French Bistro is not your typical cookbook. In fact, it’s more of an homage to traditional bistros, with references to real people and actual Parisian establishments.
The book would be a smart read prior to a Paris visit!
Instead of typical chapters, they are organized by ten bistro “essentials”: The Owner, The Chef, The Chalkboard Menu, The Wine, The Servers, The Table, The Decor, The Clients, The Ambiance, and The Aromas.
The authors are Bertrand Auboyneau and Francois Simon, and it was published in 2012.
If you have a love for bistros in general, especially with those quintessential French elements like vintage tiles, carved wood elements, the lamps, the windows, and so forth, you will love the photographs in the book, as I did.
There are recipes in the book, and they’re all exciting to me. But alas, if I were to make food that involved sweetbreads, sardines, liver and tongue, I’d be eating it all by myself.
I decided on a cuttlefish recipe. My husband won’t eat those, either, but I only ordered one pound’s worth in order to make this recipe.
After much searching, because I was not familiar with cuttlefish were, I discovered that they are short stubby squid, called Sepia in Italian. I knew I would like them, because I have a love affair with all creatures tentacled!
Following is the actual recipe from French Bistro, somewhat modified because my cuttlefish, about 4 ounces each, were much larger than the ones pictured in the book.
Cuttlefish Sautéed with Raspberries, Verjus-Style
1 pound cuttlefish, or 3 – 4 ounce cuttlefish
4 ounces raspberries
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Vincotto
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped parsley, optional
Rinse the cuttlefish well in water before using.
Heat up a pot of water that they will fit in to a strong simmer. Poach the cuttlefish for 5 minutes.
Remove them to paper towels and dry well. Pop out the beak in the middle of the tentacles. It will just pop out.
Mash the raspberries with a fork and set aside.
Add about half of the olive oil to a skillet and heat over high heat. Add the cuttlefish and brown just slightly. It should take about 2 minutes.
Remove them to a plate, turn down the heat a bit, and add the raspberries and remaining olive oil.
I also added about a teaspoon of vincotto for some sweetness.
To serve, place some lettuce leaves on a plate (this is completely optional) and place the cuttlefish over them.
Add the raspberry-olive oil mixture, and season with salt and pepper.
I also added a little chopped parsley.
These were so wonderful it’s hard to describe them. And with the raspberry mixture the whole meal was just divine.
Not only was this a great dish for warm weather, it would be good with strawberries as well in the spring. I love cuttlefish!