I had never even heard of Lucques before this cookbook made a big splash in the blogosphere a few years ago. I've had my copy for ages now but it's not one I reach for often. Something about this book is a little intimidating, though not all the recipes are complicated. I guess it's the perpetual problem of having too many cookbooks and not enough time to cook. And this is a real entertaining
cookbook, not your everyday get-a-meal-on-the-table cookbook.
The book is divided into seasonal menus, each containing an appetizer (often a soup or salad), 2 different entrees (so you can choose between fish or chicken, red meat or white meat, etc., or if you're having a really elaborate meal, you could do both), and a dessert. There are TONS of mouthwatering photos, too, which I always appreciate. If I hosted a lot of dinner parties or cooked for dates more often, this book would get a lot of use, cause it's really perfect for when you want to impress someone. All the recipes in the book are designed to serve six.
A few dishes I've tried:Jessica's Favorite Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate
: 4.5 stars
What's better than lemon curd? Lemon curd with chocolate. Minus a half star because the crust shrank quite a bit. I would probably make this again with my usual pâte sucrée recipe instead.Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard
: 4 stars
I guess the "devil" in this recipe comes from lots of vermouth, mustard, and breadcrumbs. This was quite easy and very flavorful, though I found it a bit on the salty side. I love braised leeks, but I think I like the ones in All about Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking a little better.Braised Beef Brisket with Horseradish Cream
: 4 stars
This particular brisket is braised in balsamic vinegar and dark beer with lots of herbs and the usual mirepoix. It was great, but I have yet to try a bad brisket recipe... it's just good comfort food. The horseradish cream was a nice variation. I also made the suggested side dish of Sautéed Rapini with Garlic and Chile
, which was fine but nothing really notable, except for the exorbitant amount of oil it calls for.Wild Mushroom Tart with Gruyere, Young Onions, and Herb Salad
: 3 stars
I love a good savory tart, but unfortunately this one wasn't much more than the sum of its parts.
There are lots more recipes in here I have my eye on, so I'll be sure to update this review.