JEWISH COOKING IN FRANCE COOKBOOK
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
Quiches, Kugels and Couscous - My Search for Jewish Cooking in France
(Alfred A. Knopf) ISBN 978-0307267597 0307267598
Whether you follow a kosher diet or not, you will love Joan Nathan's cookbook, featuring kosher cooking and Jewish traditions in France. Besides 200 recipes for kosher meals, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous tells stories about Jewish culture and kosher food, including Jewish bread and kosher wine.
As you travel through France with the author, you will discover kosher recipes from Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Alsace and Provence Jews, as well as Jewish meals created by immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. You will also meet makers of kosher cheese, kosher foie gras and kosher breads.
Rosh Hashanah recipes
Comprehensive and thoroughly researched, the 387-page French cookbook conforms to the kosher diet. Each chapter begins with an index of Jewish recipes.
The introduction to each kosher recipe begins with a quote, information on 2,000 years of Jewish heritage in France or interviews with French chefs who specialize in Jewish cuisine. In the chapter on Jewish bread, for example, the Brassados (French bagels) recipe describes the history of bagel-making in France.
The brioche for Rosh Hashanah recipe includes a sidebar that explains the differences between baba (a large saffron-flavored cake and also small rum-soaked cakes) and babka (a yeast bread, make with eggs, butter and sugar, similar to a brioche).
Joan Nathan provides many culinary tips for Jewish cooking. For example, at the end of the Moroccan anise-flavored challah with sesame seeds recipe, she notes that you can make it into two large challahs or twist two cylinders into a long braid to make a round challah. After her fennel salad recipe, she explains how to peel pomegranates without staining yourself with the juice (pull the scored pomegranate apart under water).
The note to her matzo ball recipe explains how to render chicken fat (in a fry pan with onions or by skimming off the shmaltz from cooled chicken soup).
One hundred and forty-six color photos and illustrations depict kosher dishes, French scenes (e.g., a kosher butcher in Paris) and Jewish holiday cooking, such as Rosh Hashanah chicken.
Joan Nathan visited Medoc and Saint Emilion wineries with Claude Maman, the Grand Rabbi of Bordeaux, to learn about the production of kosher wine. In France, kosher wine must have the same quality as non-kosher wine.
All kosher wine in France is produced by a rabbi and his assistants, supervised by the winemaker (in this case, Chateau Bel Air). The kosher wine is labeled with the label of the chateau, as well as a symbol of Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws).
Jewish food stores in France
A source guide lists the name, address, phone number and website for Jewish food stores in France, e.g., Picard Surgeles and Lenotre. It also lists French restaurants that serve Jewish cooking, e.g., Mini Palais in Paris, with addresses, phone numbers and websites.
A glossary defines Jewish food that you can enjoy in France, e.g., chremslach, a matzo meal fritter and cholent, an Eastern European Sabbath stew of meat, potatoes and beans.
Sample French Kosher recipes
Haroset from Bordeaux (Passover appetizer). Eggs baked in sand for Passover. Chopped liver with a confit of onions. Buckwheat blini with smoked salmon and creme fraiche. Lentil salad with mustard vinaigrette. Brisket with ginger, orange peel and tomato. Braided Sabbath bread with poppy seeds. Alsatian Hanukkah fruit bread. Cabbage stuffed with gefilte fish. Alsatian sweet and sour fish. Terrine of chicken with pistachio nuts, curry and hazelnuts. Roast duck with cherries. Sabbath beef stew. Pickelfleisch (corned beef). Roast lamb Jewish style. Alsatian pear kugel with prunes. Matzo kugel. Passover omelet. Eggplant gratin. Fried artichokes Jewish style. Passover chocolate almond cake. Apple upside-down cake for Erev Yom Kippur. Polish Hanukkah apple cake. Parisian Passover pineapple flan. Passover carrot torte. Passover almond macaroons.
- Breads, Both Sacred and Secular
- Chicken, Duck and Goose
- Beef, Veal and Lamb
- Quiches, Kugels, Omelets and Savory Soufflés
- Grains, Pulses, Couscous and Rice
Glossary of Terms and Ingredients
A Source Guide
Joan Nathan's books include Jewish Holiday Cookbook, The Foods of Israel Today, The Jewish Holiday Baker, The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen and Jewish Cooking in America. She also hosted the PBS TV cooking show, Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on her cookbook.