April 23, 2014 03:53 PM

Gentl and Hyers

After having an extraordinary meal in a French bistro, do you ever think, “If only I could make food like that at home”? Well, now you can, if Jody Williams has anything to do about it.

In Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, a cookbook (named after Williams’ popular French restaurant in New York City), features simple-to-make fare with limited ingredients that culinary superstar Mario Batali says “captures Jody’s pure unadulterated genius.”

And part of that genius is making you feel like you can re-create the cozy simplicity and ambiance of bistro cooking in your own home, whether you live in a quaint village or a big, noisy metropolis.

As Williams says about her restaurant, where the book’s recipes originated, “Buvette is about a style of cooking and entertaining that is free from the expected, a comfortable and simple way to enjoy food and drink from sunlight to candlelight.”

With that mindset, it’s easy to see why the recipes are organized by time of day (“Mornings,” “Afternoons,” and “Evenings”) rather than meals. It makes us happy that in Williams world, “Coffee and Tea” and “Aperitifs” are deserving of separate chapters, as is one on ham and cheese!

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Though the book is packed with classic French dishes like coq au vin and soupe au pistou, we were taken by her recipe for ramps and eggs. The leafy wild onion is a favorite of chefs during its brief appearance in spring, and Williams uses them to full advantage.

“Both their ephemeral presence and strong flavor make them a real treat,” she says. “I like to prepare them as simply as possible by wilting them in olive oil and combining them with eggs.”

With only four ingredients, this recipe is even easier than an omelette!

Ramps and Eggs

Serves 1

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small bunch ramps, root ends trimmed and discarded, thoroughly washed

Coarse salt

3 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Add the ramps and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ramps just begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

4. Gently crack the eggs into the pan directly alongside the ramps and place the pan in the oven (alternatively, you can reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid). Bake until the egg whites are just set and the yolk retains a bright yellow color, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional salt.

—Nancy Mattia

Excerpted from the book BUVETTE by Jody Williams. © 2014 by Jody Williams. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

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