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Books for Cooks

We recommend: “Buvette: the pleasure of good food” by Jody Williams (Grand Central Publishing, $30)

What’s special: Simple, casual, no-fuss, mostly French-inspired food, beautifully presented.

Jody Williams serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in her much-lauded neighborhood “Gastrotheque” in New York’s West Village. Her new book transports us there, and her introduction alone has us shopping for flights to New York City. The photos are gorgeous, but far from precious. Ingredient lists are short, instructions thorough, headnotes informative and encouraging.

With recipes such as Toasted Oatmeal Brûlée (that can be made up to a week in advance), Gougères with Gruyère, Mustard and Rosemary (so cheesy they deflate into crispy, gooey goodness), Poulet Rôti (truly the simplest, most well-received roast chicken I’ve ever made), and her famous Tarte Tatin, this is the kind of book anyone can use, no matter their experience.

Williams says she’s inspired by people who’ve fed her and places she’s eaten; with “Buvette,” she’s sure to inspire a lot of cooks herself.

Scallops With Brown Butter and Capers

Serves 4

1 lemon

1 dozen large sea scallops, tough connective muscle detached

Coarse salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons capers, dried on a paper towel

1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemon in large strips and cut the lemon in half. Set all aside.

2. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season them on both sides with salt.

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat. Once the butter begins to turn a little bit brown, carefully place the scallops in the pan along with the capers and reserved lemon zest. Cook until the scallops are thoroughly browned on both sides, turning only once, one to two minutes per side.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze over the juice from one half of the reserved lemon. Serve the scallops immediately, being sure to spoon over all of the capers and brown butter.

Leora Y. Bloom, Special to The Seattle Times