale! Wednesday, April 28, 9 p.m. (CT) --Chef Tramonto on "Top Chef Masters"!