Eric Ripert’s previous cookbook, “Vegetable Simple,” lived up to its title with some recipes needing but two or three ingredients. His new book, “Seafood Simple”? Not so simple. Effortless wonders include salmon and tomato à la Gilbert (for Gilbert Le Coze, a founder of Le Bernardin, who Mr. Ripert succeeded as an owner and the executive chef), a crispy black bass Basquaise, a pristine scallop ceviche, and a quick toss of shrimp, sweet garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. There are more demanding dishes worth tackling: monkfish Bourride with aioli and skate with sambal. Halibut with warm herb vinaigrette, which is based on an original Le Bernardin preparation, requires not just a vinaigrette, but a velouté, the secret to the dish’s success— and something I wish I’d known when I tried to replicate it at home years ago. The recipe chapters are divided according to techniques, nine of them. The book begins with step-by-step photos of preparing seafood, including filleting, shucking, skinning and so forth. Shopping and storage tips are included.
“Seafood Simple” by Eric Ripert (Random House, $35).
Get Your Pastry Bags Ready
As the holidays approach you might want to fine tune your pastry-piping expertise. The French bakery Barachou has started offering hands-on cream puff decorating classes at its West Village location. Participants have the opportunity to make various fillings and practice with a pastry bag, skills that apply to other confections. The two-hour classes, which can be booked almost every day, include a tasting and a box of cream puffs and recipes to take home.
Cream Puff Decoration Classes, $95, Barachou Pastry Shop, 15 Eighth Avenue (West 12th Street), 646-559-4210, barachou.com.
Beaujolais Worth Talking About
Beaujolais nouveaux are an annual gimmick, something of a publicity stunt, easy come, easy go. At the same time, regular Beaujolais, once an easy default red, have fallen somewhat off the radar. The latest Beaujolais nouveaux will make their annual debut next month, but the more serious, enduring wines of Beaujolais deserve more attention. A tasting of Beaujolais wines and an in-depth discussion of them and their region — offered by the Compagnons du Beaujolais Devoir de New York represented by its president, Pamela Wittmann (above), and the sommelier Roger Dagorn — will be held Saturday at De Gustibus Cooking School. Joining them will be the chef Claude Godard, preparing some Lyonnais specialties to sample.
A Tasting of Beaujolais Wines & Dishes, Saturday, 1 p.m., De Gustibus Cooking School, Macy’s Herald Square, $135, degustibusnyc.com.
Porchetta Without the Whole Pig
A porchetta is a statement, a lavish centerpiece for a dinner, a roast worth a party. A more modest alternative might be an intimate porchetta for two or four, to serve, with little effort, for a family dinner. Heritage Foods, which has been selling whole porchettas ready to cook, is now offering well-seasoned porchetta slices. About 1 ½ pounds each and nearly two inches thick, sold fully cooked, they just need a quick sear and bake until heated through. The result is delectably rich, spicy and sweet, with a crackling edge. The porchetta is made with heritage pork by Tempesta Artisan Salumi in Chicago.
Porchetta Slice, $59, heritagefoods.com.
Cakes and Pies All Wrapped in Pastry
The approach taken by the Brittany-born baker, Alexis Gamblin, a shoe designer turning a sideline into a new career, is uncommon. He wraps his tarts and other small pastries, top, sides and bottom, in buttery, tender short crusts. Thus his delectable version of the Thanksgiving perennial pecan pie has the nut-rich caramelized filling enclosed in pastry with a mosaic of glazed nuts on top ($50 for six inches, $75 for eight). Individual pastries, Les Cookies de Mon TonTon ($5), about the size of large cannelés, come similarly filled and adorned. More flavors for these cookie-like treats, including an irresistible peanut butter and jelly, are coming soon. Mr. Gamblin also makes meringues studded with pecans and chocolate chips, and sells sacks of pecan and salted caramel croutons to strew on ice cream, to use as a crumble topping or to stuff fruit. Orders must be placed in advance; pickup or delivery can be arranged.
Chez TonTon, cheztonton.com.
St. Agrestis Takes on Booze-Free Mezcal
Louie Catizone, an owner of St. Agrestis, has come up with yet another extremely satisfying nonalcoholic aperitif. Following on the success of his Phony Negroni, he has concocted a mezcal version, the Phony Mezcal Negroni. A soupçon of smoke wafts from the garnet-toned, lightly carbonated drink and accents the flavor. With subdued sweetness and fewer bitter notes, the new drink is an alluring aperitif without the buzz, permitting endless refills, perhaps after the nachos and on to the tacos, enchiladas and mole. Though his focus, when it comes to drinks, is Italian, Mr. Catizone is also a mezcal lover who has traveled to Oaxaca, hence his decision to reformulate his nonalcoholic Negroni with mezcal notes.
St. Agrestis Phony Mezcal Negroni, $59.99 for 12 6.8-ounce bottles, stagrestis.com.
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