The writing's on the wall 15 November 2019 The time for making your business sustainable is now. Find out how hospitality’s leaders, including Sue Williams and Chantelle 
Nicholson, are going green in The Caterer ’s Sustainability Special
In this week's issue... The writing's on the wall The time for making your business sustainable is now. Find out how hospitality’s leaders, including Sue Williams and Chantelle Nicholson, are going green in The [...]
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Book review – On the Side: A Sourcebook of Inspiring Side Dishes by Ed Smith

09 June 2017 by
Book review – On the Side: A Sourcebook of Inspiring Side Dishes by Ed Smith

Bloomsbury, £20

When blogger Ed Smith of Rocket & Squash says in the introduction to this, his first foray into print, that side dishes are "often the best bit" of a meal, it's difficult to disagree. After all, what's a steak without chips? They are also an important source of revenue for a restaurant, providing an ideal up-selling opportunity, so a whole book dedicated to side dishes is an invaluable resource for chefs.

For the most part, Smith looks beyond the obvious (he suggests scorched sweet potatoes with sobrasada butter to go with that steak) and gleefully raids the global larder, brightening up kale and edamame with miso and sweet chilli, and adding spicy depth to mushrooms with za'atar. Leftfield ideas, like adding yeast to cauliflower purée to provide "an (enjoyably) cheesy mustiness" or coating corn on the cob in gochujang mayo and coconut, make for an enjoyable and stimulating read.

'Alongside' suggestions at the end of every recipe are two or three complementary sides that make a meal in themselves ("I think as eaters we're creeping away from the idea that there must always be a standout piece of meat or fish in a meal," claims Smith).

There are a few missteps. Smith doesn't bring anything new to over-familiar dishes like boulangère potatoes, colcannon and cauliflower cheese, and some of the recipes, including broccoli with tarragon, or agretti with olive oil, are so simplistic that they hardly warrant inclusion. But overall, he has more than enough inventive ideas to ensure that chefs won't leave his debut effort on the side.

By Andy Lynes

If you like this, you may enjoy these

The Side Dish Handbook
Tori Ritchie

Side Dishes Cookbook
Gordon Rock

Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables
Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg

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