Pierre Franey Cooks With His Friends

Pierre Franey Cooks With His Friends

by Pierre Franey

For this book, the late Pierre Franey—-originator of the popular "60-minute Gourmet" column for The New York Times, author of thirteen books, and star of the popular PBS cooking shows "Cuisine Rapid," "Cooking in America," and "Cooking in France"—traveled throughout Europe, cooking with seventeen friends. All are top chefs or restaurateurs who have

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For this book, the late Pierre Franey—-originator of the popular "60-minute Gourmet" column for The New York Times, author of thirteen books, and star of the popular PBS cooking shows "Cuisine Rapid," "Cooking in America," and "Cooking in France"—traveled throughout Europe, cooking with seventeen friends. All are top chefs or restaurateurs who have recognized the need to cook in a lighter, healthier way, both for their costumers and for themselves. In France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, these chefs combine moderate amounts of butter, cheese, and oil with fresh local produce and masterful combinations of herbs to create healthy, satisfying, and delicious food.

Among Franey's friends were Paul Bocuse, Michel Guerard, and Marc Meneau in France; Fredy Girardet in Switzerland; Pierrs Wynants of Comme Chez Soi in Belgium; and Antonio Belles of the tapas bar in the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. These world-famous chefs provide both classic and innovative recipes, such as Bocuse's Black Bass with a Potato Crust, and Guerard's Pan con Tomate, a staple of Catalonian cuisine. Franey contributed some one hundred of his own health-conscious recipes, inspired by watching his friends cook and visiting their local markets. These include such tempting dishes as Spicy Shrimp and Squid Salad, Penne with Baby Spinach and Fresh Peas, and Sauteed Apples in Calvados.

The result of Franey's journey is an international sampling of delicious health-conscious cooking from great European chefs and from Graney himself, who was one of America's most loved culinary figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Sadly, Franey, perhaps best known as the "60-Minute Gourmet," died shortly before this book was finished. His daughter Claudia, who'd been working as his collaborator, completed the book, which now stands as a tribute to the popular and personable chef. Filled with stunning color photographs, this volume is the companion to the upcoming PBS series Pierre Franey's Cooking in Europe. Franey visited and cooked with some of Europe's best chefs-e.g., Fredy Girardet in Switzerland and Michelin stars Marc Meneau and Michel Guerard in France-in search of low-fat dishes. There are several recipes from each chef, along with those Franey developed for the series and other favorites, 125 in all. A pleasure to read and to cook from, this is highly recommended. [BOMC selection.]

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Potatoes Au Gratin

Yield: 8-10 Servings

These potatoes are traditionally made with milk and cream. Instead, I use chicken broth, which has almost no fat.

2 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups sliced white onion

2 1/2 cups fresh or canned chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Comte or Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch slices with a slicer—they must be of uniform size. Place them in a mixing bowl with cold water to remove the starch. Drain thoroughly.

3. Rub the bottom of a large flameproof gratin dish with the oil and add the potatoes and onion. Spread out evenly. Pour the broth over the potatoes. Place the bay leaf in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle with several gratings of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, spreading it evenly over the top. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Scallop and Shrimp Salad

Yield: 4 servings

This recipe calls for tiny cooked and shelled European shrimp, but tiny Maine shrimp can be substituted. If not available, use other small shrimp. It is important that the scallops be very fresh, because they are not cooked and are placed in the marinade only briefly.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon aged red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

16 large, very fresh sea scallops, cut crosswise into 4 even slices

4 cups small, tender mixed salad greens, such as mesclun and mache

3 cups coarsely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, dill, tarragon, chervil, and a few mint leaves

1 pound small shrimp, cooked and peeled

1. Make the marinade: Heat the oil to lukewarm in a small saucepan, add the basil, remove, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Strain. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend well.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a large bowl, combine the mustard and vinegar and blend well with a wire whisk. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Place the scallop slices in a large bowl and add the marinade. Toss well, making sure they are well coated. Let stand 15 minutes.

4. Just before serving, add the salad greens and fresh herbs to the vinaigrette. Toss well.

5. To serve, divide the salad greens among 4 large serving plates by piling up the greens in the center of each plate. Place 16 scallops in overlapping slices in a circle around each mound. Place the shrimp around the edges in small mounds, dividing them equally among the 4 plates, and pour the leftover marinade over.

NOTE: If you need to cook the shrimp, here's an easy way to do it: Put the shrimp in a pot of water with a little thyme, a bay leaf, a few parsley sprigs, a dash of Tabasco sauce, salt, and a few peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and peel when they have cooled down.

Baked Rice with Red Peppers

Yield: 4 servings

I prefer to use converted (parboiled) rice. After cooking, the grains remain slightly firm, retain their shape, and do not stick together or become gluey.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup converted rice

1 1/2 cups fresh or canned chicken broth or water

2 sprigs parsley

1 sprig thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

1/2 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof saucepan and cook the onion, red pepper, and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir briefly over low heat until all the grains are coated with oil.

3. Stir in the broth, making sure there are no lumps in the rice. Add the parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne. Cover with a close-fitting lid and place in the oven.

4. Bake the rice exactly 17 minutes. Remove the cover and discard the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme sprigs. Stir with a 2-pronged fork and serve.

Excerpted from Pierre Franey Cooks with His Friends. Copyright (c) 1997 by The Estate of Pierre Franey. Reprinted with permission by Artisan.

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