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The Balthazar CookbookOrder "The Balthazar Cookbook" today!


by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr, and Lee Hanson
Released November, 2003
Clarkson Potter/Publishers
ISBN: 1-4000-4635-1

When it came to reviewing this cookbook, I put aside the notion of "never judging a book by its cover" was the cover of this book that was one of the first things that attracted me to it.  Its simplicity, the color red, and secondly, the Balthazar name itself.

I instinctively knew that this was a great cookbook .... don't ask me how....I just did.  When I opened up the book, it was no surprise to see that the typeface, format and layout of the recipes and photos were just what I had expected! And then I got to read The Forward by Robert Hughes whose descriptive words made me feel as though I had dined at Balthazar hundreds of times and that I knew the owner, Keith McNally, personally.

The fact that I haven't as yet had the opportunity of actually dining at Balthazar, hasn't stopped me from enjoying the food by the ten-plus recipes that I've cooked from the pages of The Balthazar Cookbook to date.  As a professional cook, educator and all around food enthusiast, when I find a cookbook or single recipe that I just love, I'm in my own version of foodie-heaven.  I've always loved French brasserie style foods such as perfectly fried frites (French fries on page 170) moules (mussels on page 50) and the classic Coq au Vin (an old rooster - a Cock - in red wine on page 108).  This cookbook gives us all of these foods in easy to follow and well written recipes and so many more.  Believe it or not, they serve more than 750 pounds of their famous French Fries each day!

Among the fish recipes, those that I've tried so far have been superb - Sautéed Skate (page 54), Roasted Halibut with Crushed Potatoes, Almonds and Tomatoes (page 79), and Flounder a la Provençale (page 58) have all been repeated twice so far and I've even incorporated the ingredients/techniques from the Flounder recipe's using the "a la Provençale" ingredients using fish and shellfish instead of the flounder.

I've already given The Balthazar Cookbook as a gift to several friends who are thoroughly enjoying replicating the wonderful food served at the restaurant and they all say that the food and recipes remind them of the brasseries they've eaten at in France.  I think you too will be able to bring this experience to your own table.

Keith McNally is one of the most successful and well-known restaurateurs in the country. He has owned such famed New York City hotspots as The Odeon, Café Luxembourg, and Nell's, as well as his current restaurants Lucky Strike, Pravda, Pastis and of course Balthazar.  His most recent venture is Schiller's Liquor Bar.  McNally grew up in London and lives in New York City.

Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson are chefs de cuisine at Balthazar, Pastis, and Schiller's Liquor Bar.  They also live in New York City.




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