Book review of the Café Boulud Cookbook by Daniel Boulud Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Cafe Boulud Cookbook by Daniel Boulud

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane

Café Boulud is a special place for food lovers. The food is 'real'. It is not overworked or over processed. The true flavours shine through.
The spirit of the restaurant has been captured in this excellent book that has been co-written by Dorrie Greenspan.
As with the restaurant, the book is divided into the menu's four sections - la tradition, la saison, le voyage and le potager. These allow people to order from a traditional French menu, a seasonal menu that highlights the best of the season's produce, a menu that highlights food from other cultures (mainly Spain and China when the book was written, but the restaurant menu now also travels to Vietnam and Mexico among others) and the final one highlighting vegetarian options.
The recipe descriptions are very detailed which helps in executing them in the home kitchen. However, none of them are at all daunting because the descriptions are so good it is easy to implement them. Each recipe is also matched to a wine style to maximise the enjoyment of the dish.
One of the first recipes is Potage Parisien with Sorrel Cream which is basically a simple, yet delicious, potato and leek soup lifted to new heights through the addition of a tangy sorrel purée.
The next time sorrel makes an appearance in the recipes is for the classic Troigros dish of flash-cooked salmon with a sorrel sauce. Boulud spends some time telling the story of the invention of this dish in the Troigros restaurant in Roanne and the fuss it caused as the harbinger of nouvelle cuisine. Once again this recipe is quite straight-forward except for the thin-slicing of the salmon fillets. The acidic sourness of the sorrel combined with the richness of the cream makes a perfect accompaniment to the almost-raw salmon.
We were also delighted to find a recipe for the wonderful Tarte Tropézienne that we have admired on our trips through Provence (it was invented in St Tropez). He also provides another recipe that we love from this area, namely the sweet tart made from Swiss Chard (we can still taste the one we sampled at La Merenda in Nice on our latest trip!).
He then moves on to seasonal dishes with one for braised brisket with turnips and onions being a wonderful winter warmer.
In le voyage you can try Asian-style chicken soup or duck dumplings in broth or a lovely white gazpacho made from grapes. In le potager there is a plethora of recipes for those who prefer their dishes without meat (an oven roasted vegetable casserole is given flavour through the caramelisation process that occurs when the vegetables are roasted).
Overall this is a wonderful book that has been designed for home cooking - Boulud is a great communicator as well as a great chef.
   - Independent commentary on the Web since 1996

Copyright | Disclaimer| Privacy Policy