I Hosted My First Cookbook Club with Samin Nosrat’s “Salt Fat Acid Heat” and Here’s How It Went
A couple of years ago when Kitchn was first talking about starting a cookbook club, Editor-in-Chief Faith Durand told me it was secretly the best way to see your friends regularly in your 30s (and beyond). As people become busier with their careers and families, a monthly cookbook club is an easy way to gather. It’s low-pressure, you get to try out a cookbook that you might have lingering on your shelves, you get to eat and drink a lot of delicious things, and you get to share it all with old and new friends. What’s better than that?
This September Kitchn finally launched a digital cookbook club, and our first pick was Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat. We talked about why this cookbook is so special, we shared a couple of recipes, and talked about the Netflix show. We started a private Facebook group for people to share their favorite recipes and tips (you’re following along, right?). And we also asked our readers to post the recipes they made on Instagram with the #kitchncookbookclub hashtag — and, wow, you are all impressive people.
To round out the month, I decided to try an IRL cookbook club with some friends in Los Angeles. Here’s a look at what everyone brought to our cookbook club, and what we all thought!
No, the Ligurian focaccia recipe technically isn’t in the cookbook, but it’s in the show and that’s close enough for me. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try it forever! And it really did live up to the hype. I’ll be making it again soon.
Get the recipe: Samin Nosrat’s Ligurian Focaccia
James, my boyfriend and roommate, made the buttermilk-marinated roast chicken. This is probably the most popular recipe from Salt Fat Acid Heat, and for good reason. You only need three ingredients for the chicken: chicken (duh), buttermilk, and kosher salt. That’s it! And it was probably the best roast chicken I’ve ever had in my life. James also made the basic salsa verde to go along with the chicken, which was a perfect match.
Tim made the Vietnamese cucumber salad, which includes Persian cucumbers, a bunch of herbs, peanuts, rice wine vinegar, and fish sauce. It was delightfully crunchy and well-balanced with the salt and acid. If you’re obsessed with cucumbers (like I am), then this needs to be in your regular rotation.
Natasha made the Persian-ish rice which was just the right amount of crispy. She’s made more traditional tahdig before, and was impressed with how this one turned out!
Lauren made Lori’s chocolate midnight cake. The cake is supposed to be reminiscent of chocolate boxed cake mix, but in the best possible way. We all agreed it kind of looked and tasted like a really good whoopie pie.
Sarah and Greg made Samin’s tomato confit. To make the dish, you basically take a bunch of cherry tomatoes, a handful of basil, and some garlic cloves and cover them in olive oil. Then you bake them in the oven for a little bit. That’s it! We paired the tomatoes with ricotta and the focaccia and it ruled.
Alex made the garlicky green beans from Salt Fat Acid Heat. They were a great green, crunchy addition to the dinner. Alex doubled the garlic in the recipe, but it honestly could have used even more!
After forcing everyone to take photos with their dishes (sorry, guys), we all dug in, filled our plates, and drank plenty of wine. Overall, there wasn’t a single dish from this group that I wouldn’t want to eat again. It was all so good!
I knew going into this month that the internet at large was obsessed with this cookbook, but I didn’t truly understand the magic until I made something from it. The most surprising thing I found was just how simple everything was. Most of the recipes only required a few, quality ingredients. The most complicated dish was the cucumber salad, but that’s only because there was slightly more prep work involved. The focaccia took time to make, but it was way easier than I had anticipated.
Just like Ina Garten, Samin Nosrat shows us that you don’t need a ton of time or things to make a great meal. If you have a couple of quality base ingredients (ahem, kosher salt!) and you know the right techniques, good food is always possible.
Thanks for following along this month, friends! And be sure to check out what everyone else made on our collection page. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Our October Cookbook Pick: Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna
It’s the end of September (!), which means we’re closing the book on Salt Fat Acid Heat and introducing our October pick, which is Indian-ish by Priya Krishna. Ever since Lauren Masur talked to her earlier this summer for a story, I knew I needed to make something out of her cookbook. Indian-ish is one of the most popular cookbooks of 2019 — follow along on Facebook and Instagram (#kitchncookbookclub) as we find out why!