Despite Daniel being a Michelin-starred chef, he put together a collection of favourite recipes that are accessible to any keen cook. Heston Blumenthal wrote the foreword to the book, and says: ‘It is practical, unfussy and easy to use but, most satisfyingly, it is full of inspiring recipes that will immediately transport you to a French breasserie in your own home’.
He starts off with a few basics like stocks, sauces and pastry which are essential in many classic French dishes, and then moves through starters, meat, poultry and game, fish and shellfish, vegetarian dishes, side dishes, salads and desserts.
I love chefs’ cookbooks. I find their seasonings and flavour ratios generally spot on, and I always pick up so many tips and tricks as I read through their pages.
From simple light snacks like croque monsieur and madame to hearty meat dishes like cassoulet and lamb shanks braised in red wine, there are so many I want to try. The dessert chapter is not extensive, but I’m satisfied with the classics like chocolate mousse with orange, fruit, lemon apple tart, creme caramel and crepes.
The photography is lovely, so it’s a feast for the eyes as well.
Nicoise salad is one of my favourites. I love all the sharp pungent flavours and mixed textures. The tuna sucks up the delicious dressing when it’s drizzled over when warm.
Daniel suggests that this classic recipe from Nice can also be made with artichokes and broad beans if you want to do something a little different.
nicoise salad with grilled tuna steaks
- 1 red pepper
- 320 g /11 1/4oz new potatoes
- 200 g/7oz green beans trimmed
- 4 eggs or 8 quails eggs
- 4 tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 white or red onion sliced into fine rings
- 80 g / 23/4 oz black olives
- 100 g anchovies
- 250 g fresh tuna streaks from a sustainable source
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot (or half a small white onion) finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely sliced (I squashed)
- 90 ml / 1/3 cup olive oil plus extra for frying
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F, then cook the whole pepper for 30 minutes. Remove, place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool.
- Bring 3 pots of salted water to the boil. In one pot, cook the potatoes for 15 – 20 minutes until tender and you can easily push a knife through. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Cook the green beans for 10 minutes in a second pan (I found 5 minutes more than enough as I like them crunchy) and then refresh under cold water.
- In the third pan hard-boil the eggs for 8 minutes, or quail eggs for 4 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.
- To make the dressing, whisk al the ingredients together in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Peel, deseed and slice the pepper lengthways. Peel the potatoes and cut in chunks or halves. Peel the eggs and cut into quarters. Arrange the beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions and eggs on a large plate and top with the olives and anchovies.
- Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan (I used a griddle pan). Brush the fish with olive oil and cook the fish 1-2 minutes per side until browned on the outside but still rare on the inside. Put the tuna on top of the salad and pour the dressing over and serve immediately.
French Brasserie Cookbook is published by Nourish.
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