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The Balthazar Cookbook

Written by Keith McNallyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Keith McNally, Riad NasrAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Riad Nasr and Lee HansonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lee Hanson

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cookbook (10) french (4)
cookbook (10) french (4)
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.

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.
Keith McNally

About Keith McNally

Keith McNally - The Balthazar Cookbook
Keith McNally was born in London and moved to New York in 1975 where he worked in a series of restaurant jobs from oyster-shucker to busboy to general layabout. In 1980 he opened his first restaurant, The Odeon. Since then he has opened Cafe Luxembourg, Nell's, Lucky Strike, Pravda, Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's, Morandi, Minetta Tavern, Pulinos's as well as Balthazar in London. He's also written and directed two feature films, End Of The Night and Far From Berlin. In 2010 he was mistakenly given the James Beard Award for Outstanding U.S. Restaurateur.

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