To properly celebrate the world’s best king salmon and spring, I decided to make a time honored classic from the world’s great cooking duo of all time, the Troisgros brothers. Over fifty years ago, they created escalopes of salmon in a sorrel sauce that revolutionized French cuisine and ushered in a new era of cooking. There is no better dish to honor Columbia River spring run king salmon than this classic….
Slowing down to a Provencal Rhythm
Last August we spent a transformative week in the historic hill town of Cagnes sur Mer, widely considered the ‘Montmartre’ of the South and long favored by impressionist painters for its alluring beauty. Within five days we went from our hurried, busy lives to a more relaxed, slowed down Provencal pace, hopelessly seduced by incredibly fresh seafood, perfect vegetables, and daily rounds of pastis and rosé.
I originally wrote this post for Curious Provence, but wanted to add the recipe for rouget I roasted in a wood burning oven in Cagnes Sur Mer. To read the entire article, please visit Curious Provence – Truly one of the great Provencal blogs; written by expat Ashley….
This dish is the result of an unexpected collaboration between two chefs who never met, David Everitt-Matthias and my sous chef Keith Schneider. The flavors and scents spoke of Provence; freshly salted cod, wisps of the citrus, chickpeas and roasted red peppers. Each dish a reflection of a single moment, an edible photograph capturing a mere twinkling of time, locked forever.
I bought Chef Everitt-Matthias’s book ‘Essence’ years before, and had fawned and drooled over the lush photography and original inspiring recipes within. I couldn’t afford a trip to England to eat at his restaurant, so I started reproducing some of the dishes in my own restaurant. I cooked a verbatim copy of one of my favorites, home-salted cod with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and anchovy dressing, for so long, I began thinking it was my own creation.
Keith Schneider was my last Sous Chef in the professional world who looked remarkably like a young Michael Douglas. He learned to make the best liquid center croquettes on the planet after spending five years sweating in Iron Chef Jose Garces’ kitchens. The first dish he ever cooked for me was a croqueta served with a saffron aioli, I loved it so much I immediately put it on the menu, eventually adding it to the cured cod set.
Gui Gedda had become a mythical character in my unrelenting search for pure, unadulterated Provence cooking. I heard his name mentioned in several publications, always spoken with absolute reverence, but could never really find out a lot of details about him. Chefs referred to him as both the Pope and the Marcel Pagnol of Provencal cuisine. Finding Gui Gedda’s book ‘Cooking School Provence’ was a major find; it felt a bit like finding the holy grail.
Here’s a great project to tackle this weekend with your child; make yummy chocolate profiteroles stuffed with ice cream, then drizzle with caramel and hot chocolate sauce. It’s a fun activity with many little steps for a child to participate in, no matter their age.
In the old days of France, wine grapes were traditionally pressed by feet. The winemakers nicknamed ‘bar rosi’, or pink bottomed, due to the pink color of their feet when they were done squishing the grapes. There is a lovely sculpture by sculptor Noël-Jules Girard in the center of Dijon of a bar rosi, or bareuzai in the traditional dialect of Dijon, treading grapes.
Steak Bareuzai is the true product of the Burgundy region; local Charolais beef cut into thick steaks, spicy mustard grown in nearby fields and milled in Beaune, wild mushrooms hunted for in the damp woods and great red wine that seemingly flows from every winepress of the region. I love the fact that this is so quickly prepared, with no advanced planning other than having the ingredients on hand and perhaps a bottle of wine open. The only controversy seems to be whether or not you finish the sauce with a healthy spoonful of Dijon mustard; some recipes add it and others shun it. I personally add a big spoonful and like the creamy punch good mustard provides.
Unfortunately, there have been years where the president has misinterpreted what Phil said, because Phil’s never wrong. Phil’s prediction is 100 percent correct, and we blame the variants on the president’s interpretation of Phil’s prediction. – retired groundhog handler Ron Ploucha from PennLive.
Punxsutawney Phil, ‘Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary’, predicts six weeks more of winter, despite edible evidence to the contrary. Defenders of his record are quick to remind us that Phil is correct 100 percent, it is the human interpretation that is inaccurate. Well, I am putting my trust into my stomach and eyes. I have seen the season’s first mache (lamb’s lettuce), flowering brassicas and fava tendrils at the farmer’s market; while morels, wild watercress, stinging nettles and miner’s lettuce are already appearing in the forests.
Every New Year’s Eve, I host a gastronomic party to celebrate the passing of one year and the birth of the next. It usually progresses (regresses) into a Bacchanalian celebration. The table laid with the finest china and silver, our stomachs tempted with turbot, black truffles, caviar and foie gras, and too many bottles of Champagne to count.
The better the ingredient, the simpler the preparation should be. Simple and pure pairings, like roast chicken and white Burgundy or older Barolos drank with white truffles, are timeless combinations that should never be improved upon. Likewise, a simple caviar preparation is always best and preferred.
Prepare yourselves for the roaring voice of the God of Joy! – Eurides, The Bacchae
Do you want a fun, edible project to tackle this weekend? Then try making these delicious chocolate eclairs for your family. They are only slightly harder than making basic brownies, only because there are three components to prep instead of one. You will need a few tools like sil pats, pastry bags and star tips to make this. There are plenty of stores like Michaels or Sur La Table where these easy to find items can be located if you do not have them already. The results will be worth any frustrations you may experience….
Fall had started in earnest; a cool, light mist was falling and we decided to take our dog Lucy for a long walk foraging wild cèpes. I built a roaring fire in our wood stove, placed a daube of beef on top to slowly braise, and decanted a heady bottle of red wine, then walked out into the dank Mendocino forest.
Maybe I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs, but I start to crave beef daube (Provencal beef stew) as soon as the first cool Fall weather begins. Long ago Lisa and I lived in a small, off the grid hippie cabin deep within the woods, on the edge of Van Damme State Park in Mendocino, California. Our cabin often reminded me of Daudet’s windmill in Provence, though beaten and forlorn, it provided a quiet refuge from the bustle of modern life.
Fall had started in earnest; a cool, light mist was falling on an otherwise drab day when we decided to take our dog Lucy for a long walk foraging wild cèpes. I built a roaring fire in our wood stove and placed a daube of beef perfumed with cinnamon stick and dried orange peel on top to slowly braise. We decanted a heady bottle of red wine and walked out into the dank Mendocino forest. …
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. — Carl Sagan
I love apples a lot, I really do. Most are kind of one dimensional; yes, they are sweet and crisp, and seriously who needs more than that from an apple? But then you bite deep down into a mountain rose apple and quickly figure out that every other apple is just a pretender to the throne. It would be easy to proclaim that simply on the merits of its deep red hue, it is a gorgeous apple to look at and behold. Then the bright acid and complex flavors, reminiscent of a strawberry jolly rancher, wash over your mouth and you realize how perfect an apple can be.
The modern mountain rose apple originated from a single tree found on an 80 acre farm in Airlie, Oregon, just north of Corvallis. Lucky Newell bought the property in 1959, and one day he was riding his horse near a well and spotted an apple tree growing. He reached up, took a bite and was amazed by the red fleshed fruit. That discovery was during a time when diversity was not as celebrated as it is today and so the apples remained hidden and unknown.
I recently did an Italian pop-up in Portland, and the undisputed star of the show was my gnocchi tossed in a tocco di carne sauce with shaved parmesan and drizzled with Paniole, a beautiful extra virgin olive oil from the Ciacci family, owners of the great Brunello estate Mocali. It’s a dish I absolutely love, but rarely if ever, make at home. It’s not that it isn’t memorable, or even ridiculously easy to make and simply addictive, it’s just that I cook a wide repertoire of food at home and dishes get lost and forgotten….
I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night. Lady Gaga
Is it just me, or does this happen to you as well: every time I talk with an Italian, even a fake conversation in my head, I begin to talk with my hands? I know that sounds slightly racist and like I am stereotyping a wonderful and very diverse culture but I cannot help it. If I have a glass of wine before, it gets worse, I start adding an ‘a” at the end of key phrases, like who wants a meat- a- ball, eh?). Chalk this up to watching too many movies with Italian Americans as the subject, besides, who doesn’t want to be Italian?…
I love the simplicity of grilled sardines; if they are super fresh nothing more is needed than simply tossing them on a hot grill and maybe a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of fruity olive oil. If you don’t live far away from the ocean where freshly netted sardines are readily available, then I suggest IQF, or individually quick frozen. People may scoff and say frozen is never as good; I know I used to be that opinionated too. I recently cooked a few pounds caught by a small fisherman near Monterey, California, where they were immediately flash frozen at 40 below zero just after he caught them. I thawed the fish slowly in my refrigerator till they were ready for the grill. Many people have a decided opinion on whether or not they will eat a strong flavored fish. For those, I suggest a simple sauce with assertive, sharp briny or spicy flavors like capers, preserved lemon or harissa. These grilled sardines are fabulous served over arugula or even simply steamed couscous.
Fideuà , a rustic Catalan Pasta Paella, is a dish I love. It’s as versatile as you could imagine and can be made with a variety of different proteins. In this version, I used monkfish, clams and shrimp. Feel free to try other fish, poultry and vegetarian versions. However you make it, this Is one of those dishes you simply cannot stop once you start eating. …