Thanks to his numerous TV hosting gigs and guest spots, Bobby Flay has become one of the most recognizable faces (and voices) in the current crop of celebrity chefs. Oh, and he’s also the owner and executive chef of 10 restaurants. Flay made his name early on in his career by cooking southwestern and Cajun cuisine, but he eventually decided to spread his culinary wings a bit by opening Bar Americain—an “American brasserie”—to showcase the very best culinary traditions from across the U.S. He opened the first location in 2005 in New York City and followed with a second in 2009 in Connecticut.
This September, with the release of Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America’s Great Flavors
, you’ll be able rediscover American cuisine for yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen. As the jacket copy reads, “When Bobby Flay looks at a map of the United States, he doesn’t see states—he sees ingredients.”
Indeed, the recipes included in the cookbook are clearly influenced by the many different regions of the U.S., ranging from Charleston-inspired shrimp and grits to Brooklyn hash browns to pan-roasted pork tenderloin specifically designed to make Georgians drool. The cookbook also includes recipes for every course of the meal, running the gamut from cocktails to desserts with the requisite stops at soups, salads, appetizers, and mains. There’s even a section focused on that most popular of weekend meals—brunch.
After giving the cookbook a read-through, I determined (in a completely unscientific manner) that the difficulty of the recipes seems about moderate—meaning that you don’t need to be a trained chef to execute them, but some experience in the kitchen and familiarity with general cooking techiniques would be helpful. To put my determination to the test, though, I decided to attempt to prepare one of the dishes—and to feed it to my coworkers here at the Post without killing them. Because I’m no chef, I picked a dish that seemed relatively easy to make—grilled cheese made with cheddar cheese, goat cheese, bacon, green tomato, and baby arugula.
Making a grilled cheese ain’t rocket science, it’s true; but I have to say that Mr. Flay’s recipe certainly elevated my sandwich-making game. The richness of the goat cheese paired well with the sharp cheddar, and the tartness of the green tomatoes made a great counterpoint to the salty bacon. The little bit of baby arugula—added after the sandwich was grilled, of course—helped to lighten the dish up, adding some crispness and making me feel a little better about scarfing down all that butter, bacon, and cheese. My colleagues and I did not waste a bite. If all the recipes in the cookbook are as tasty as that one, readers are in for a real treat.
Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America’s Great Flavors
will be released as a 272-page, full-color hardcover from Clarkson Potter Publishers on September 21, 2011 with a list price of $35.