cover image French Comfort Food

French Comfort Food

Hillary Davis. Gibbs Smith, $30 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4236-3698-4

“Some of the best comfort food is French,” food journalist, cooking instructor, and blogger Davis (Cuisine Niçoise) writes in her introduction to this savory valentine to French cooking, “and it is not that hard to make at home.” She proves her point again and again, showing readers how they can transform their home into a private French bistro with dishes such as a rustic caramelized onion and Roquefort clafouti, classic French onion soup gratinée, and duck breasts with black cherry sauce. Simple pleasures like a crusty baguette with melted chocolate or a perfect croque madame dominate the offerings, though Davis doesn’t shy away from more formidable fare, such as a pork and vegetable stew with dumplings that requires a whopping 33 ingredients or a visually impressive layered vegetable omelet cake that calls for three omelets stacked upon one another. Davis does what she can to ease prep and cook times (slow cookers are employed for traditional cassoulet) without sacrificing the all-important flavor. Even though some dishes require more time and preparation than others, readers will find their patience rewarded with memorable results. (Aug.)