Gordon Hamersley's Bistro Cooking at Home
makes a much-explored culinary style newly exciting. Hamersley, chef-owner of Hamersley's Bistro in Boston, has won praise for fare that, though straightforward, is often flubbed, due to poor ingredients and technique. Bistro Cooking
repeats his success, providing 150 classic and innovative recipes for irresistible dishes like Tian of Summer Vegetables Provençale and Spicy Lamb Shanks with Couscous and Preserved Lemons. Immediately appealing--open the book to any recipe and you'll want to start cooking--the book also boasts cook-friendly asides like "How to Make a Great Vinaigrette."
The organization is equally enticing. Beginning with "The Art of the Salad," which includes a particularly good version of frisée salad with lardons and poached egg, and "Small Plates," like Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Sandwich, the book then pursues savory tarts, gratins and galettes, such as Fresh Goat Cheese, Roasted Beet and Walnut Tart; starchy dishes including Crabmeat Risotto with Peas and Mint and bistro-style fish like the quick-and-easy Halibut with White Wine, Shallots and Basil. Meat and vegetables are equally well represented--there's a mini-repertoire of roast chicken and duck confit dishes--as are simple but "finished" desserts like Souffléed Lemon Custard and Chocolate Mousse Cake. With a useful section on techniques (moderate-temperature "walk away roasting" ensures juicer results, says the author), good pantry-stocking advice, and color photos that further excite kitchen action. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Serving Bostonians some of the best French fare in the city at Hamersley's Bistro, James Beard Award winner Hamersley presents his hearty yet simple dishes for all occasions, like Walk-Away Roast Chicken with Onions and Potatoes or the elegant Pot-Roasted Pork with Prunes, Armagnac, and Walnuts. Instructions are succinct and helpful, for example how to test for doneness in Fiona's Easy Halibut with White Whine, Shallots, and Basil (when the fish is cooked, the bones can easily be picked). Bistro staples like Onion Soup Au Gratin, Mushroom Duxelles, and Tian of Summer Vegetables Provencal are familiar to most serious home cooks (thanks to Hamersley's teacher, Wolfgang Puck) and are classics that, like a good trench coat or pair of black slacks, never go out of style. Home cooks can't go wrong with Mixed Greens with Fried Walnut-Coated Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette, followed by Grilled Salmon with Peas, Potatoes, and Mint. There is an especially pleasing chapter on Savory Tarts, Gratins, and Galettes and plenty of vegetarian options like Autumn Vegetable Stew with Cheddar-Garlic Crumble Crust and Creamy Gratin of Celery Root, Onions, and Black Truffles. Hamersley and Smart (an editor at Fine Cooking magazine) include a generous dessert chapter with an assortment of tarts, such as Apple Tarte Tatin, cakes, like Chocolate Mousse Cake and others, like Profiteroles. While there's little new here, this volume-with its bold photos and bistro menu-inspired design-makes a fine, comprehensive bistro cookbook.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.