His latest cookbook focuses on bistro fare -- but instead of your traditional steaks and fries -- he somehow manages to elevate these simple, traditional recipes into something more sophisticated (but still easy) and modern.
To him, bouchon means generosity, economy, simplicity, and excellence -- cooking with simple ingredients that can be easily prepared and shared.
He shared many recipes with viewers of The Early Show.
Endive Salad With Smoked Trout and Lemon Vinaigrette
Salade D'Endives Et De Truite Fumee A La Vinaigrette Citronnee
2 large lemons
1 hard-cooked egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon minced cornichons
1 tablespoon minced drained nonpareil capers, preferably Spanish
8 ounces small fingerling potatoes (no wider in diameter than a quarter)
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, skin left on, smashed
4 small heads Belgian endive
4 small heads red Belgian endive
8 ounces smoked trout fillet, skin and bones removed
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup minced chives
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon drained nonpareil capers, preferably Spanish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chervil leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
12 caper berries, drained
This is a traditional smoked fish salad, with a crisp flavorful lettuce, potatoes, and a thick, creamy, lemony vinaigrette. Here again a preserved food, critical to the bistro kitchen, is at the center of the dish. Smoked fish and potatoes always make a great combination because the potatoes carry the smoked flavor so nicely. This salad also works well with watercress or any spicy lettuce. In the fall, you can add some crisp tart apple, finely sliced or julienned.
For the vinaigrette: Remove the zest from the lemons (a Microplane grater does an excellent job). Finely chop the zest. (You should have about 1 tablespoon.) Set aside. Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from 1 of the lemons; reserve the remaining lemon for another use.
Place the egg yolk in a small deep bowl and crush it with a fork. Add the lemon juice and mustard and combine well with a hand blender or a whisk. With the blender running, or whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil until emulsified. Mix in the lemon zest, cornichons, and capers.
For the potatoes: Wash the potatoes and slice them into 1/4-inch -thick slices. Put the potatoes, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and season the water with salt until it tastes like the sea. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender; drain. Discard the seasonings and garlic.
For the Salad: Remove and discard any bruised outer leaves from the heads of endive and cut each head lengthwise in half. Cut out and discard the cores. Place the endives cut side down on a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Combine the endive and potatoes in a bowl.
Break the trout into 1-to 1 1/2-inch chunks and add to the bowl, along with the shallots, chives, and capers. Toss the salad with about 1/2 cup of the dressing, or as needed to coat the ingredients, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chervil, tarragon, and parsley leaves.
To Serve: Mound the salad in the center of four serving plates. Top each salad with 3 caper berries.
Wild Mushroom Quiche - Quiche Forestiere
2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, king trumpet, clamshell, cremini, porcini, and chanterelle, cleaned
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
3/4 cup grated Comte or Emmentaler cheese
Basic Quiche Shell, cooled
Basic Quiche Batter
The amount of mushrooms may seem like a great deal, but the mushrooms will reduce by half when cooked. Pat the mushrooms dry if necessary, then trim away any tough stems and tear larger mushrooms into smaller pieces. It is important to cook each type of mushroom separately, as cooking times will vary. Divide the salt, pepper, butter, shallots, and thyme proportionally according to how much of each type of mushroom you are using.
Coat a large saute pan with a thin film of canola oil and heat over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add the first batch of mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about a minute. The mushrooms will absorb the oil and should not be weeping any liquid at this point. Add the butter, shallots, and thyme, toss, and saute until they are cooked thoroughly, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, wiping the pan with a paper towel between batches.
Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F.
Scatter 1/4 cup of the cheese and half the mushrooms evenly into the cooled quiche shell (still on the baking sheet). Blend the quiche batter again to aerate it, then pour enough of the batter to cover the ingredients and fill the quiche shell approximately halfway. Top the batter with another 1/4 cup of the cheese and the remaining mushrooms. Blend the remaining batter and fill the quiche all the way to the top. Push down any mushrooms that float up. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on the top of the quiche. (if you don't have a very steady hand, you might spill some of the batter on the way to the oven; fill the quiche most of the way, then pour the final amount of batter on top once the quiche is on the oven rack. Then top it with the remaining cheese.)
Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until the top of the quiche is browned and the custard is set when the pan is jiggled. Remove the quiche from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a rack. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least a day, or up to 3 days.
Once the quiche is thoroughly chilled, using a metal bench scraper or a sharp knife, scrape away the excess crust from the top edge. Tilt the ring on its side, with the bottom of the quiche facing you, and run a small paring knife between the crust and the ring to release the quiche. Set the quiche down and carefully lift off the ring. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To Serve: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.
Using a long serrated knife and supporting the sides of the crust, carefully cut through the edge of the crust in a sawing motion. Switch to a long slicing knife and cut through the custard and bottom crust. Repeat, cutting the quiche into 8 pieces. Place the pieces on the baking sheet and reheat for 15 minutes, or until hot throughout. To check, insert a metal skewer into the quiche for several seconds and then touch the skewer to your lip to test the temperature of the quiche.
Makes 8 Servings
Chef Thomas Keller is also the author of "The French Laundry Cookbook" and is the executive chef of Per Se, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and French Laundry.
In 2001, Keller was named America's Best Chef by Time magazine, and World Master of Culinary Arts by a panel of international judges at the Wedgwood Awards. He has also been recognized with the Best Chef awards from the James Beard Foundation.