Bistro Cooking at Home
By Gordon Hamersley
(Clarkson Potter, Hardcover, 9780767912761, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 14, 2003
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Bistro cooking—bold and full-flavored—is more like the best home cooking than restaurant fare, featuring slow-cooked stews, exquisitely roasted chickens, perfectly seared steaks, vibrant salads, fresh fruit tarts, and comforting custards. Now Gordon Hamersley of acclaimed Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston helps home cooks bring these classic dishes into their own kitchens.
Bistro Cooking at Home offers a complete menu of versatile selections for cooks who crave sophisticated but easy-to-prepare comfort food. Many of the dishes allow for “walk-away cooking,” such as stews, roasts, or braises. And many of these same dishes taste best if prepared a day or two ahead, making entertaining foolproof. Although the accent is French, dishes such as hamburgers stuffed with blue cheese and Pear Cranberry Crumble reflect Gordon Hamersley’s all-American roots.
Start a bistro meal at home with Hamersley’s classic Onion Soup au Gratin or signature Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Sandwich. For a main course there is roast chicken (you can cook it ahead and reheat it under the broiler), New England Bouillabaisse with Rouille and Croutons, or Moroccan lamb shanks. Pasta, polenta, and risotto are given French finesse in dishes such as Lemon-Scented Risotto with Morels and Chives and Oven-Baked Penne with Onions, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese. The Savory Tarts, Gratins, and Galettes chapter holds such richly satisfying dishes as Portobello Mushroom and Roquefort Galette or Creamy Bistro Potato and Leek Gratin, each practically a meal in itself. Even vegetables are made exciting in dishes ranging from Roasted Artichokes with Garlic and Pancetta Bread Crumbs to Garlicky Mashed Potato Cakes. Bistro-inspired desserts include Maple Crème Brûlée, Profiteroles with Easy Chocolate Sauce, and a dense Chocolate Truffle Cake.
All the main dishes are accompanied by knowledgeable, down-to-earth wine recommendations from Fiona Hamersley, Gordon’s wife, who runs the wine service at the restaurant. With the Hamersleys’s expert guidance every step of the way, you can re-create the romance of bistro dining—at home.
After training with Wolfgang Puck at the famed Ma Maison in Los Angeles, GORDON HAMERSLEY lived for a year in Nice, learning everything he could about French bistros. Ever since he and his wife Fiona opened Hamersley’s Bistro in 1987, numerous publications (including Zagat’s) have regularly ranked it among Boston’s top restaurants. In 1988, Food & Wine named Hamersley one of the country’s best new chefs and in 1995, he received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast. He lives outside of Boston. JOANNE McALLISTER SMART is a freelance food writer and has been an editor at Fine Cooking magazine. She lives and cooks in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
“Reading Bistro Cooking at Home is like having a productive conversation with a great chef who is truly on your side. Gordon Hamersley’s recipes are as honest and generous as his wonderful restaurant, and each is seasoned with the kind of insightful tips that will make his food sing in your home kitchen. I’d crave the book for the chicken recipes alone.”
--Danny Meyer, coauthor, The Union Square Café Cookbook
“More than anyone in America, Gordon Hamersley deserves credit for bringing classic French bistro cooking to prominence in America at his namesake restaurant in Boston. What other chefs have copied from him over the past two decades is now between the covers of this splendid book for everyone to enjoy–recipes full of deep taste and strong conviction, with plenty of passion to go around.”
--John Mariani, Esquire magazine
“This is a great tale of food, and of cooking and dining, overflowing with the poetry of all the senses. The richness of each image, each word, is–like the best literature–intoxicating, and is at times as intensely local as it is universal. This eloquent book is filled with respect for its subjects–ingredients, recipes, seasons of the year, chefs, and diners. I’d as soon read this book as a novel or collection of poems or stories, and
found myself unable to put it down.”
--Rick Bass, author of The Hermit’s Story and The Roadless Yaak
“Gordon Hamersley is a cook’s cook–his food is earthy, honest, and deeply satisfying. Only the very best chefs are unafraid of simplicity (Broiled Tomatoes with Crispy Breadcrumbs) while being courageous enough to offer the unexpected (Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Sandwich). His roast chicken recipe alone is worth the price of the book.”
--Christopher Kimball, Publisher, Cook’s Illustrated, and author of The Cook’s Bible