Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola opened the doors of Boulevard in San Francisco in 1993, and fans have been waiting ever since for just this cookbook. A bigger and better payoff for all that patience is hard to imagine. Boulevard
glows on a table top like burnished gold, and suggestions of epic meals seep out from beneath its covers. "We cook because we love to feed people and also because we love the process of cooking," the authors explain in their opening statement. "We don't think for a minute we've invented a new cuisine or discovered a new approach to cooking--only a never-ending quest for what's delicious."
The structure of the book is as classic as many of the underlying cooking techniques--Salads, Soups, and Starters give way to chapters on Fish, Poultry and Game, Meat, and Desserts. A central dish surrounded by its sides or segments renders several recipes per page, making this a book of careful perusal. Mediterranean Mussels with Panzanella and Arugula, for example, gives us recipes for panzanella, the Italian bread salad, for the mussels' poaching medium, a fennel confit, saffron sauce, and arugula salad. Among the soups you'll find White Corn, Roasted Ratatouille, Braised Chestnut, Provencal Fish, and Artichoke Soup as well as the dozen side recipes that help elevate each dish. Ingredients are carefully delineated, followed by chefs' notes, kitchen and shopping notes (how to buy the best scallops, for example), then the cooking method for each piece of the flavor puzzle. Some cooking experience is necessary. There are some challenging dishes between these pages. But new cooks should not shy away. Boulevards establishes a level of culinary rigor to which the best cooks can aspire.
If you can find the main ingredient, Glazed Veal Sweetbreads in Potato Crust with chanterelles and a red wine sauce is a standout appetizer. Pan Roasted Halibut Fillets and Cheeks takes full advantage of morel mushrooms and crisp spring vegetables. Don't miss the Buttermilk-brined Fried Little Chickens with cream biscuits, a trip South for Cornish game hens. Beef shortribs are elevated to new heights with "Steamship" Short Ribs Bourguignon. You might want to finish with Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with caramel corn ice cream and caramel sauce. In each and every case the main theme is flavor, the attack is simple, the effect totally satisfying and elegant.
Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola have distilled between the covers of Boulevard their years of combined efforts in the commercial kitchen, translating for the home kitchen. Their friendship, good humor, and fierce determination to achieve the best flavors imaginable tumble out of these pages. --Schuyler Ingle
From the Publisher
Features 75 signature recipes and gorgeous full-color photography from Boulevard San Francisco s premier restaurant.
In 2001, chef Nancy Oakes received the James Beard Foundation s award for Best Chef in California.
Boulevard is a five-time Zagat winner for Most Popular Restaurant in San Francisco.