Never judge a book by its cover, certainly not a cookbook. Although that’s exactly what I did when my friend sang the praises for the book Broad Fork. Maybe selling something as “Southern Food” wasn’t really the best way to my old-continent heart – and palate. I spoke – and reacted – too soon. Once I tasted a few of the wonderful dishes in this book, I became a believer and fan of Hugh Acheson. Come and cook with us!
What took me some time to discover, was perfectly clear to the James Beard Foundation, which awarded chef Acheson the 2012 award for “Best Cookbook in American Cooking” for his “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen”. Hugh is a Canadian-born chef and owner for four restaurants in Georgia. No wonder he knows a thing or two about Southern Food. He also co-won the 2012 James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Southeast” and knows a lot about pickling, which is why his second cookbook was all about that: “Pick a Pickle: 50 recipes for Pickles, Relishes and Fermented Snacks.”
Luckily for us, some of those pickling recipes made it into his latest accomplishment: Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits. It’s organized by what is at its best each seasons, packed with lots of recipes and plenty of ideas to choose from. There are many dishes that are easy but also some that are more involved. And there are four great maps, one for each season, pairing dressings with several dishes, so you can make a larger batch and use it numerous ways.
Of the many recipes I tested – and tasted – from this book, I really liked this week’s featured recipe, the Bread-and-Butter Zucchini Pickles. These pickles are divine and go well with anything that needs a tart pick-me-up to cut through some heavy flavors – think braised pork, brisket or even grilled cheese sandwiches. And for those who wondered what a broad fork is, it’s a gardening tiller tool that I am currently using to finish off all those wonderful summer squash pickles left in the jar!