Home Chef

Cook with the brain of a Chez Panisse chef

In the Bay Area, it's a short leap from A Platter of Figs to the Heart of the Artichoke.

We're a region obsessed with our produce. David Tanis, co-chef of the downstairs restaurant at Chez Panisse and author of the newly released cookbook Heart of the Artichoke ($35), embodies that fervor especially well.

Heart of the Artichoke is the sequel to Tanis' debut book, A Platter of Figs, and his entrancing new volume mirrors the first in many ways.

The writing glows with clearheaded, opinionated instructions, and the recipes are like a sandbox for the impassioned home cook.

Tanis divides the book into three sections: cooking for one person, menus for a small group and menus for a crowd.

The first features brilliantly simple preparations like skillet pasta, and white beans on toast. The second comprises menus like shrimp cocktails, paprika-and-allspice-crusted wings (click here to download the recipe), and molasses-pecan squares. Finally, the large-format menus revolve around turkey and suckling pig.

On occasion, Tanis' single-mindedness grates: Apologies to chef, but a good salad in winter is merely that, not "a luxury and a necessity."

Still, Heart of the Artichoke is primed to be as essential in our kitchen as A Platter of Figs is.