Reviewer’s Note: Review copy of the book discussed here was provided to me at no cost in exchange for my honest opinion.
“Dinnertime, and the cooking is easy.”
So begins this volume of easy sheet pan-cooking recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Here, the prolific author of over twenty cookbooks assembles a collection of courses created with minimal prep time and ease of method—attributes never unwelcome in the kitchens of people with families to feed—in mind. Most of these recipes feature one protein and one or more vegetables, erring on the side of meals that are less expensive to pull together and lending a healthful overall thrust to much of the collection. On the latter point, nothing less could be expected of this author, who also is the creator of healthy cooking blog, PowerHungry.com. And while the subject of casting an eye toward proper nutrition when cooking tends to conjure a sense of foreboding in the stomachs of many who imagine bland dishes to follow, the recipes in this book strive to keep things flavorful and interesting by taking influence from every corner of the globe. Herein you’ll find tastes of locale-specific cuisine from New England and the Caribbean to Mexico, Morocco, Greece, and many more regions.
This book devotes a significant portion of its pages to meatless dishes, a wise decision that makes for a broader appeal at a time when a growing number of eaters are taking interest—however grudgingly, in some cases— in healthy eating and meat-alternatives. Page 74 serves up a fabulous Summer Roasted Corn, Potato, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, while page 89 introduces readers to Saulsbury’s anything-but-bland Portobellos Stuffed with Artichokes and Goat Cheese. The Crispy Baked Falafel detailed on page 80 is sure please crowds far and wide. Meals like Saulsbury’s Sheet Pan Clam Bake or Roasted Jerk Shrimp with Warm Black Bean Salad are a clear appeal to seafood lovers, and form the mere tip of the iceberg with regard to dishes centered around fruits de mer.
Anyone thinking that the aforementioned focus on health and minimal ingredients gives short shrift to desserts will be pleased to learn this is not so. Sweet things receive their due representation here. Whether it’s easy fruit-based options making use of roasted plums, baked apples, and caramelized bananas, or how-to’s for more indulgent fare like toffee, pretzel bark, and even churros, there’s ample to sample with regard to sweets.
Highlights of this book include a primer on choosing the best pan according to the meal being prepared, based on the size, edges, metal construction, and other valuable considerations whose significance might not at once spring to the mind of anyone new to sheet pan cooking. Equal importance is granted to detailing pans to avoid and the reasons why, as well as a section on insightful best practices to bear in mind when cooking. This book earns its highest marks however, for the obvious attention taken to represent recipes from a multitude of cultures, ensuring that most everyone will be able to find at least a few things amidst its pages to love. Of no small significance as well is that the recipes gathered here will help home cooks create these well-rounded, globally appealing meals in a single act, without amassing mountains of pots and pans to wash afterward. Simplicity of preparation and limiting each dish to just a few ingredients serves readers as well for prepping meals under typical weeknight time constraints after work or school, as for more leisurely Sunday dinner preparations.
This recipe collection includes 24 glossy color photos, enticing visuals to allay any residual fear of pedestrian offerings from a book that more than delivers on the promise in its title. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and will no doubt be quick to earn its place in any kitchen reference library.
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Robert Rose