The Balthazar Cookbook

The Balthazar Cookbook

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by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson
     
 
When restaurateur Keith McNally and co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson opened Balthazar in 1997, it immediately became one of the hottest restaurants in the country. Famous for its star-studded clientele, a beautiful room in the chic SoHo neighborhood, and superbly executed food, Balthazar has been embraced by New Yorkers and visitors alike for its perfect evocation of

Overview

When restaurateur Keith McNally and co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson opened Balthazar in 1997, it immediately became one of the hottest restaurants in the country. Famous for its star-studded clientele, a beautiful room in the chic SoHo neighborhood, and superbly executed food, Balthazar has been embraced by New Yorkers and visitors alike for its perfect evocation of a French brasserie.

The Balthazar Cookbook captures that energy, that style, and that cuisine, with recipes for the most-loved and most-accessible French dishes: seafood ranging from the ultra-simple Moules à la Marinière to more ambitious Bouillabaisse; chicken and game favorites that include Coq au Vin and Cassoulet; red-meat classics such as Braised Short Ribs and Blanquette de Veau; sides like the perfect French Fries or sublime Macaroni Gratin; and finales that include Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Pot de Crème. This is the best of French cooking, from one of the best-loved French restaurants in the country.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The first thing I do whenever I plan a visit to New York is make a reservation at Balthazar; this is quite the best room in Manhattan."
Nigella Lawson

"I went for breakfast; I stayed till supper."
Bono 

"The brandade. The bouillabaisse. The frites. These are a few of the things I would want to cook every week from Balthazar, were it not infinitely more cheerful to eat them on site."
Joan Didion

"Keith McNally and his exceptional team have managed to consistently satisfy every American's dream of spending an evening or lunch or even breakfast somewhere in Paris without ever leaving the U.S.A."
Martha Stewart

"From the first moment, Balthazar felt like a place that had been part of the New York landscape for a hundred years."
Anna Wintour

"The talent and spirit of chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr are at the heart of this wonderful transported brasserie, which happens to be my favorite downtown restaurant."
Daniel Boulud

"The enchanting atmosphere of Balthazar combined with the rightness of the food and service together create an extraordinary restaurant."
Alice Waters 

"If Balthazar did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it."
Salman Rushdie

"Keith McNally is an old friend of mine and even I'm not treated that well."
Lorne Michaels

Publishers Weekly
Whether or not readers are familiar with Balthazar, Manhattan's booming, six-year-old brasserie, they're in for a delight. The restaurant's cookbook lifts the lid on the essence of French brasserie cooking, unearthing the secrets to making a deliciously sharp, perfectly melted gratin (use Swiss Gruy re, Emmentaler or Comt ); frying french fries (fry them once to cook them thoroughly, then again to crisp the exterior); burnishing sugar atop a creme br lee (it should "crack like thin ice"); and more. Art critic Hughes paints a brilliant portrait of Balthazar in his foreword, marveling at the unbelievable quantity of ingredients Balthazar tears through (40 pounds of mushrooms a day; 30 pounds of garlic a week) and the staff's ability to hide the kitchen's pressure cooker-like atmosphere from diners: "out on the floor it's all politeness, smiles, and yes-sir-no-sir, while backstage it's Jesus, where is it, get that fucking stuff over here, and where's the goddamn morels?" Home chefs need not be so stressed, as the authors (McNally owns the place; Nasr and Hanson are chefs) present clear and simple recipes for such classics as Salade Nicoise, Steak Tartare, Bouillabaisse, Coq au Vin, Duck Confit, Cassoulet and Steak Frites. Injecting a touch of humor (Frisee aux Lardons, normally a meal unto itself, could make a first course "for those who believe strongly in bacon fat"), the authors explain techniques, such as shucking oysters and cleaning leeks, and more obscure ingredients, such as Japanese bread crumbs and fines herbes. Like its food, Balthazar's cookbook is uncomplicated, elegant and timeless. 100 color, 40 b&w photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Balthazar is perhaps the most popular of restauranteur McNally's hip New York City eateries, which also include Pastis and Lucky Strike. In this attractively designed cookbook, McNally and his two chefs, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, both alums of Restaurant Daniel, with food writer Kathryn Kellinger, present the brasserie and bistro classics that Balthazar is known for, from Fris e aux Lardons and Rillettes la Fermiere to Roast Chicken for Two and, of course, Steak Frites. Well written and accessible, the recipes often include helpful tips for the home cook. Color and black-and-white photographs help convey the ambiance of the restaurant, and the foreword by art critic Robert Hughes, a devoted fan, provides additional context. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400046355
Publisher:
Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
418,758
Product dimensions:
7.71(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.92(d)

Read an Excerpt

ONION SOUP GRATINÉE

This simple and hearty soup, rich with burnished onions and sweet port, is topped with tangy Gruyère. Borrow a custom from Bordeaux and spill a little red wine into the bottom of your nearly empty soup bowl. The tradition, known as chabrot, dictates a quick swirl of wine into the tail-end of the hot broth and then a hearty gulp right from the bowl. Tradition does not dictate doing all of this while undressed, but rumor has it that it makes the soup taste even better. We've been too shy to try it.

Serves 6

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved through the stem end, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 quarts Chicken Stock (page 230)
1/2 cup port
6 slices of country bread, about 1 inch thick, toasted
2 cups Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, sauté until they reach a golden color, approximately 30 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce the wine by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Chicken Stock and simmer for 45 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.

Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup. Ladle the soup into 6 ovenproof bowls. Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid, and sprinkle 1/3 cup of Gruyère onto each slice. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crispy golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, about 3 minutes, before serving.

Meet the Author

KEITH MCNALLY has owned such famed New York City hotspots as the Odeon, Cafe Luxembourg, and Nell’s, as well as his current restaurants, Balthazar, Pravda, Pastis, Lucky Strike, and Schiller’s Liquor Bar. RIAD NASR and LEE HANSON are co-chefs at Balthazar, Pastis, and Schiller’s Liquor Bar. The lot of them live in New York City.

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The Balthazar Cookbook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book when visiting the USA and stumbled across a perfect little gem! It is a collection of all the recipes you will ever need. If you've ever dined in Paris Bistros and wondered how you'll ever attempt to match the taste and quality when back home then this is it. In a time where we are inundated with more culinary choices than ever this book is an oasis of perfection, calm and order. Not only is it a collection of the most tasty recipes ever but the layout is charming, the actual instructions, faultless and easy to follow and for me - a non-american - the measurements and ingredients are easily understood. ( I think it helps that Keith McNally is an Englishman by birth!) You may fill your book shelves with every new cookery book from every cuisine and every culture. Throw them all away. You only need this book to sit back happy, replete and in the shear contentment of eaten the best food ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The recipes in here will tax you a bit - they will take you outside the standard methods, ingredients and dishes of the average Bon Appetit and Gourmet variety. But the results! If you like to spend a good amount of time in a (reasonably well-equipped) kitchen with a good bottle of wine, to emerge some time later with really authentic-tasting brasserie food - and like to bask in the wows and admiration of your guests - rush out and get this. You won't believe how good a chef this will make you - and you will learn some very professional techniques and secrets with ease. You have to respect the people at Balthazar for this gift and vicarious trip to their kitchens. One warning - be sure to plan ahead. Many of the dishes require special ingredients and overnight prep. You can't decide at 4pm you're going to cook from this book for dinner at 8. Nonetheless cooking with this is like having a teacher by your side, walking you through. There are also recipes for special sauces and stocks. Be sure to make them and don't cop out with store-bought - especially the veal stock, perhaps the best secret of all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK FILLED WITH EXCITING RECIPES. THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE CLEAR, THE INGREDIENTS EASILY AVAILABLE AND THE PICTURES ARE GREAT. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THE BOOK AND PLAN TO GIVE MANY AS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO TO THE RESAURANT AND COMPARE MY SHORT RIBS TO THEIRS!!!! ENJOY