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Book review: Prime by Richard H Turner

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Book review: Prime by Richard H Turner

Richard H Turner
Mitchell Beazley, £25

Cue the meat sweats because Richard H Turner, executive chef of the steak restaurant group Hawksmoor, and the brains behind the almighty Meatopia festival has released a new book.

At a time where veganism and vegetarianism is ragingly popular, Turner is offering the complete opposite in Prime, which gives tips on butchery, how to get the best out of different cuts, how to roast the perfect joint, cook perfect steak and assemble the ultimate burger.

It follows his previous book Hog, which focused on breeds of pig and how their flavour varies. The Caterer team managed to identify seven of the 24 breeds of cow highlighted in Prime, so we obviously have a lot to learn.

Mark Schatzker, author of Steak and the Dorito Effect, wrote the foreword. Inspired by Turner’s trips around the world visiting different restaurants, he has developed some new dishes by putting his own spin on them as well as including many classics such as beef Wellington and veal blanquette.

Caterers can take a lot of inspiration from this book for new and exciting canape and snack ideas, from the Yorkshire pudding wrap (essentially a burrito made from leftover roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, served with dipping gravy) to the humble Cornish pasty, and mini cottage pies made by filling potato skins with beef and adding a mashed potato crust topping.

The salt beef bagel and meatball and French dip sandwiches would be a welcome addition to any lunchtime offering. I for one cannot wait to try the latter, an LA delicacy, where the roast beef roll is dipped in the hot meat juices before assembling.

However, Prime is not just about cooking; it highlights the pressure put on farmers to take shortcuts and encourages readers to use pure-bred native beef, and also gives lessons on slaughtering, dry-ageing and rearing.

Prime is a useful tool for anyone interested in rearing their own animals, hanging their own meat, or just unashamedly revelling in all that is meat.

If you like this you may enjoy these:

• Hog: Proper pork recipes from the snout to the squeak by Richard H Turner
• Bone Daddies: The Cookbook by Ross Shonhan, Tom Moxon
• Food from the Fire: The Scandinavian Flavours of Open-Fire Cooking by Niklas Ekstedt

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