“In this age of just-add-water celebrity chefs, David Kinch has never sought the spotlight, but acclaim
has rightly found him anyway. This wonderful book is a window into why. Kinch fills its pages with the
same qualities that infuse his restaurant, revealing the dedication, creativity, and refreshing humility
that underpin everything he does.”
--Thomas Keller Chef and owner, The French Laundry
Excerpt: How to Use this Book
Writing recipes is no fun. It’s difficult to capture the spirit of a dish or technique by writing a how-to
manual. One of the beauteous aspects of cooking is working with your hands. But the ability to feel when
a certain amount of an ingredient is needed or know the correct time for completing a certain step requires
an accumulation of experience. How does one write that down for a stranger to follow?
Sure, baking and pastry require some exact measurements and a replication of strict environments in
order to achieve consistent results. But to cook simply, to cook well, is really hard to do with a recipe. The
best I can do is convey what a dish is like and hope that it helps guide you there. And even then, it will not
be the same as how someone else makes it or how we do it at the restaurant. Ingredients can differ at certain
times of the year and vary greatly from region to region. Substitutions might be required. Oven temperatures
vary considerably. But this is not to fear, this is to be celebrated: Cooking is a personal act, for yourself and
the people for whom you are cooking. In other words, I hope that these recipes can show you the spirit
and intent of what we are trying to do at Manresa, and then let your hands and mind be your guide. Really.
The best tip I can give you is always to buy the best-quality ingredients that you can afford. You cannot
change the laws of physics through some sort of magical cooking act and transform mediocre products into
a great dish. Also, one cannot underestimate the importance of correct seasoning. Seasoning with salt and
then balancing with an acidic element is at the very heart of maximum flavor and taste. It achieves roundness
and balance. It is the mark of a good and confident cook.
The recipes in this book are written exactly how we do them at the restaurant. I did not want to oversimplify.
There are many simple and satisfying recipes in this book, while others are more ambitious. Once
you find recipes that match your skill level, also try some that will challenge you to be a bit more ambitious.
One of the most satisfying things about working in the Manresa kitchen is that we learn something and try
to improve our skills every day. I hope that you will learn something from a recipe or two here.
All measurements are in metric and by weight. The best tool one can buy for a kitchen now is a fifteen dollar
digital scale. A cup of flour weighs differently on a rainy day than on a dry day. It’s that simple.
Weighing all ingredients (including liquids!) is what’s done in every professional kitchen today. You will
have to get used to it, and you will be surprised how easy it actually is.
In some recipes, there are components that make more than what is necessary. This is because each
component has been scaled to ensure a consistent, good-quality final product, which often results in a
yield larger than what is required for the recipe that calls for it. In these cases, we try to suggest alternate
uses and/or proper storage for future use. Hopefully your own creative urges will suggest other ways for
using the product.
FIG AND WILD FENNEL CONFIT, MILK AND HONEY
Delicate milk skins remind me of mozzarella. After we make them, we brush them with a little bit of cream for
hydration, so what you experience is a solid, soft, curdlike sheet of dairy goodness. You can even use them in
savory applications...If you have any syrup left
over from the confit, it’s delicious drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
serves 8 to 10
12 to 15 Candy Stripe figs
1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry white wine, medium bodied, fruity, without oak
265 grams (3/4 cup) honey
3 to 4 tender wild fennel stalks, about
4 inches long
3 to 4 mature aromatic wild fennel
2 grams (1 teaspoon) fennel seeds
Prick the bottom half of each fig with
a needle in three places. Stand the
figs upright, in a single layer, in a pan
with the wine, honey, fennel stalks
and flower pods, and fennel seeds.
Bring the wine to a light simmer and
cover the pan. Poach the figs until
they soften but still maintain their
shape, about 10 minutes. Transfer
the figs to a storage container.
Reduce the wine mixture by about
half, just until it begins to thicken.
Pour the warm liquid, with the fennel
stalks and pods, over the figs.
Cool at room temperature, cover the
container, and refrigerate overnight.
Approximately 500 grams (2 cups) whole milk
Approximately 30 grams (2 tablespoons) heavy cream
Pour the milk into a saucepan—
about 5 inches in diameter—to a
depth of about 2 inches, and place,
undisturbed, for 15 to 20 minutes,
over very low heat. Meanwhile,
brush a plate with some of the
cream. When a thick skin forms on
top of the milk, carefully loosen the
edges from the side of the pot with
a spatula, leaving the skin undisturbed.
With your fingers, pick up
the skin from opposite sides of the
pan. Let the 2 halves of the skin
drape together, and place the folded
skin on the prepared plate. Brush a
little more cream on top of the skin
and cover with plastic wrap. Return
the pan to the heat and repeat until
you have made 8 to 10 skins. Brush
cream on top of the plastic wrap
before adding a skin to the stack.
Cover the finished stack of skins
loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate
until almost ready to use.
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Let the milk skins come up to room temperature for a few minutes, until they
are pliable. Cut the reserved figs in halves and place 3 halves on each plate.
Drape pieces of the milk skin over the figs, followed by a drizzle of the confit
syrup, and a piece of the confit fennel. Finish with a pinch of fleur de sel, a
turn of the pepper mill, a few small fennel fronds, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Reprinted with permission from Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch. Copyright © 2013 by David Kinch. Photo Copyright © 2008 Eric Wolfinger. Illustrations Copyright © 2008 Reed Glaser. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
DAVID KINCH’s distinctive style of American cooking has placed him on the world culinary map and assured his legacy in the advancement of California cuisine. He was named Best Chef: Pacific by the James Beard Foundation and Chef of the Year by GQ, and his restaurant, Manresa, holds two Michelin stars. He lives in Northern California.
CHRISTINE MUHLKE is the executive editor of Bon Appétit and the author of On the line: Inside the World of Le Bernardin with Eric Ripert. She lives in New York City.
For a price & to purchase Manresa: An Edible Reflection