Samin Nosrat has become known as the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook, after the famed food writer featured her in his book Cooked and his Netflix show of the same name.
Now, she’s sharing her wisdom with the masses in her new, illustrated cookbook called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. The key to good cooking, she says, is learning to balance those elements and trust your instincts, rather than just follow recipes.
Nosrat’s own formal culinary education came at Chez Panisse, the legendary restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., founded by Alice Waters. She first went there as a diner, then asked for a job and got one, working her way up. And it was while cooking at Chez Panisse that Nosrat had the revelation that eventually led to this cookbook — that salt, fat acid and heat are the fundamental elements to good food.
“The elements and the tenets of professional cooking don’t always get translated to the home cook,” she tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “Recipes don’t encourage you to use your own senses and use your own judgement. And salt, fat, acid and heat can be your compass when you maybe don’t have other tools.”
Nosrat frees her readers to use their own senses instead of measuring cups.
She says we should salt things until they taste like the sea – which is a beautiful image, but also sounds like an awful lot of salt.
Illustrations: Courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton