Chris Santos wants you to ditch your forks and knives. It’s the way he cooks—preparing food meant to be grasped with your fingers and passed around.

His new cookbook, “Share: Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table,” written with Rick Rodgers, offers recipes for some of his signature dishes served at his restaurants (Beauty & Essex, The Stanton Social, Vandal). It features old favorites, taken in a different direction with “whimsical and irreverent twists,” according to Santos. Think “Grilled Cheese” Dumplings in Tomato Soup and Crab Corn Dog With Old Bay Aioli, for example.

Some of the inspiration is derived from street food from around the world, so it’s no wonder that the book’s pantry section reads like a traveling foodie’s souvenir list: ancho chili, smoked paprika, harissa, chunjang (a fermented Korean black bean paste), fish sauce, miso, sambal oelek (Indonesian ground chili paste), and sriracha, among others.

You eventually will need forks and knives. His entrees beckon as much as his starters, with recipes like Wasabi Pea-Crusted Salmon With Soba Noodle and Beet Salad, Pork Belly Carbonara, and Twice-Cooked Eggplant With Cilantro-Sesame Pesto.

Some recipes are more complex, but carefully detailed instructions and additional chef’s notes help. For a foodie, the extra effort will be worth it.

“At the end of the day, life is too short for boring food,” Santos writes.

See his recipes below, from “Share”:

Twice-Cooked Eggplant With Cilantro-Sesame Pesto

Smoky Rubbed Chicken Wings With Honey, Bourbon, and Molasses Sauce

White Sangria With Cranberry and Cucumber

Introduction

White sangria, with all the fruity wine flavor of the magenta version without the threat of staining your upholstery, is deliciously refreshing. The cranberry juice (pressed from the white cranberries that you’ll occasionally see in the bag of red ones) makes this an especially great choice for a winter holiday bash.

Amount Makes

about 9 drinks

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups, three-fourths of a 750-ml bottle) dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet white wine, such as Moscato
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) white cranberry juice
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 medium Kirby cucumber, unpeeled, cut into thin rounds
  • 18 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) chilled seltzer water, as needed
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Stir the dry white wine, sweet white wine, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and syrup together in a large pitcher. Add the cucumber, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. For each drink, pour about 4 ounces (1/2 cup) into a tall ice-filled glass, leaving about 1 inch of headspace. Fill with about 2 ounces (1/4 cup) seltzer and stir gently. Garnish with a slice of soaked cucumber and a mint sprig. Serve immediately.

SIMPLE SYRUP

Makes about 6 ounces (3/4 cup)

An easy mix of sugar and water, this is a common syrup for when the cocktail requires sweetness without any other flavors.

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Let cool. (The syrup can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.)

Excerpted from the book “Share” by Chris Santos. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Santos. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. 

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