Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking French
The Balthazar Cookbook
Published: October 28, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Whether or not readers are familiar with Balthazar, Manhattan's booming, six-year-old brasserie, they're in for a delight. The restaurant's cookbook lifts the lid on the essence of French brasserie cooking, unearthing the secrets
to making a deliciously sharp, perfectly melted gratin (use Swiss Gruyand#138;re, Emmentaler or Comt‚); frying french fries (fry them once to cook them thoroughly, then again to crisp the exterior); burnishing sugar atop a creme br-lee (it should "crack
like thin ice"); and more. Art critic Hughes paints a brilliant portrait of Balthazar in his foreword, marveling at the unbelievable quantity of ingredients Balthazar tears through (40 pounds of mushrooms a day; 30 pounds of garlic a week) and the
staff's ability to hide the kitchen's pressure cooker-like atmosphere from diners: "out on the floor it's all politeness, smiles, and yes-sir-no-sir, while backstage it's Jesus, where is it, get that fucking stuff over here, and where's the goddamn
morels?" Home chefs need not be so stressed, as the authors (McNally owns the place; Nasr and Hanson are chefs) present clear and simple recipes for such classics as Salade Nicoise, Steak Tartare, Bouillabaisse, Coq au Vin, Duck Confit, Cassoulet and
Steak Frites. Injecting a touch of humor (Frisee aux Lardons, normally a meal unto itself, could make a first course "for those who believe strongly in bacon fat"), the authors explain techniques, such as shucking oysters and cleaning leeks, and more
obscure ingredients, such as Japanese bread crumbs and fines herbes. Like its food, Balthazar's cookbook is uncomplicated, elegant and timeless. 100 color, 40 bandw photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When restaurateur Keith McNally and co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson opened Balthazar in 1997, it immediately became one of the hottest restaurants in the country. Famous for its star-studded clientele, a beautiful room in the chic SoHo
neighborhood, and superbly executed food, Balthazar has been embraced by New Yorkers and visitors alike for its perfect evocation of a French brasserie.
The Balthazar Cookbook captures that energy, that style, and that cuisine, with recipes for
the most-loved and most-accessible French dishes: seafood ranging from the ultra-simple Moules and#224; la Marinière to more ambitious Bouillabaisse; chicken and game favorites that include Coq au Vin and Cassoulet; red-meat classics such as Braised
Short Ribs and Blanquette de Veau; sides like the perfect French Fries or sublime Macaroni Gratin; and finales that include Crème Brand#251;lée and Chocolate Pot de Crème. This is the best of French cooking, from one of the best-loved French restaurants
in the country.
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