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A Chefs Chef Masterfull
on 15 September 2013
Bruno Loubet's new book, Mange Tout, was the inspiration. And a delightful and inspirational collection it is, I have been waiting many years after his last publication (Bistro Bruno cooking from Odean and beforehand Chicken)
The starting point with Bruno is the south west of France well Gascony to be exact like many other great French Chefs.
Coming from within the Bordeaux region, Loubet is absolutely an omnivore.
The south west of France is, after all, the home of duck confit and foie gras. Vegetarianism is not high in the menu.
Although I have been well informed that Bruno's new restaurant (which I hope to visit when I am in Bleighty) gives a much greater prominence to vegetables, and I like Grain as a name or is it to be a brand?
However, back to this book.
It didn't take much of a browse before I saw dishes that I wanted to try.
Mackerel with salted and compressed watermelon and a lime mayonnaise is one that most certainly will be done, to give but a single example.
And then there's lobster with mango - another pairing that you know, instantly, work superbly.
Here are some other great creations: Just great clean & simple pairings
Salmon confit with asparagus, new potatoes and a green gazpacho
Of course, it's enormously seasonal - and seriously worships the produce.
The salmon is confited in olive oil - and works wonderfully - while the new potatoes and asparagus are cooked as you would expect the green gazpacho, which includes avocado, spring onion, green pepper, green chilli, olive oil, basil and mint is a wonderful sauce - and a delightfully fragrant salsa it is too, with just a little kick.
You will require a cook's thermometer to maintain the temperature of the oil - to keep the gauge steady at 50-55˚C, but it would be difficult to completely muck this up.
Bruno concludes the recipe by saying that he garnishes with whatever herbs are available.
Next up rhubarb Clerkenwell mess - which I have actually eaten at Zetters Hotel, Bistrot Bruno Loubet in...? well, err, Clerkenwell.
The mess is made with meringue, a rhubarb jelly and a rhubarb compot, and while the compote is really quite sweet, having been cooked very briskly, with plenty of sugar and also orange juice, the addition of pink grapefruit segments keeps the whole thing very nicely balanced.
When ever I see or hear the words `mange tout' I cannot without thinking of Del Boy's glorious mis-pronounciation in an effort to impress in Only Fools and Horses.
Bruno's new book has serious elements of fusion cookery, (no not that poorly executed mid 90s confusion mix & match kinda stuff) I mean they do not seem to be there for the sake of it.
They're subtle and seriously considered - not just some excuse to combine a random series of ingredients.
On the basis of what I have cooked from the book, the instructions are clear, but you should assume a certain level of knowledge.
Bruno's food is wonderful - and that's exactly why I pre-ordered this book some six months ago, A great advantage from Amazon.
Suffice it to say that Raymond Blanc rates Bruno very highly (He worked Under Him and Also Pierre Koffmann).
I would say that if you buy just one cookery book this year, you won't go far wrong with this one Enjoy