Steak master Tramonto doesn’t skimp on side dishes

2014-03-05T00:00:00Z 2014-03-10T11:54:37Z Steak master Tramonto doesn’t skimp on side dishesBy Andi Berlin Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

With Rick Tramonto’s help, you can make a hanger steak taste like filet mignon. In his new book, “Steak With Friends: At Home, With Rick Tramonto,” the chef grills up familiar specialties gourmet-style, illuminating the simple yet particular ways to cook each cut.

The Rochester, N.Y., native, who will speak at the Tucson Festival of Books Culinary Tent on March 16, uses his blue-collar Italian background to inform a collection of soulful recipes.

Although Tramonto has studied with the best and opened successful restaurants in London and Chicago, he came from humble beginnings. When he was young, a family crisis led Tramonto to drop out of high school and help support the family with a job at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant.

In “Steak With Friends,” Tramonto shows us he’s a true family man. The book is filled with pictures of him entertaining at his home outside Chicago, where he grills year-round. The title itself actually has a double-meaning: It’s about sitting around the table with those you love, but also the “friends” that accompany a great steak dinner as appetizers or side dishes.

Tramonto shows us how to make the perfect béarnaise sauce and iceberg wedge salad, as well as a pumpkin soup topped with seared foie gras and truffle oil.

If you’ve always yearned to be a god or goddess of the grill but feel intimidated by your supermarket meat aisle, this is the book for you. With its unique take on backyard barbecues, “Steak With Friends” turns a hamburger night into a celebration.

Andi Berlin is a local freelance writer. On Twitter: @andiberlin

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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