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Anyone tried recipes from Les Halles (Anthony Bourdain) cookbook?

I vaguely recall this book getting a poor review in the New York Times because a lot of the recipes didn't test well with the writer. I'm thinking of making one of the desserts (chocolate hazelnut tart), and while the recipe looks pretty basic, I fear it might be missing something. Has anyone tested any of the dessert recipes from this book?


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  1. I've tried the chocolate mousse and liked it alot. From what I recall, the dessert recipes are all pretty basic and classic looking to me. I would probably do a quick comparison w/ some other recipes (preferably from trusted sources). I've made a couple of soup and savory recipes in the book that turned out well overall.

    1. I used the recipe for hangar steak, the recipe was fine although we didn't care for the hangar steak itself (tasted like kidneys, my husband says).

      2 Replies
      1. re: coll

        In fairness to Bourdain, he does describe the taste of Hangar Steak (Onglet) in the blurbs in book as kidney-like and more organ meat flavoured.

        1. re: Atahualpa

          I certainly don't blame him! It was a learning experience, that's all.

      2. Haven't done much but what we've done has worked, with minor exceptions. Did the 7-hour leg of lamb which was delicious, but if I did over I probably would tweak a bit with some tomato or something else to give a little acidity or bit to the sauce. The lamb is supposed to be cooked in a dutch oven with the lid sealed by a sort of doughy paste, which I could not get to work (didn't make a difference).

        Did a potato dish which was fine, did the chocolate mousse which was great.

        1. Great, thanks for the feedback. I will take a shot at the tart this weekend, and give a report back next week.

          1. I've done the 7-Hour Lamb. The sealing dough just needs a little more flour than the recipe calls for. If it is humid out, maybe even double the recipe. I found in the middle of winter with the heat on, I only needed a pinch more than he said, in summer with doors open, I doubled it.

            I have also tried his Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Duck Cinfit, Cassolet, Hangar Steak, and a couple of other recipes. They have come out, on average, as well as any other cookbook I own. There are a few tweaks here and there that I would make. But, since I'm not a by-the-book recipe follower, I tended to make them on the fly and all the stuff turned out well anyways. For example, I think the Cassolet looked a bit too dry (or too wet?) and I simply rebalanced to correct.

            1. I've made the lamb and onion soup before and loved it.

              1. I've used it more as a guide to preparing components of other dishes I was making, which is not to say I wouldn't cook his recipes, or trust them to come out well. I have used his method for making duck confit, along with some input from Julia, and have no complaints about that whatsoever.

                What I've gotten that was most valuable from this book is the utter necessity to organize your space and your procedures FIRST, and THEN you get to go crazy. I'd never be able to thank him enough for that.

                1. You can try www.leshallescooking.com - there's some recipe results there in a blog dedicated to this book.

                  1. I've said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating: if Mrs. O had come to take me for granted, my serving her Tony's version of frisée aux lardons would have turned things right around. First time I ever heard her moan over a salad. That's okay; I was doing it too.

                    If you start with a good slab bacon, so you can cut it into 1/4" dice, you're ahead of the game. Good fresh farmer's-market frisée helps too. You can fry the lardons and put the egg-poaching water on to heat at the same time. When the lardons are crisp, the water should be boiling. Cut it to a simmer and remove the bacon to a paper towel, splash a tiny bit of vinegar into both the water and the skillet, drop your egg(s) into the water and then the frisée into the skillet (I think I made this up, but it dresses the salad and wilts it slightly). Divide the frisée and lardons among however many plates, top each with an egg as soon as they're done enough for you. Thank you, Tony, thank you, thank you!