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Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

Salad Country French Omlette Fruit Salad with Limoncello

Author Photograph of Ina Garten About Ina Garten

In 1978, Ina Garten left her job as a budget analyst in the White House to pursue her dream of operating a specialty food store in the Hamptons. She is a frequent contributor to major national magazines and writes a recurring column in O Magazine.

Ina is one of the country's most beloved culinary icons and the author of five previous cookbooks. She can be seen on Food Network, where her shows, Barefoot Contessa and Back to Basics, are among the network's most watched.

An Excerpt from the Introduction of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

"People are always asking me what the new food trends are, but I have to admit that food trends don't really interest me. One year, everyone's cooking with foam. The next year, they're doing improbable flavor combinations like oyster ice cream. Ugh--no, thank you! It turns out that what I need from a recipe is pretty simple: I want an easy recipe that I can hopefully make in advance, and when friends arrive, I want the house to smell wonderful. (And I wouldn't mind if they thought I was a great cook, too.) That's not too much to ask, is it? Maybe that's why I'm far less excited by trendy new ingredients or fussy cooking techniques than I am by the basics; I don't see any reason why we can't buy perfectly good ingredients in a grocery store, cook them simply, and serve an absolutely delicious meal that will delight everyone at the table...

Instead of looking for new ideas, I'm just looking for old ideas and finding the best ways to make delicious food. That's what I mean by getting back to basics. I hope you enjoy making lots of the recipes in this book, that your house is filled with wonderful smells, and that your friends think you're brilliant, too."--Ina Garten

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

For a detailed description & pricing information click here.

Which ingredient unlocks the purest chocolate flavor in brownie pudding? What twist makes an old favorite like tomato Caprese salad truly unique? How can you amp up the impact of butternut squash soup without overpowering the true butternut squash flavor? It's not always about finding the most exotic or costly ingredients--it's about finding the methods and flavor pairings that unlock the essence of good food.

Newcomers and longtime fans alike will love Ina's insights on building more...

Author Photograph of Ina Garten

Easy Sole Meunière

serves 2

One day in Paris, I decided to challenge myself and just go to the market with no menu in mind. Dover sole was in season and I thought, "Well, I can make sole meuniere without a recipe, can't I?" Yes, I could! I was shocked by how easy and delicious it was. Of course, Dover sole is the best, but you can certainly use gray sole fillets from any fish store. The slightly burnt butter and the fresh lemon zest give this dish a big fresh lemon flavor. I serve two fillets per person.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teasoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.

Heat 3 tablesoons of the butter in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. while the second side cooks, add 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish fillets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they're done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Note: Zest the lemons with a rasp before you squeeze them for their juice. This dish cooks quickly so I prepare all the ingredients before I start cooking.

Copyright © 2008 by Ina Garten. Photographs copyright © 2008 by Quentin Bacon. Reprinted From Back to Basics with permission from Clarkson Potter/Publishers.

Click here to download this recipe along with one of Ina's favorites--her French Apple Tart.

Other cookbooks by Ina Garten:

Barefoot Contessa Family Style Barefoot Contessa in Paris Barefoot Contessa Parties Barefoot Contessa At Home Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That Cookbook