Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells
It is my pleasure to share John Rieber’s review of Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. John had the great fortune of cooking with Patricia Wells and was excited to share her cookbook with us.
Bistro Cooking” with Patricia Wells – Swordfish with Piperade Review By John Rieber
I have many cookbooks from Writer / Chef Patricia Wells. Her focus on Parisian and Provencal cooking is a terrific way to taste the flavors of France. This month it was my turn to choose the cookbook to review. I was very excited to offer “Bistro Cooking” by Patricia Wells because I had the chance to cook with her at her house! For me, traditional bistro food evokes a “home cooked” feel, but with flavors that are rich, and cooking styles that feel lighter – and in summer, when everyone is literally “baking” almost everywhere you live, I didn’t want to make a heavy French sauce or a slow stewed dish – those are in the cookbook as well for different times of the year. Instead, I went for a terrific recipe with tuna and a classic sauce made from fresh vegetables. This dish is light, fresh and very flavorful as well! “Thon a L’Ail Arrantzaleak, Sauce Piperade” is grilled Tuna in a piperade sauce – and of course, the day I had scheduled to prepare it there was no fresh tuna available! However, no worry as swordfish was a perfect substitute. Let’s get cooking!
Ingredients for the main course:
I lb tuna steak – or swordfish! Peanut or olive oil Black pepper 20 large garlic cloves I tbl. Red wine vinegar For the Sauce Piperade: 2 small, mildly hot green chiles 6 tbl. Extra-virgin olive oil 2 lbs. Tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped 3 large bell pepper, cored, halved, seed and cut lengthwise into thin slices 3 cloves garlic, minced Salt and pepper to taste
First, let’s make the Piperade:
Cut the tops of the chiles, slice in half lengthwise and remove all seeds – then cut chiles into very thin strips In a large skillet, heat 2 tbl. of the oil over medium heat, add tomatoes and simmer uncovered for ten minutes In a medium skillet, heat 2 tbl of oil then add the onions and cook until light golden, about 10 minutes In another medium skillet, heat 2 tbl. of the oil and cook the chiles and bell peppers until soft and tender, about 10 minutes Add the onions and peppers to the tomato mix…stir in the raw minced garlic and season with salt and pepper…cook uncovered over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally… This Piperade can be taken off the heat as you prepare the Tuna / Swordfish Lightly brush both sides of your fish with olive oil, and season generously with pepper Broil on a grill (or you can pan sear as I did) until fish begins to turn opaque, about five minutes per side Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbl. of oil then add garlic and stir them so they are coated with the oil, then saute until light golden, about 4-5 minutes Add the red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan Sprinkle the tuna /swordfish with salt, put on a warmed platter and pour the garlic sauce over the fish You finish the dish by adding the Piperade to the top of the fish or serve it on the side…I served my fish on top of fettucine, as the garlic sauce worked well on it! This was delicious, the garlic sauce giving a richness to the dish – and the piperade is zesty with a slight spicy bite to it – and the leftover can be used for any kind of meat or fish as well.
The entire cookbook is filled with classic French dishes that are fun and mostly easy to prepare – the also present very well for guests! As I said, I was lucky to attend a week of cooking adventures with my wife Alex – held at the Provencal home of Patricia Wells and her husband Walter. It was a memorable week, exploring the flavors of the south of France – joining ten other cooks to make fun lunches and dinners for a week in the south of France! I also had the great fortune to cook on a stove owned by Julia Child – which she gave to Wells!
I wholeheartedly recommend this cookbook for two reasons: first, it is packed with a wide variety of bistro dishes that are pretty easy to make and second, Patricia Wells has a passion for French food that comes across on every page.
As I have ten different cookbooks by Wells, this absolutely deserves space on my shelf.
For more very entertaining food-related posts and delicious recipes, please visit John at https://BiteEatRepeat.com.