Bobby Flay Brings “American” Brasserie Food To Your Table

There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with getting something right that could have gone horribly wrong.

BUY IT! - Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors

I’ve been noticing lately that too many things have become unnecessarily complex. Complicated without reason. More difficult than they need to be and happy about it. I find a lot of cookbooks to be that way. A seemingly simple dish is suddenly transformed into a colossal pain in the ass just after you’ve diced the first stalk of celery. Sound familiar?

Thankfully, this isn’t one of those things. This thing is easy. It’s simple, but, at the same time elegant enough to be enjoyed by those outside of your immediate family. It’s one of those things that when it’s completed you still have enough strength to lift your own fork. A pleasure.

We all know Bobby Flay, Not personally of course, but, through the magic of food television. Whether he’s challenging a Memphis BBQ whiz to a pulled pork “Throwdown” or doing some old school outdoor grillin’ with Jack McDavid, Bobby always makes it look easy.

Almost every cookbook out these days seems to have a theme. It appears to be tougher than ever to release a cookbook that encompasses a whole range of styles and types of dishes. Most of these new releases have a “plot”. They’ve become specialized. And, Bobby’s new book is no different. American Brasserie cuisine.

Bar Americain, is one of his most recent restaurant ventures. It’s a hybrid of sorts. A French brasserie look with distinctly American food. A great combination if it’s done right. And, as you would imagine, it is. The book, Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America’s Great Flavors, aims to bring that same cuisine right into your home. And, it succeeds.

It’s packed with over one hundred recipes and an equal amount of mouthwatering food images. These are broken down into the customary and usual parts. Starting with cocktails and ending somewhere around dessert. It manages to catch everything in between. There is even a nifty little brunch chapter towards the back.

Crumbled Blue Cheese

I’m going to give the Boston Lettuce Salad a whirl. It looks pretty amazing. It has bacon, a poached egg and buttermilk blue cheese dressing. How could this be anything but delicious?

Now when you check out the ingredient list and then the directions, you’re going to say, “are you joking”, this looks like a bear. Not so. Most of the recipes in this book look WAY more difficult then they actually are to prepare. The recipes seem to be a touch detailed. I think it stems from an effort to be complete and make sure that you have the best chance for a successful outcome. Those aren’t bad intentions. But, trust me, you can make any of these dishes.

Blender

Oh, did I forget to mention that you’re going to need a blender? You’re going to need a blender.

I made the Buttermilk-Blue Cheese Dressing and the White Wine Vinaigrette in the morning, so it would be easy to put it all together for a casual lunch (I also cooked the bacon ahead).

Perfectly Cooked Bacon

Here’s How To Do It

BUTTERMILK-BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
Ingredients
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour crème
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

Method
Place the first three ingredients in a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined. With the motor still running, slowly add the blue cheese. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

WHITE WINE VINAIGRETTE
Ingredients
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/3 cup canola oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

Method
Whisk together the first three ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.

OK, neither of those first two things are that tough right. Both of the above can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. I recommend that. It makes for less hassle when you’re constructing the final dish.

BOSTON LETTUCE SALAD
Ingredients
1/4 lb. thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
3 radishes, thin sliced
2 oz. Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped fine

Method
In a medium pan cooked the bacon over medium heat until golden brown and the fat has been rendered. About 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool.

To poach the eggs, bring 1 quart of water and the vinegar to a simmer in a deep sauté pan. Break the eggs, one at a time into a ramekin or small dish and carefully slide the eggs into the water. Simmer until the whites are set, but, the yolks are still runny. About 3 minutes. Transfer cooked eggs to a paper towel to drain.

Put a large dollop of the buttermilk-blue cheese dressing in the center of a large dinner plate. Place the lettuce leaves in a large bowl and toss with half of the white wine vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange lettuce leaves on top of blue cheese dressing.

Place an egg on top of the arranged lettuce. Place bacon and radishes on the plates and drizzle with a little more of the white wine vinaigrette. Add the blue cheese crumbles and chives.

Plate and serve to your soon to be happy guests.

Serves 4

Boston Lettuce Salad

Recipe adapted from Boston Lettuce Salad, Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson , Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America’s Great Flavors, Clarkson Potter

TIP: Getting the cooked poached egg off of the paper towel is a little tricky. I used a slotted spoon to remove each of the eggs from the water. I made sure that they were drained well before placing the egg on top of the salad. This seemed to work great and no watery mess on the lettuce.

The Bottom Line: The marketplace is flooded with cookbooks by celebrity chefs and wannabe celebrity chefs. So much so that it’s sometimes hard to tell the gold from the rust. Bobby’s new book is gold. It contains lots of tempting recipes that you’ll be dying to try. Don’t be intimidated by directions that are more than one paragraph long. In reality, theses dishes are easier to make than they appear to be in print.

BUY IT!: Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors

BUY IT!: Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors

Authors: Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (September 20, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0307461386

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