Thomas Keller, the chef/proprietor of the French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley, is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting it right. And this, his first cookbook, is every bit as satisfying as a French Laundry meal itself: a series of small, impeccable, highly refined, intensely focused courses.
Most dazzling is how simple Keller’s methods are: squeegeeing the moisture from the skin on fish so it sautées beautifully; poaching eggs in a deep pot of water for the perfect shape; the initial steeping in the shell that makes cooking raw lobster out of the shell a cinch; using vinegar as a flavor enhancer; and the repeated washing of bones for stock for the cleanest, clearest tastes.
From innovative soup techniques, to the proper way to cook green vegetables, to secrets of great fish cookery, to the creation of breathtaking desserts; from beurre monté to foie gras au torchon, to a wild and thoroughly unexpected take on coffee and doughnuts, The French Laundry Cookbook captures, through recipes, essays, profiles, and extraordinary photography, one of America’s great restaurants, its great chef, and the food that makes both unique.
The book’s 150 superlative recipes are exact recipes from the French Laundry kitchen. No shortcuts have been taken, no critical steps ignored, and all have been thoroughly tested in home kitchens. If you can’t get to the French Laundry, you can now re-create at home the very experience Wine Spectator magazine described as “as close to dining perfection as it gets.”
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