The concept of one-pot cooking is as old as France itself, and a mainstay of one of the world's great cuisines. In One-Pot French, Chef and author Jean-Pierre Challet states, "Sometimes French cooking is about complexity, and sometimes it is about simplicity. " In One-Pot French Chef Challet embraces the simplicity that reflects the glory of French home cooking, but he spins his recipes with a chef's knowledge and imagination. The result for the home cook is glorious meals that make no compromise but don't require multiple steps.
These are not recipes made simple by opening prepared products, but ones guided by the skills of a professional, and all of the recipes are offered in such a casual manner that we hardly realize the massive technique that lies behind us. Embracing the ease of one pot cooking, Chef Challet makes us aware that a recipe such as Black Cod in Parchment is essentially a simple preparation, but that the parchment lifts the presentation to elegance, and retains the juiciest taste. A dish such as Pommes Savoyarde, graceful scalloped potatoes cooked in chicken broth with cheese, is a nutritionally packed dish that is elegance and ease, but a comfort food par excellence.
Chef challet's skills whisper to the cook through the brief introductions to each recipe, and give more than a hint to the workings of a chef's mind. For example, for a one-pot Mussels with Pernod and Fennel, Chef Challet states, "Between the fennel and the Pernod, it's clear that this dish is all about balancing the mussels with a distinctive licorice taste." For a simple Roasted tomatoes with Sainte Maure cheese, he tells us that, "Heating a tomato, always brings out its flavor." For a Fondue au Fromage, he tells us that, "the rules [for fondue] are simple: three cheeses and Kirsch." For a luscious Lemon Tart, he tells us that, "Good food comes down to choices of complexity and simplicity. Do you balance flavors or present them in their purest form? In this dish, the intention is to bring forward the pure power of the lemon flavor."
This book is a marvel of simplicity with no compromise to bottles, cans or boxes of prepared ingredients. True simplicity, resting on the ingredients alone, makes it a pleasure to cook, and the recipes are balanced and stripped of pretense.
There are color photographs throughout by Gareth Morgans.