6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A comprehensive bible to the cuisine of French bistro cooking.,
This review is from: Bouchon (Hardcover)
A few years ago, while buying a book I needed, I added this one, which had been sitting on my wish list for years. Thomas Keller's Bouchon, published in 2004.
What makes it truly great is that it is a comprehensive bible to a classic cuisine, and that cuisine is French bistro cooking.
Thomas Keller is, of course, the chef/proprietor of The French Laundry in California's Napa Valley, one of the most famous restaurants in the world.
Bouchon is not that place, nor that lofty food. It's a restaurant that Keller styled after the bistros of Paris, featuring "ordinary" French comfort food, precisely prepared. He notes in his introduction that in America, the word "bistro" has become so muddied that it "doesn't really mean anything more specific than `casual.'" Bouchon is his rectification of this misconception, and in this book he defines both the cooking techniques and the overall ambiance of French bistro fare -- everything from hors d'aeuvres and oysters through onion soup, potato and leek soup, vinaigrette, frisée salad, quiches, oysters, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, escargots, duck confit, steak, french fries, pork trotters, gnocchi, mussels, a good many fish preparations, leg of lamb and veal stew, right down to the chocolate mousse and raspberry napoleon.
This is much more than just a recipe collection. Throughout it, Keller has included articles detailing "the importance of" things like potted foods, brown butter, and slow cooking. He elucidates key principles behind bistro cuisine, such as how complex flavors are created by proper braising, and how pork fat differs from beef fat. Sidebars add additional insights into everything from cornichons to bistro seating and mirrors.
There's enough here to you busy for years to come, and the great thing about ideas and techniques this classic is that they can be adapted and employed in many other situations. I love having books like this one on the shelf that I know I'll go back to time and time again. Happy cooking....