Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Russian
Le Bernardin Cookbook : Four-Star Simplicity
COZE, MAGUY LE
Published: September 1, 1998
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At Le Bernardin, seafood is always the star. From the day this posh restaurant opened in New York City, it was recognized for revolutionizing the way fish was prepared. Chef-owner Gilbert Le Coze and his sister, Maguy, quickly gained an
exalted four-star rating for their original, impeccable, exquisite food, which you can now reproduce at home using their recipes.
Le Coze avoided using classic sauces because, lacking professional training, he did not know how to make them.
Instead, he created Carpaccio of Tuna, a kind of paper-thin sashimi on a plate, Baked Sea Urchins, and Roast Monkfish on a Bed of Sautéed Savory Cabbage with Bacon, a dish that is both rustic and rich. When Gilbert died in 1994, at just 48, his chef de
cuisine, Eric Ripert, stepped in and has continued to dazzle with his own fish dishes. Ripert, who had a classical chef's training, is especially innovative in his Poached Lobster in Lemongrass-Ginger Bouillon. If following three pages of meticulously
clear instructions for handling the lobsters, puréeing their coral, and much more is not for you, try the salmon fillets served in a magically cream-free but creamy lemon sauce, the Roast Cod Niçoise flavored with basil, capers, and black olives, or the
saffron-and-orange-perfumed Fish Soup.
Le Bernardin's desserts are famous, too. A reasonably competent cook can create ecstasy with the Bitter Chocolate Soufflé Cake, lavish with dark chocolate, butter, eggs, and just one tablespoon of
If you read mostly cookbooks, the spirited dialogue between Ripert and Maguy, their anecdotes of culinary adventures, and characteristically Gallic commentary may divert you. Typically, Maguy says, "My favorite way to eat calamari is with a
nice green salad. How American!" Seems the French only ate a lettuce salad with meats until nouvelle cuisine came along in the 1970s, and Maguy still considers it an aberration with seafood. Just as her taste has changed, this book may open you to new
experiences with seafood. --Dana Jacobi
Le Bernardin, New York's only four-star seafood restaurant, is renowned not only for its impeccable cuisine but also for its understated elegance. Now the Le Bernardin experience is
made accessible to everyone in more than 100 meticulously formulated and carefully tested recipes for all courses, from appetizers through dessert.
The food served in Le Bernardin's beautiful dining room is as subtle and refined as any in the
world, and because fish and shellfish are often best turned out quickly and simply, the recipes in this book can be reproduced by any home cook.
Maguy Le Coze traces the origins of Le Bernardin's "simplicity" to her late brother, Gilbert, the
restaurant's legendary cofounder and first chef: "Gilbert was not a classically trained chef," she says. "He had never been to culinary school. When he cooked, he made things he liked, and things he knew. He focused on the quality and freshness of the
fish. He made nages and vinaigrettes because he'd never made a hollandaise or a béarnaise. He focused on flavors that were delicate, subtle, herb-infused."
Today, Chef Eric Ripert carries on that tradition with dishes such as Poached Halibut on
Marinated Vegetables, Pan-Roasted Grouper with Wild Mushrooms and Artichokes, and Grilled Salmon with Mushroom Vinaigrette. And, of course, there are the desserts for which Le Bernardin is also so well known--from Chocolate Millefeuille to Honeyed Pear
and Almond Cream Tarts.
Essential to the experience of dining at Le Bernardin and to the Le Bernardin Cookbook are the dynamic and charming personalities of Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert, whose lively dialogue and colorful anecdotes shine from
these pages as brightly as the recipes themselves.
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