Tampilkan posting dengan label French Cuisine. Tampilkan semua posting
Tampilkan posting dengan label French Cuisine. Tampilkan semua posting
Pancetta-Wrapped Leek Gratin – Simply Amazing

Pancetta-Wrapped Leek Gratin – Simply Amazing

I’m all about simply prepared vegetables, but every once in a while I need to cover them in caramelized pork and cheese, and this stunningly delicious pancetta-wrapped leek gratin was one of those times. I love those times.

This “umami bomb” is so flavorful and satisfying, it almost seems disrespectful to serve it as a side dish. Pair this with a slice of buttered bread, hedge your bets with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoy a truly special lunch.

For extra credit, after you finish your meal, call your best French friend and describe what you had. They will love and hate you for it. So, whether you make this for lunch, or use it to upstage a steak or grilled piece of salmon, I hope you give this great leek gratin a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
3 large leeks
about 4 oz pancetta
2 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup drinkable white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as needed
chives to garnish
Orange Duck – Orange You Glad I Didn’t Call It Duck a l'Orange?

Orange Duck – Orange You Glad I Didn’t Call It Duck a l'Orange?

I don’t think I’ve made Duck “a l'Orange” since culinary school, nor tried to pronounce it, but thanks to a rather enticing photo in a friend’s cookbook, I decided to go full culinary time machine, and I’m so glad I did.

That friend would be award-winning food blogger and author, Hank Shaw. He’s recently published a cookbook called Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild, which was the inspiration for this gorgeous, and very easy dish. Still looking for a sexy Valentine’s entrée? You could do a lot worse.

This is one of those classic dishes that somehow became a cliché, and people stopped making it for fear of looking un-cool, which is too bad, since it’s really good. This is traditionally done with a whole roasted duck, but by using breasts we get pretty much the same results, in a lot less time.

My version is very close to Hank’s, except I don’t use orange juice. I prefer the flavor of the sauce with just marmalade, zest, and Grand Marnier. Speaking of the Grand Marnier, other than other orange liquors, I’ll be offering no alternatives. That’s what literally gives the sauce its soul.

By the way, if you want to raise your “game” game, I encourage you to check out Hank's cookbook. I think it’s very well done, and gets basically all 5-star reviews on Amazon. So, check that out, check this out, and as always enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
2 duck breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp duck fat or vegetable oil
1 tsp flour
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp Grand Marnier (orange liquor)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
pinch of cayenne
1 rounded tbsp orange marmalade (preferably Seville orange marmalade)
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
extra zest for garnish
Coquilles St-Jacques – Hey, Have You Tried That New Saint James Diet?

Coquilles St-Jacques – Hey, Have You Tried That New Saint James Diet?

Coquilles St-Jacques is the kind of unapologetically rich shellfish dish that we used to be able to enjoy, before the book-writing dieticians and celebrity chefs ruined it for everybody. 

Fats of all sorts were demonized, and young cooks far and wide were told to never, ever, under any circumstances, cover-up the delicate flavors of seafood with heavy sauces, especially ones containing cheese.

So, an amazing recipe like this went from classic French treat to crime against nature, and it slowly but surely started disappearing from menus. You can still find it in a few of the braver bistros, but to enjoy on any kind of semi-regular basis, you’ll need to master it at home. The good news is that’s very easy to do.

By the way, this is a great recipe for entertaining larger groups during the holidays, since it can be prepped well ahead of time. For this reason, Coquilles St-Jacques has always been a favorite of caterers and banquet chefs, and below the ingredients list, I’ll give some instructions on how they do it.

You can use sea scallops like I did, or the smaller, sweeter bay scallops, which are really nice in this. Of course, if you use bay scallops, you’ll only need a minute in the simmering wine, so be careful. No matter what you use, be sure they haven’t been dipped in a preservative solution. If you buy them frozen, which you should, the label should only say, “Scallops.”

The shells can be easily found online, or at your local restaurant supply store. Otherwise, simply use some small, shallow gratin dishes, which will work exactly the same. Find something, and give this “scallop recipe that time forgot” a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced shallots
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
1 pound sea scallops (about 3 scallops per person)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
cayenne to taste
2 tsp minced tarragon
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Broil on high, about 8-10 inches under the flame, until the scallops are hot, and the cheese is browned and bubbling. Because of the sugars in the wine and cream, the edges will brûlée or burn, but this is not a problem, and actually how it’s supposed to look.

NOTE: You can make these ahead, and refrigerate until needed. Since they will be cold, you’ll need to bring back to temperature before you broil them. Preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for about 12-15 minutes (will depend on how you constructed them), or until the centers are just warm. Switch oven to broil, and broil on high as shown. 
Perfect French Baguette at Home – Only Impossible If You Don’t Try It

Perfect French Baguette at Home – Only Impossible If You Don’t Try It

Whenever someone asked me why I hadn’t done a baguette video yet, I’d tell them because you just can’t recreate an authentic loaf of French bread at home. 

I’d explain about the water, the flour, the centuries old starters, and the steam-injected ovens. I told them what I’d been told; that it was simply impossible, or as the French say, "impossible!"

That was, until I actually tried to make some. Much to my amazement, not only was it possible, it was really pretty simple. The key is water. That goes for the dough, and the baking environment. The dough must be very sticky, as in hard-to-work-with sticky. This is nothing well-floured fingers can’t conquer, but I did want to give you a heads-up.

Besides the water content in the dough, the oven must also be moist. This humidity, in addition to some occasional misting will give the crusty baguettes their signature look. How does this work? You know how when someone pours water on the rocks in a dry sauna, and suddenly it feels way hotter? It probably has something to do with that.

Anyway, who cares why it works, the important thing here is that real, authentic, freshly-baked baguette is now an everyday reality. One thing worth noting; I adapted this no-knead version from a recipe I found herelast year. The original is in metric, so I’ve converted it, but also included the original flour and water units in case you want to get it exact. I hope you give this easy, and so not impossible baguette recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


For 4 smaller or 2 large baguette:
1/4 tsp dry active yeast (I used Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast)
(Note: if you want to use a traditional bread technique, add the whole package of yeast (2 1/4 tsp) and proceed as usual)
1 1/2 cups water (325 grams)
1 3/4 tsp salt
18 oz by weight all-purpose flour (500 grams), about 4 cups
- Mix dough and let rise 12-14 hours or until doubled
- Punch down and shape loaves, let rise covered with floured plastic 1 to 1 1/2 hr or until almost doubled
- Bake at 550 F. about 15 minutes or until well-browned
- Spray with water before baking, at 5 minutes, and at 10 minutes during cooking time
Salad Lyonnaise – A Super Salad from a City of Meat

Salad Lyonnaise – A Super Salad from a City of Meat

How great is Salad Lyonnaise? Lyon is considered the meat capital of France, and yet the city’s most famous, and reproduced dish is probably this simple frisee salad. Now that’s some delicious irony.

Don’t worry…this salad is far from vegan. The mildly bitter greens are dressed in a shallot and Dijon dressing, it’s spiked with a generous handful of crispy lardons, or bacon in my case, and topped with a runny egg.

By the way, unless you’re some kind of crazy person, you’re going to need some crispy croutons or crostini to finish this masterpiece off. Here’s a link to the ones I used for this, sans Parmigiano-Reggiano. You’ll also want to taste and adjust the dressing to your liking. I use a 2-to-1, oil to vinegar ratio, as I think you need some acidity to cut the richness of the bacon and egg yolk, but you may not want it as sharp.

As I joked about in the video, this is so tasty, it may be the only salad that has a chance to be picked as someone’s last meal. There’s good, and then there’s death row good. Anyway, I’ve been dying to film this old favorite, and I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


For 4 generous portions:
2 heads frisee lettuce, aka curly endive, or use arugula
8 oz bacon (or pancetta if you want to experience something closer to real lardons)
4 large eggs
1 tbsp chives
For the dressing (makes extra, about 3/4 cup total):
1 generous tbsp minced shallots
1 generous tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup lightly flavored olive oil