I recently got hold of a PDF excerpt of Chris Cosentino’s new book, “Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal.” It took me awhile, but I finally peeked inside — what a beautiful book! The photography is stunning, but the design and recipes are made much more personal by quirky drawings that illustrate techniques or how to plate a dish.
Cosentino is best known for his tenure as chef at Incanto in San Francisco. He’s also been on television, competing on "Top Chef" and other shows, and has just opened the restaurant PIGG in Umamicatessen downtown. He’s something of a salumi king, proprietor of Boccalone Salumeria in San Francisco. And he tweets under, get this, the moniker @offalchris.
The book actually comes out May 8 in both hardcover and electronic editions. He’ll be at the Los Angeles Festival of Books this weekend at USC too, where he'll be giving a cooking demonstration on the cooking stage at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Because "Beginnings" is all about Cosentino's favorite ways to start a meal, it has a number of recipes that could be served at the apèritif hour--and probably many more than I was able to see in the book preview. One that spoke to me is his simple and beautiful recipe for egg and anchovy crostini.
“There is no better way to eat an egg with a runny yolk than on a nice piece of grilled bread," writes the chef. "Topping the egg with briny anchovy fillets and fresh herbs makes a great bite, and the bread turns the whole package into an extraordinary handheld snack.”
I made it last night and loved the rich flavor of the egg (make sure you invest in free-range eggs) against the anchovy and olive oil. New trick: he rubs the lemon on the toasted baguette to scent it with lemon zest.