Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells

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    • Categories: Sandwiches & burgers; Canapés / hors d'oeuvre; French
    • Ingredients: basil; pine nuts; Parmesan cheese; whole wheat bread; smoked trout
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    • Categories: Sauces for meat; Canapés / hors d'oeuvre; French
    • Ingredients: mayonnaise; pork sausages; chervil; parsley; store-cupboard ingredients
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    • Categories: Canapés / hors d'oeuvre; French
    • Ingredients: herring; carrots; bay leaves; thyme; peanut oil
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    • Categories: Salads; Canapés / hors d'oeuvre; French
    • Ingredients: couscous; parsley; mint; tomatoes; scallions
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    • Categories: Sandwiches & burgers; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: crème fraîche; watercress; whole wheat bread; cooked beef; tomatoes
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    • Categories: Sandwiches & burgers; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: baguette bread; canned anchovies; canned tuna; capers; red peppers; tomatoes; green chiles
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: baguette bread; Gruyère cheese; white onions; dry white wine; chicken stock
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: mussels; crème fraîche; carrots; leeks; bacon; fatback; fish stock; green beans
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: split green peas; smoked ham; parsley; bay leaves; thyme; marjoram; whole cloves
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: watercress; potatoes; chervil; parsley
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: leeks; bacon; potatoes
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: potatoes; leeks; crème fraîche; tarragon; chervil
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    • Categories: Soups; Appetizers / starters; French
    • Ingredients: celery root; celery; leeks; thyme; bay leaves; parsley; chervil; chives
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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    1990 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner

  • chawkins on June 13, 2013

    Notable recipes per 101 Classic Cookbook: choux rouges braises, daube de boeuf Auberge de la Madone aux cèpes et à l'orange, Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet, Gratin Dauphinois Madame Laracine, moules à la Provençale, gigot rôti au gratin de Monsieur Henny, poulet au vinaigre Le Petit Truc, potage aux lentilles avec saucisses de porc, roasted tomatoes Provençales, tarte au citron.

  • abbyhurlbu on January 01, 2010

    I have loved this simple french cook book for years! Deceptively simple but always yummy

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Madame Cartet's potato gratin

    • Cheri on November 12, 2010

      Added slices/chunks of ham, sprinkled parmesan on top. Excellent comfort food. Takes a full hour to bake, plus should set a few minutes before serving.

    • westminstr on December 04, 2017

      I made as written. Used the FP (2mm) for slicing the potatoes which seemed to work fine (I used russets and didn't rinse off the starch from slicing). I prepped it a few hours ahead and put it in the fridge to bake later. This caused the potatoes to exude some liquid prior to baking. Not sure that mattered. I baked it for more than an hour at 350, even then needed to crank up the oven to brown the top. And the potatoes were still on the firm side. I thought it was very good! But I am curious to try Madame Laracine's gratin next time. Also I like the idea of leaving a bit more garlic in w the potatoes.

    • hughb on June 19, 2012

      Have made several times, always to acclaim.

    • chawkins on May 13, 2013

      Very good. After rubbing the dish with the garlic, I chopped it up and sprinkled it on top of the potato layers with some black pepper. I sprinkled salt over the first layer, but forgot to do so for the second layer, but it did not turn out bland, I guess the cheese provided ample salt. I also used evaporated milk instead of cream or creme fraiche because I have it sitting in the fridge leftover from some other recipe. After the full assembly I also added a glug of 2% milk because my Gruyere was a little old and and somewhat dry.

    • bching on December 06, 2020

      I've made this many times. Like others here note, it takes a little longer than an hour to cook, and using a food processor slicing blade helpls a lot. When I make this, we eat it as a main course along with a green salad.

    • Rdaihl on April 05, 2014

      I add two cloves of chopped garlic and sprinkle it in with potatoes. My family loves this recipe!

    • anya_sf on December 05, 2020

      Simple, delicious version of this classic dish. I sliced the potatoes with a mandoline and used about 75% half-and-half, 25% heavy cream. After baking 1 hour, the potatoes weren't quite tender enough - another 10 minutes and they were perfect.

    • jhallen on February 01, 2021

      Yum, perfect companion to a roasted chicken.

  • Herbed split pea soup

    • djoh437938 on April 16, 2010

      Love this soup, as good if not better than my own.

    • Laura on October 11, 2013

      Pg. 26. One of my most favorite recipes was one for split pea soup that I got from my Mom. Because it required a ham bone and I rarely cooked ham (except for holidays), it was a rare treat. This recipe solves the problem of the ham bone by using cubed cooked ham. It's really delicious and even better the second day. I let the soup cook down to the point where the peas lose all form and this creates a smooth soup without having to use a food mill. It also serves to concentrate the flavors more intensely. I try to make this several times every winter.

    • DJM on February 13, 2014

      Simple additions of herbs elevate this recipe to better-than-most split pea soups. It's now the favorite recipe for split pea soup.

    • chawkins on February 24, 2015

      This is just as good as my normal split pea soup recipe from the Culinary Institute of America but much, much easier. No need to dice and sweat the vegetables, you just put everything in a pot and cook for couple of hours. I did use a stick blender to puree it for a little bit before serving.

    • Rinshin on December 07, 2014

      Fresh tasting split pea soup that showcases subtle herbs taste. I used ham bone from the mini carver ham from Snake River Farms and did not use the ham only. There was enough ham still attached to the bone. I also used homemade pork stock I had on hand and did not use the chicken stock. The best tasting split pea soup I've ever tasted.

    • jhallen on January 17, 2021

      This was simple and really good. Herbs add a lot of flavor, and can taste subtle clove flavor. Really good.

  • Leek and potato soup

    • westminstr on December 07, 2015

      This soup is an old favorite that I hadn't made in a few years. I wanted to see if it held up, and it did. This soup only has a few ingredients. It is very easy to make, and it is also very good. I love recipes like this!

  • Escarole, ham, cheese, and walnut salad

    • westminstr on November 28, 2015

      I thought this salad was really delicious. I served it as a main dish salad and so I included the prosciutto, and it was very tasty too. But you could easily leave it out - just the dressing with cheese and walnuts would be great too.

  • La Camargue's beef stew with black olives

    • westminstr on March 03, 2016

      i would not bother to make this again.

  • Bistro d'à côté's chicken in wine vinegar

    • westminstr on November 28, 2015

      I expected to love this but it was only ok for me. The vinegar was a bit too dominant/astringent for my taste. Not sure if a better vinegar would have improved it, and I also didn't reduce it enough. I also used blsl thighs but would have preferred a whole cut-up chicken.

    • wester on July 03, 2017

      A nice change from the usual chicken recipes; something to make occasionally.

  • Grilled tuna with herbed tomato, garlic, oil, and lemon sauce

    • westminstr on September 11, 2014

      I modified the sauce to use up my cherry tomatoes, and I cut the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in half. I thought it was quite good and went well with the tuna and a side of farro.

    • twoyolks on August 03, 2014

      The tomato sauce is similar to a fresh tomato salsa. The acidity in the tomatoes really complements the richness of the tuna very well.

  • Willi's wine bar's grilled porgy with red peppers, capers, and cumin

    • westminstr on November 10, 2015

      From LLM: I love this recipe. it is my favorite from the book. However, I do make some changes. I just use fillets instead of whole fish. I lightly flour them then pan fry. I also sub butter for the olive oil in the sauce - butter, capers, cumin seeds (I leave out the red peppers). I made it as written (except with fillets) the first time, and have gradually adjusted it to my tastes, but that mixture of capers and cumin seeds is really fantastic. You just pour the sauce onto the pan-fried fish. Lovely.

  • Pear pound cake

    • mirage on June 26, 2010

      Very thin.

  • Turbot in cider vinegar sauce

    • Laura on July 27, 2014

      Pg. 149. We were not crazy about the cider vinegar butter sauce -- it didn't really add that much to the fish and considering how much butter went into a very small quantity of sauce, it was ridiculous. The method for cooking the fish was very nice -- really simple and quick. I'd be happy to cook turbot or any other flat fish like this again -- but I'd find a tastier and less caloric sauce to serve with it.

  • Madame Laracine's potato gratin

    • Laura on November 10, 2010

      Pg. 99. This is the first recipe I've made from this book and it's a winner. This is really, really good! And quite easy. It did not take a full hour to cook, closer to 45-50 minutes. Happily, there are leftovers for tomorrow!

    • twoyolks on May 07, 2013

      This recipe is lighter than some gratin recipes because there is less cream in it.

    • chawkins on July 09, 2015

      This is so good. I tasted the potato slices as I was assembling the gratin, they tasted great without the addition of the cheese, nutmeg, pepper and cream. By cooking the potato in the milk/water mixture with salt, minced garlic and bay leaves, they became very flavorful on their own. I made half a recipe in a 9 x 7 x 2 gratin dish, used Jarlsberg cheese because I have a big chunk that needs to be used and baked for 45 minutes.

  • Chick-pea salad from the Auberge D'Aillane

    • Laura on June 28, 2010

      Pg. 39. This is delicious! I highly recommend cooking the beans yourself rather than using canned beans.

    • PinchOfSalt on July 04, 2022

      Very nice. My dried chickpeas swelled to 2-3 times their original size during their soak in my refrigerator and took much less time to cook (about an hour compared to the two hours projected by the recipe). I added the vinaigrette (made with about 1/2 tsp each of dried rosemary, thyme, and tarragon instead of fresh herbs) and refrigerated the chickpeas for a day before serving (at room temperature). I did not include the olives or chopped onions, though I think they would have been very nice added just before serving. Definitely a keeper, perfect for pot lucks or picnics.

  • Tante Yvonne's tossed green salad with vinaigrette

    • wester on July 02, 2017

      A green salad with vinaigrette. Good, but very basic.

  • L'oulette's salad of ham, walnuts, and duck gizzards

    • wester on July 04, 2017

      Simple but good. I used cooked chicken stomachs instead of the duck gizzards. I also added some celery leaves to the greens, which was very good.

  • Félix Benoît's onion gratin

    • wester on July 03, 2017

      I think this could be great with a few tweaks. As written, the onion still had too much bite and there was not enough sauce. More cream and longer baking (at lower temperature) next time.

    • bching on December 05, 2020

      A good springtime dish to welcome the vidalia onions

  • Leek tart

    • RosieB on June 28, 2016

      I had some pastry made which I had frozen and wanted to use it. This tart was easy and delicious. I used local ham off the bone and parmgiano cheese. A great mid week dinner with a simple grren salad.

  • Lyonnaise potato galette

    • saladdays on November 13, 2016

      Highly recommended for anyone needing comfort food. Easy to make, a bit heavy on butter if you're into healthy eating but the amount can be cut down. Not quite so tasty but still acceptable.

    • chawkins on June 17, 2015

      Potatoes, onions and butter, what's not to like. It was good, but not as good as the version I used to get at the Blue Bell Inn in Blue Bell, Pa. years ago, I'm sure their version used a lot more butter as it was much crispier. I used Yukon gold potatoes, steamed them and smashed them in the pan with the onions.

  • Fresh roasted salmon with olive oil

    • bernalgirl on September 26, 2022

      The pan-searing then roasting technique in this recipe is still one of my favorite ways to cook salmon, it comes out beautifully browned while meltingly tender inside.

    • anya_sf on August 09, 2018

      Simple and delicious. I did not bother peeling the tomatoes.

  • La Boutarde's pan-fried leg of lamb slices

    • bernalgirl on May 17, 2023

      This is an absolutely outstanding treatment for lamb steaks, a longtime favorite

  • Green lentil salad

    • Melanie on June 14, 2015

      This salad is delicious. Very easy to make, simple flavours, but not too plain.

    • bching on January 03, 2014

      Needs something crunchy or crisp for textural contrast.

    • Poppyseedbagel on August 06, 2022

      This is so simple yet so delicious. I managed to cook the lentils perfectly thanks to the instructions. They were also excellent with some good quality feta that I had for another dish.

  • Provençal roast tomatoes

    • leswhaley on September 04, 2011

      Did not care for this version of the dish. It was too soupy and watery. Other recipes for Roast Tomatoes Provencal that call for removing excess liquid and seeds from tomatoes first may yield better results.

  • Maggie's roasted red peppers

    • leswhaley on September 09, 2011

      Use serrano or jalapeno peppers only. Do not use red pepper flakes.

  • Seasoned couscous salad

    • leswhaley on September 04, 2011

      Make sure vegetable mix is drained and as dry as possible before adding to couscous. Too much extra liquid will make the couscous sticky.

  • Chicken with hot peppers, ham, tomatoes, and onions

    • aberne on September 28, 2011

      nice, though the peppers cook down to practically nothing, so the sauce is soupy, though delicious. I would almost think of adding some peppers a bit later to keep their texture.

  • Potato gratin with cheese and smoked ham

    • twoyolks on April 13, 2021

      Adding ham to a potato gratin is a great idea but I felt like I was missing the cream that this recipe excludes. I think I'd just make a different gratin and add ham next time.

  • Layered vegetable gratin

    • twoyolks on October 17, 2013

      The flavors of the vegetables never really melded together well.

    • sturlington on March 26, 2013

      Easy, summery, absolutely delicious. I added some Parmesan and broiled during the last 5 minutes to put a little "gratin" in my gratin. This also tastes good as a cold salad the next day. p84.

  • Savory swiss chard tart

    • twoyolks on June 16, 2015

      This forms a very thing layer of tart filling over a very thin crust. It's almost pizza-like. The flavor was good but the Swiss chard was a bit too earthy. Dipping it in aioli worked very well.

    • breakthroughc on June 27, 2022

      This was very good. As twoyolks indicated this is very little filling for the tart. Mine also was very dry looking. I added an extra egg and 1/4 cup of cream. It was delicious and uses up a lot of chard. I will make again as I have out of control chard in the garden. It is very chard forward so don’t make if you don’t like chard.

  • Boiled new potatoes with a gratin of munster

    • twoyolks on September 30, 2016

      This was strange and not in a good way. It was basically melted cheese on top of boiled potatoes with cumin seeds. It just didn't taste very good.

  • L'Ami Louis's potato cake

    • twoyolks on October 10, 2016

      This was pretty rich simply from the poultry fat (I used schmaltz). I had pretty thinly sliced potatoes so they took less time to brown. They also tended to stick to the pan but using a thin spatula to turn them helped a lot. They did end up cooking into a single potato cake. The garlic sprinkled on top really adds something nice.

  • Warm potato salad with herbed vinaigrette

    • twoyolks on September 09, 2014

      The dressing for the potato salad is very similar to a classic French vinaigrette.

  • Café du Jura's raspberry tart

    • twoyolks on July 25, 2014

      The custard never setup for me, even after baking longer than specified. The flavor was fine but I think I'd prefer a pastry cream.

  • La Mère Besson's mixed summer salad

    • sturlington on March 26, 2013

      A variation on the ever-popular "breakfast" or Lyonnaise salad. This has tomatoes, which is why it's a summer salad. I'm sure you could add bacon if you liked. p55

  • Sweet swiss chard torte

    • amoule on April 05, 2015

      I absolutely loved this and most of my guests did too, but some did not. It's not really a dessert, it's more of an afternoon snack for teatime. I think if I hadn't tried to serve it for dessert everyone would have loved it.

  • Herring marinated in oil and herbs

    • bching on December 06, 2020

      I love this preparation. It's a perfect lunch.

  • Double celery soup

    • bching on October 29, 2017

      Good, easy, healthy. I make this every winter.

  • Le Procope's pasta with lemon, ham, and black olives

    • bching on December 06, 2020

      The only recipe I have made from this book that I would not repeat. Flavors did not balance well.

  • Oxtail terrine

    • bching on December 05, 2020

      Endless and bland

  • Le petit truc's chicken with tarragon vinegar

    • zengal on October 13, 2020

      This is my husband's and my favorite recipe. We make it at least once a month, and have for years. The tartness of the tarragon vinegar melds beautifully with the tomato and wine. The accents of fresh tarragon are delicious, and the whole sauce is a perfect match for the chicken pieces. The dish goes very well with rice. Notes: I often will use only chicken thighs instead of a cut-up whole chicken. And I use 1 can of chopped tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.

  • Chez tante Paulette's salad with garlic

    • shelftotable on July 22, 2015

      This was a very nice, well balanced salad. With bread and wine a great summer supper. Blogged here https://shelftotable.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/bistro-cooking-garlic-salad/

  • Adrienne's fresh pineapple flan

    • anya_sf on December 22, 2020

      Due to a timing mix-up, I pre-baked the pineapple about an hour before adding the custard and baking the flan. Perhaps because of that, or because of the high baking temperature, and/or the enymes or acid in the pineapple, the custard curdled. The vanilla really complemented the pineapple and the overall flavor was great, just not the texture. It also would maybe be good to roast the pineapple longer initially. I wish I knew how to fix the texture.

  • Provençal beef stew

    • anya_sf on February 04, 2021

      Simple but very good for very little effort - it just takes a few days. I simmered the stew for 3 hours, initially partly uncovered to concentrate the liquid somewhat. Then chilled and served the stew 2 days later (after removing the fat) over egg noodles, with parmesan cheese as recommended. We all enjoyed it. No way does this serve 8 - more like 4 (the stew recipe that precedes this one also serves 8 but calls for nearly twice the meat).

  • Restaurant Lou Marquès' monkfish soup with garlic cream

    • anya_sf on July 09, 2022

      Ingredient list should include fresh fennel bulb, not ground fennel. Also requires egg yolks.

    • anya_sf on July 09, 2022

      I used lingcod, just 20 oz, so I reduced the amount of wine/broth/aioli in the soup by 25%. The soup was still fairly brothy. Lacking fish stock, I used Better than Bouillon lobster base with water (rather than the suggested plain water) and am glad I did, as otherwise the soup would have lacked flavor. Good fish stock is definitely recommended. The soup was quite good, rich of course. The most delicious bites were pieces of toasted bread, spread with aioli, dipped into the broth. Next time I would add chopped parsley for color and to help balance the richness.

  • Garlic Mayonnaise

    • anya_sf on July 09, 2022

      My mortar is small, so after blending the egg yolks into the garlic paste, I transferred the mixture into a large bowl and whisked in the oil by hand. I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but the aioli was super thick with a texture like softened butter. It worked well in the bourride and spread on toasts. The olive oil flavor was quite noticeable so choose one that isn't too overpowering.

  • Oysters and spicy sausages from the happy oyster restaurant

    • hibeez on June 04, 2023

      Perhaps one of our favorite summer meals. It seems so simple yet the flavors all come together. I use local bulk sausage meat and fry the patties when my husband is halfway finished shucking oysters. For a dinner, we use 3/4 lb sausage and 18 or so oysters (9 each), depending upon the size. We prefer smaller oysters than the Maryland or Gulf Coast oysters.

  • Chez Géraud's giant shrip grilled with brittany sea salt

    • hibeez on June 04, 2023

      This is a spectacular first course with "super colossal" shrimp, which I have not seen at the market in quite a while. I've used extra large shrimp successfully, but the colossal make a beautiful impression - and are quite delicious. Cooking with the shells keeps them moist - just don't overcook.

  • Chardenoux's salmon cooked with its skin

    • hibeez on June 04, 2023

      Delightful and super easy. The skin was so crispy, we ate it all with every bite. My husband likes his salmon cooked, so I followed her instructions to cover for a few minutes. Used a cast iron skillet; cooked uncovered for 6 min, then mine for 2 min and his for 4 min covered. My piece had that lovely creaminess and darker shade of pink in the middle. Salt and lemon were the only seasonings. sliced a 3/4 lb piece of Faroe Island salmon in half for two equal servings of fat and thin end of filet. Note: I'm not a huge salmon fan and normally would not eat the skin.

  • Prune and armagnac flan

    • breakthroughc on December 18, 2022

      Interesting and easy dessert to prepare. I think there are some translation issues with this recipe. 1. I weighed my prunes and you start with a pound and the recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons of brandy. I used cognac as I wouldn’t pay the price for Armagnac, It is suppose to soak for two days. My prunes had absorbed the brandy in 20 minutes. I added another 3 tablespoons and that was soaked up. I added another tablespoon and then stopped. Next time I’m going to keep adding brandy until the prunes won’t abosorb any more as they were not overly boozy. 2. The recipe calls for a 10 inch round casserole dish and the prunes are suppose to fit snuggly in a single layer. For my pound of a prunes an eight inch casserole dish worked much better. I followed the baking instructions it it worked fine with the 8 inch dish. I am going to try it again with more booze.

  • Braised red cabbage

    • Christinalego on February 03, 2023

      I made some changes, but this is good!

  • La Meunière's herring and potato salad

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Reviews about this book

  • Running With Tweezers

    This...is ALL substance and no style. No matter, though. Some of my favorite comfort dishes come from this book – nothing like sausages and potatoes cooked in fat to take the edge off on a cold day.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • Pied de Cochon's onion soup

    • Running With Tweezers

      It's quite good – but also quite different from most versions of French onion soup that I’ve had. It's much lighter – none of that heavy, beefy, salty taste. Do I mind doing without it? Not at all.

      Full review
  • Le Procope's pasta with lemon, ham, and black olives

    • Tea & Cookies

      ...the main dish was heaven itself. Thin strips of salty prosciutto danced with the tang of lemon zest....It was moist and pungent and full of unexpected textures and tastes. It was divine.

      Full review
  • ISBN 10 0894806238
  • ISBN 13 9780894806230
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Jan 01 1989
  • Format Paperback
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Workman Publishing
  • Imprint Workman Publishing

Publishers Text

IACP and Beard Award! Chosen Cookbook of the Year (1989) by USA Today and selected as an Editor's Choice for the year's top books by Publishers Weekly, Patricia Wells's Bistro Cooking celebrates the return to warm, generous cuisine. Here are over 200 recipes inspired by the neighborhood restaurants of France--adapted and tested for the American table. 2-color photos and illustrations throughout

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