Have we forgotten about French Brasserie food? With the emphasis on the highly unusual and too often the simply weird, the value of a simple dish like chicken casserole in red wine seems small. Yet surely most of us would rather eat a dish like that instead of micro-basil leaves on an emulsion of foraged lichen, or whatever is regarded as high culinary art today (but probably not tomorrow).
The pleasure of a proper terrine or a goat’s cheese salad is absolute; you don’t need to genuflect to chef nor would he or she expect it. They would be surprised to even hear you say that you liked it, of course you did, they are professionals and this their job, merde!
They soldier on these Brasserie chefs because they know that they’ll still be serving their food when the latest star chef is pawning his sous vide machine for crack, his ego in tatters.
Daniel Galmiche, Executive Chef at The Vineyard at Stockcross (and Relais & Chateau Rising Chef of the Year 2011) is a chef who knows about flavour. His French Brasserie Cookbook: The Heart of French Home Cooking is his hymn to the eternal verities – a good stock, simple but fresh ingredients, straightforward cooking methods and an honest heart.
There are 100 classic Brasserie recipes with ones for starters, mains, side dishes and desserts. Classic dishes that sum up Brasserie cooking. The Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Lavender has the waft of Provence about it, while Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass with Caramelised Lemon and Basil Oil makes you think of the Atlantic coast. There’s a Tarte Tatin of course, enlivened with Rosemary and Toasted Almonds, Sautéed Potatoes with parsley and garlic and a Black Pudding with Pears. This is food you want to eat.
Heston Blumenthal and James Martin both like this chef and his book, make of that what you will but it probably should be taken as a plus. Beautifully bound and clearly laid out, this is a book you’ll be using long after the fancier ones have become boring.