Whether you’re interested in kitchen

science or just want a perfect chicken recipe
for dinner tonight, the authors of Ideas in Food
deliver reliable techniques and dishes—no
hard-to-find ingredients or break-the-bank
equipment required—for real home cooks.
Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot regularly consult for restaurants
to help them solve cooking conundrums, yet they often find it’s the
simplest tips that can be the most surprising—and the ones that can
help home cooks take their cooking to a new level.

With this book, you’ll learn:
• Why, contrary to popular belief, you should flip your burgers often
as you cook them for the best results
• How a simple coating of egg white, baking soda, and salt helps
create chicken wings that are moist and juicy on the inside with a
thin, crackling exterior
• How to cook steak consistently and perfectly every time
• Why steaming potatoes in the pressure cooker before frying them
makes for the crispest French fries
“Alex and Aki’s
fantastic new cookbook
expands the realm of
what you can accomplish
in a home kitchen.”
--Nathan Myhrvold

• How to make easy egg-free ice creams that are more flavorful than
their traditional custard-based cousins
• How to make no-knead Danish that are even better than the
ones at your local bakery
• How to smoke vegetables to make flavorful vegetarian dishes

author of
Modernist Cuisine

• Why pâte à choux—or cream puff dough—makes foolproof,
light-as-air gnocchi
• How pressure cooking sunflower seeds can transform them
into a creamy risotto
Sharing expert advice on everything from making gluten-free baking
mixes and homemade cheeses to understanding the finer points of
fermentation and sous vide cooking, Kamozawa and Talbot chronicle
their quest to bring out the best in every ingredient. With a focus on
recipes and techniques that can help anyone make better meals every
day, and 75 color photographs that show both step-by-step processes
and finished dishes, Maximum Flavor will encourage you to experiment,
taste, play with your food, and discover again why cooking and eating are
so fascinating and fun.

Also Available as an ebook

Kamo_9780770433215_pob_all_r9.indd 3

Clarkson Potter/Publishers
New York

U.S. $32.50/$37.50 CAN
ISBN 978-0-7704-3321-5

and Talbot


Recipes that
will change
the way you
Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander
Talbot | founders & Authors
of Ideas in Food

6/18/13 1:36 PM




Copyright © 2013 by Aki Kamozawa and
H. Alexander Talbot
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/
Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing
Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
CLARKSON POTTER is a trademark and POTTER
with colophon is a registered trademark of Random
House, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kamozawa, Aki.
Maximum flavor/Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander
pages cm
Includes index.
1. Cooking. 2. Cookbooks. lcgft I. Talbot, H.
Alexander. II. Title.
TX714.K3578 2013
ISBN 978-0-770-43321-5
eISBN 978-0-770-43322-2
Printed in China
Book and cover design: Laura Palese
front cover photograph: View Stock/Getty Images

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1
First Edition


Introduction 8
1 Breakfast 12
2 Breads 40
3 Soups & Stews 60
4 Salads 84
5 Vegetables & Potatoes 102
6 Fish & Shellfish 130
7 Poultry & Meat 150
8 Cakes 184
9 Pies & Tarts 204
Cookies, Candy & Ice
Creams 222
Sources 248
Acknowledgments 250
Index 251

We love to play with food. In fact, we love it so much that
we’ve made careers out of it. When we cooked professionally, we
started experimenting in our free time, teaching ourselves new
approaches and embracing innovation to make food taste better.
We eventually made the jump to opening our own business and
now consult with restaurants and companies big and small to
help them solve kitchen conundrums and think more creatively
about cooking.
As a result, you’ll find lots of kitchen science in these pages.
When, years ago, we became fascinated by figuring out the hows and whys
of what happens in the kitchen, we started chronicling our adventures
on our website and blog, Ideas in Food. Modern cooking, aka molecular
gastronomy, has inspired many chefs and cooks to explore new ideas in
the kitchen, which is always a good thing. But some of its techniques can
be too over the top for most home cooks—like using liquid nitrogen to
freeze ice cream. So in this book we focus exclusively on recipes that can
help home cooks make better meals every day. And while there are many
cool things you can do with food, we’re only ever interested in the tricks
and techniques that help deliver maximum flavor.
Often we’ll take a standard recipe and see if we can improve it by
experimenting with different ways to prepare it. When you make French
Fries (page 123), for example, conventional wisdom is to soak the cut
potatoes and then deep-fry them twice in oil, once at a lower temperature
and then a second time at a higher one. We found that several tweaks
resulted in fries that are always golden and crisp on the outside and
tender on the inside: soaking in salted water, steaming the potatoes to
hydrate the starches, and then frying just once to brown the exterior. And
if you want a great burger alongside, check out our Butter Burgers (page
166), which also break some culinary rules; contrary to popular belief,
burgers cook more quickly and evenly if you flip them regularly.
We also use pantry ingredients strategically to maximize flavor. It
turns out that the secret to the best Korean-Style Chicken Wings (page
156) starts with a simple marinade of egg whites, baking soda, and salt,


while there are many

cool things you
can do with food,
we’re only ever interested in the

tricks & techniques that
help deliver maximum flavor
which not only seasons them but also starts to break down the proteins
on the skin, resulting in juicy wings with a thin, crackling exterior.
Tapioca takes the place of eggs in Banana Caramel Ice Cream (page 243),
making it smooth and creamy while keeping the flavor strong and pure.
And we discovered a great way to get even more oomph out of nuts: Cook
them in a simple sugar syrup first, allowing them to soak in the liquid,
before toasting them as you normally would. The nuts take on a deep,
dark brown color and have a rich flavor and an excellent crunch (page 39).
In many recipes, we take advantage of common kitchen equipment
that home cooks may otherwise overlook. Take the microwave. This
often-maligned machine is actually very useful. We put it to use in
making cheese “Danishes” (page 30), which sounds odd, but you end
up with a lightness in texture that isn’t possible to achieve in a regular
oven. Another piece of equipment that we champion is the pressure
cooker, which is not as scary as it may sound. It speeds up some cooking
processes so much that it’s much easier to make, for example, delicious
baked beans (page 72) on a weeknight, since the pressure cooker decreases
the unattended cooking time to just under an hour. And in recent years,
there’s been lots of talk about sous vide, which is basically using a water
bath to cook food precisely to a specific temperature—no more, no less.
Using this technique at home—whether with a formal setup or just by
using zip-top bags and a pot of water—you never need to worry about
overcooking expensive cuts of meat; in fact, our favorite way of cooking a
porterhouse is to cook it first sous vide and then grill the meat, producing
a perfectly tender juicy steak with that all-important char on the outside
(page 177).



We want Maximum Flavor to be a helpful kitchen guide and a
source of inspiration. So not only does each recipe offer some sort of
insight into how food works and how you can make it taste better, but,
throughout the book, we’ve also included sidebars with discussions on
topics such as gluten-free mixes for baking, how to balance salty and
sweet flavors, and what fermentation is and how it makes sourdough so
delicious—all to help inform your day-to-day cooking.
You’ll find that measurements in the ingredients lists are given in
standard American volume measurements and also by weight in grams.
The volume, or imperial, measurements are the ones with which most
home cooks are more comfortable, and we want everyone to cook from
this book. That said, using the gram measurements will provide the most
accuracy, and we strongly encourage the use of a scale for all of the recipes
with an emphasis on baking; volume measurements for ingredients
such as flour, cornstarch, and confectioners’ sugar vary greatly as the
ingredients tend to get packed down in their containers.
We hope that Maximum Flavor gives you lots of interesting ideas
and helpful information to boost your own kitchen creativity. The recipes
in this book can be adapted and altered to suit your own palate, and the
techniques can be applied to other dishes (the handy freezer shucking
tip in the New England Clam Chowder recipe on page 69 just may make
cooking quick seafood dishes on a weeknight more of a reality in your
house, too).

So experiment, taste,
play with your food,
and discover again why
cooking and eating are so
fascinating and fun.


A neat play on gazpacho, this “soup” is frozen and SHAVED 
for serving, creating an incredibly light texture that slowly melts
down into a smooth, cold soup in your mouth. It is refreshing on
a hot summer day, a gazpacho version 2.0, if you will. Note that
you’ll need three ice cube trays to accomplish the freezing.
Almost all herbs flower in the summertime and we’ve added
these small blossoms to the soup for great intense bursts
of flavor. We are particularly fond of chive, basil, and thyme
blossoms, which are usually abundant in our garden and herb
pots. You can also sprinkle thinly sliced herbs over the top of the
shaved ice, if you can’t find blossoms.

Serves 8

Green Gazpacho
In a large bowl, combine the pistachios, grapes, melon, tomatillos,
cucumbers, scallions, jalapeño, and salt and mix well. Divide the mixture
between 2 gallon-size zip-top bags and make sure they are securely
closed. Lay the bags out flat, one on top of the other, on a tray or baking
sheet and put them in the freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 8 hours.
Transfer the bags to the refrigerator to let the mixture thaw,
at least 12 hours. (If you are in a hurry, you can thaw them under cold
running water for 1 hour.) The fruits and vegetables will soften and start
releasing their liquid and this will help to get the most flavor out of them
when you puree them. Transfer the contents of 1 bag to a large blender.
Turn the blender on low speed and slowly increase the power to high
speed, pureeing the mixture until completely smooth, 2 to 4 minutes.
Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Pour the
soup into ice cube trays and put the trays in the freezer. Repeat with the
second bag of soup. Freeze the soup in the ice cube trays until it is rock
solid, at least 6 hours. At this point you can remove it from the trays and
store the cubes in zip-top bags in the freezer for up to a week.
Chill a large metal bowl in the freezer for at least 1 hour before you
are planning to serve the soup. Put 8 soup bowls into the refrigerator to
chill. Set up a food processor with the thin slicing blade. Turn the food
processor on and feed the frozen soup cubes through the feed tube and
shave the soup. When the bowl of the food processor is halfway filled,
stop the machine and transfer the shaved soup to the bowl in the freezer.


2 cups / 250 grams shelled
raw pistachios
¾ pound / 340 grams
seedless green grapes
(about 1 bunch), stems
2 pounds / 930 grams
honeydew melon (about 1),
peeled, seeded, and cut into
1-inch / 2.5 cm chunks
¾ pound / 340 grams large
tomatillos (4 to 5), husked
and quartered
4 baby cucumbers, peeled
and sliced
3 scallions, cut into 1-inch /
2.5 cm batons
1 jalapeño, peeled and
1¾ teaspoons / 10.5 grams
fine sea salt
About 3 tablespoons /
45 grams pistachio oil
Fleur de sel

Small handful of herb
flowers or thinly sliced

Repeat with the remaining soup. Grated gazpacho may be kept in the
freezer for up to 1 hour.
To serve, put equal portions of the frozen, shaved gazpacho into
each of the 8 chilled serving bowls. Drizzle about a teaspoon of pistachio
oil over each serving and finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel and a few
assorted herb flowers.

Soups & Stews


It seems that everyone chases the perfect French fry.
Our technique is to soak them in salted water and then steam
them in the pressure cooker to hydrate the starches and
gelatinize them before a final frying round. This produces
perfectly cooked potatoes encased in a thin, crisp outer shell. A
sprinkling of salt is all you really need to finish them off.

Serves 4 as a side dish

French Fries

6²⁄³ cups / 1,500 grams
2½ tablespoons / 45 grams
fine sea salt, plus more for
seasoning the fries
6 large russet potatoes
Rice bran oil or peanut oil,
for frying

In a large bowl, combine the water and salt and stir until the salt is
Peel the potatoes. Square off the top and bottom of each potato
and then trim a small slice off the bottom of each one so that it lies flat
on the cutting board. Cut the potato into 3/8-inch-thick (1 cm) planks. Lay
each plank flat on the cutting board and cut lengthwise into 3/8-inch-wide
(1 cm) batons. Put the potato batons in the bowl of salt water and let them
soak for 2 to 3 hours.
Drain the potatoes and discard the water. Put the potatoes in
a bowl that fits easily inside your pressure cooker. Put 2 inches (5 cm)
of water in the cooker and set a small rack inside. Put the bowl on the
rack and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure dissipate
naturally. Remove the lid of the pressure cooker and immediately remove
the potatoes from the bowl and lay them out on a wire rack to cool
to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (If you leave them to cool in
the bowl they will stick to each other and to the bowl.) Refrigerate the
potatoes, uncovered, for up to 6 hours, until you are ready to fry, or cover
when completely cold and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
Fill a large pot with 2 inches (5 cm) of oil and heat it to 400°F
(205°C). Put about one-quarter of the potatoes in the oil and stir them
with a metal spider skimmer. The temperature should drop to about
375°F (190°C). Cook the potatoes until they are a deep golden brown
on the outside and cooked through, about 5 minutes. It’s important to
cook these potatoes all the way through or they will steam as they cool
and lose their crisp texture. Transfer the fries to a wire rack and season
generously with salt. Put the rack with the fries into the warm oven while
frying the remaining batches. Serve hot.

Vegetables & Potatoes


Our simple trick for the best Korean-style wings is to 
marinate the wings in a mixture of egg whites, salt, and baking
soda. This forms an even coating that clings to the wings
and seasons them. The mixture also helps to break down the
outer layer of proteins on the skin, allowing the chicken to
render and brown in the oven and resulting in juicy wings with
a thin, crackling skin. (You can also brush the marinade on a
whole chicken before roasting.) We’ve paired the wings with
yangnyeomjang, a spicy Korean dipping sauce, to accent the
sweet flavor of the chicken.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken Wings
Put the egg whites, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir to dissolve
the salt and baking soda. Add the chicken wings and stir to coat evenly.
Remove the wings from the bowl and lay them out on 2 wire racks, each
set over a baking sheet. Refrigerate the wings uncovered overnight for
them to dry out.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (235°C).
Put the wings, still on the racks on the baking sheets, into
the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the wings over and bake for
10 minutes. Flip the wings over again and bake until a deep golden brown
with a crackling skin, about 10 more minutes. Take the pans out of the
oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, apple juice,
honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chile flakes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger,
and scallion.
Pile the wings on a serving platter and serve the sauce alongside.


3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons / 10 grams
baking soda
1¾ teaspoons / 10.5 grams
fine sea salt
4 pounds / 1.8 kilograms
whole chicken wings
¼ cup / 65 grams tamari soy
3 tablespoons / 42 grams
apple juice
1 tablespoon / 16 grams
1 tablespoon / 14 grams rice
1 tablespoon / 14 grams
toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoons / 2 grams
Korean red chile flakes
1 tablespoon / 3.75 grams
toasted sesame seeds,
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon / 2.5 grams
grated fresh ginger
1 scallion, finely sliced




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