Coq au Vin

One of our favourites for a grey, wintery evening. Warm, rich and full of flavours.
Let’s first talk about the chicken: we prefer using chicken thighs, organic, obviously. Great texture, layered and a bit of fat. You could also use chicken legs, but then we suggest removing the main bone; you don’t want to struggle while eating.

The second main ingredient is the red wine. A classic Coq au Vin is made with Bourgogne, a relatively expensive red wine from France made from Pinot Noir grapes. According to some people the wine you use for the stew must be the same that accompanies the dish. Which would mean that part of your beautiful Bourgogne ends up in the stew. Hm. We think that the background of this ‘rule’ is about the quality of the wine you use for the stew: it must be a nice, dry, red wine; one you would be perfectly happy to drink. So not some left over red wine, or a wine you didn’t like. A perfect stew requires quality ingredients, that’s all.

The third main ingredient is the pearl onion, that lovely small, silver onion. Great to pickle, but for a Coq au Vin you need fresh ones.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Coq au Vin with a glass of Révélation Pays d’Oc Syrah-Viognier produced by Badet Clément. It’s a full-bodied wine with flavours of blackberry and spices. Touch of oak as well. The 15% Viognier gives the wine a nice, light touch. Great wine for a very reasonable price.

What You Need

  • 2 Chicken Thighs
  • 4 strips of Pancetta or Bacon
  • 14 Pearl Onions
  • 100 grams Mushrooms
  • 2 Garlic Gloves
  • Chicken Stock
  • Red Wine
  • Water
  • Bouquet Garni (Bay Leaf, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary)
  • Black Pepper
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • Snow Peas (Mangetout)
  • Nutmeg

What You Do

Clean and quarter the mushroom, slice the strips of pancetta or bacon in four, peel the onions, slice the thighs in two or three, peel the garlic and chop. Add olive oil to a warm heavy pan. Begin by frying the pancetta or bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and let drain on kitchen paper. Add (whole) pearl onions to the pan and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and let drain on kitchen paper. Add mushrooms to the pan and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and let drain on kitchen paper. Add chicken thighs to the pan and fry until golden. When golden add the garlic and fry for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add pancetta, mushrooms and onions to the pan. Add chicken stock, red wine and perhaps some water. The chicken should be nearly covered. Add bouquet garni and leave to simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. 

Remove chicken, mushroom, pancetta, garlic and bouquet garni from the pan. Discard the bouquet. Return one or two mushroom to the liquid. Transfer the remaining ingredients to an oven at 60 °C or 140 °F. Blender the liquid for one minute. Reduce the liquid until it has reached the right consistency. The fun is that a liquid thickened with blended mushrooms doesn’t split. Return the ingredients to the sauce and boil the snow peas. Combine the coq au vin with the parsley, add some black pepper. Steam or quickly cook the peas, coat with excellent olive oil and add some freshly grated nutmeg.

Coq Au Vin ©cadwu
Coq Au Vin ©cadwu

The Chef of Kings

Just a few years before the height of the French revolution, Antonin Carême was born in the poorest area of Paris. He was abandoned by his parents and at the age of 10 he started his career by sweeping floors of a chophouse. It turned out to be the career of a celebrity. He was not only King of Chefs, he was also Chef of Kings: amongst them Napoleon, the Prince Regent (later George IV) and Tsar Alexander I.

365 Menu’s

At the age of 21 the influential politician Talleyrand asked him to become chef at the Château de Valençay. On instruction from Napoleon, Talleyrand would entertain 4 times per week for at least 36 (foreign) guests. Carême was asked to create a menu for every day of the year, without repetition. And since meals were served a la Française (a variety of dishes served simultaneously) this meant Carême had to create many dishes. Fortunately, he kept note of what he served and how he prepared it.

In his inspiring book Cooking For Kings, the live of Antonin Carême, The First Celebrity Chef, author Ian Kelly introduces us to the world of Antonin Carême. In a very easy to read, inviting way he describes the menus and food as created by Carême.  For instance, on page 76 he includes the menu as served on June 8th, 1806 at the Château: two soups, followed by twelve dishes and four desserts, including intriguing dishes such as Young Turkey in Watercress and Flan Milan. All menus and recipes from his days at the Château are included in his book Le Maitre d’Hotel Français (Paris, 1822).

Potage

Soups were important to Carême and since he served at least two soups per menu, the number of soups he created is more than impressive. Some seem a bit outdated (Potages d’anguille de Seine au pêcheur (with eel from the Seine)), others would be perfect in today’s kitchen (Potage de purée de d’oseille et du cerfeuil (with sorrel and chervil)).

At the end of his career Carême was asked by James Mayer and Betty de Rothschild to become their chef. Carême, who basically had already retired because of his very poor health, was tempted by a more than generous budget and accepted. The couple also supported his writing. De Rothschilds, very much nouveau riche, intended to achieve a position in the Parisian high society by hosting gala’s, lunches, dinners and receptions.  Of course, with Carême leading, they were very successful. Amongst their regular guests were Heinrich Heine, Frédéric Chopin, Victor Hugo and Gioacchino Rossini. They also regularly invited the press enhancing the celebrity status of Carême even more. And in his slipstream, they became more important.

Last Years

During his last years (he died aged 48 probably due to inhaling toxic fumes of the coal burning stoves) Carême wrote L’Art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle. Traité élémentaire et pratique. Five volumes, nearly 1700 pages with menus, recipes and drawings. A clear legacy of a Chef who is still remembered for his Charlotte Russe, the Tournedos Rossini, his systemisation of the kitchen and the four mother sauces.

Cooking For Kings, the live of Antonin Carême is a tribute to a devoted, extremely talented chef. The book includes several very interesting recipes, for instance Gelee de Verjus and Petits Croustades de Cailles. Perhaps old school, but nevertheless worth trying!

The King of Chefs

He was born in the Rue du Bac (Paris) in June 1784. Today a fashionable street, well known to many because the prestigious department store Le Bon Marché is located on the corner with the Rue de Sèvres. In his days the area was a swamp with housing for the very poorest of Paris.
He was named after Queen Marie Antoinette, which wasn’t a great idea because she was beheaded only 9 years later during the peak of the French Revolution. He changed his name to Antonin and later he would sign his books and menus with Antonin Carême de Paris.

Abandonded

When he was only ten years old, his father left him at one of the gates of Paris. Fortunately, he was picked up by the owner of one of the many Parisian chophouses. This is where he learned his first cooking skills. Six years later he started with the famous Pâtissier Sylvain Bailly. He became a Master of Pastry, Sugar and Pâtisserie in general. It wasn’t long before his talent was recognised by the influential statesman Talleyrand.

As a young man Antonin Carême would spend his free afternoons at the library, studying and researching ancient recipes and (Greek and Roman) architecture. He became an expert in drawing, a skill he used to design and create pièce montéesextraordinaires, huge table pieces made from sugar, reflecting a roman temple, a Greek building, a fountain etcetera. These extraordinaires could be used to serve food, but more importantly they were elegant masterpieces. In some cases, it took him 6 weeks to create a pièce montée.

Author

He made notes of everything he prepared and published various cookbooks (that sold very well). His aim was to explain how to prepare a dish, not to impress the reader. The cookbooks include his own beautiful drawings and many detailed menus. Amongst his creations are over 100 soups and the delicious Charlotte Russe. He perfected and popularised Mille-Feuille, Vol Au Vent and Croquembouche. He is one of the three main chefs of the Haute or Grande Cuisine (the others are François-Pierre de La Varenne and Auguste Escoffier). He was one of the first to study how to combine wine and food. As part of the systematisation of French cuisine he introduced the four main sauces: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole and Allemande.

Cooking For Kings

In his inspiring book Cooking For Kings, The Life of Antonin Carême, The First Celebrity Chef, author Ian Kelly introduces us to the live of Antonin Carême. In a very easy to read, inviting way he shows us how Carême developed from a poor boy into a culinary, artistic talent. One that not only influenced his own generation but also many to come. His focus on detail, hygiene, the use of fresh ingredients and aesthetic presentation is still very much part of today’s kitchen.

Cooking For Kings, the live of Antonin Carême is a tribute to a devoted, extremely talented chef. The book includes several very interesting recipes, for instance gâteau pithivier and cold salami of partridges. Perhaps old school, but nevertheless worth trying!

PS

We’re still looking for a hard copy of French Cookery: comprising L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise; Le Patissier Royal; Le Cuisinier Parisien (translated by William Hall; published in London, 1836). Anyone? Thankfully the book has been digitised!

Daube Provençale

On a warm summer’s evening, sitting on your terrace, relaxing and sipping rosé, you wonder what to eat. Perhaps something that will make you think of the beautiful Cote d’Azur, with the chirping of cicadas and aromas of pine trees? A Salade Niçoise or something more substantial?
That’s the moment to dive into your freezer and look for that last portion of Daube Provençale. Excellent beef, stewed in red wine and packed with flavours, olives and mushrooms.

Fortunately preparing Daube Provençale is not too much work (and it keeps well in the freezer). You can also be fairly flexible with the recipe. Well known chef Hélène Barale (La Cuisine Niçoise, Mes 106 Recettes) uses beef, veal and pork with tomatoes and dried mushrooms, Hilaire Walden (French Provincial Cooking) suggests marinating the beef in red wine and also adds orange peel and olives whereas the classic La Cuisinière Provençale published in 1897 and written by Jean-Baptiste Reboul suggests adding vinegar to the marinade but doesn’t use tomatoes, mushrooms or olives.

Wine Pairing

We prepared our daube with red wine from France, made from Cabernet Franc grapes and produced by La Tour Beaumont. In general you need a full bodied, fruity red wine, with a good structure. You could of course enjoy the daube with the same red wine, but the daube is flexible. Just remember that the flavours and aromas are intense. 

What You Need (2 portions for 2)

  • 750 grams of Excellent Marbled Beef (Blade Steak for instance)
  • ½ Carrot
  • Shallot
  • 3 Garlic Gloves
  • 250 grams of Mushrooms
  • 50 grams of Black Olives (Kalamata or Taggiasca)
  • Olive Oil
  • Bouquet Garni (Bay Leaf, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, Chives and/or Sage)
  • 500 ml Red Wine

What You Do

Start by slicing the meat into nice, big cubes. Heat a heavy large pot through and through, add olive oil and fry the meat until brown. Probably you need to do this in two batches. Set the meat aside and fry the chopped shallot, the carrot and the garlic until smooth. Transfer the meat to the pot, stir well, add the red wine, the (halved) olives and the bouquet garni. Keep on low heat for 2 hours. Clean the mushrooms and add these to the pan. Keep on low heat for another two hours. Check if the meat is soft and tender. Quickly cool the pot and transfer the content to the refrigerator.

The next day label off some of the fat (we prefer not to do this, but feel free to do so). Divide the daube in two portions. One for the freezer, the other one to enjoy today. Warm the (halved) daube and remove some of the bigger mushrooms and four tablespoons of cooking liquid. Blender the liquid and mushrooms very fine and transfer back to the pan. This mixture will thicken the cooking liquid. Leave the daube to gently simmer for an hour. If the sauce has not yet reached the right consistency, then transfer cooking liquid to a separate pan and reduce on medium to high heat. Transfer back to the main pan and combine.

Serve with red bell pepper salad, pasta, polenta or boiled potatoes.

  • Daube Provençale ©cadwu
  • Ingredients of Daube Provençale ©cadwu
  • Daube Provençale ready to be stewed ©cadwu

Moules Marinière

A Delicious Classic

Moules Marinière, Mosselen met Look, Mussels in Beer, Mussels with Piri Piri and Mussels with Anise, served with crusted bread, with French Fries or just a glass of wine, as a starter or for lunch: mussels are great to combine. And did we mention delicious?
Preparing Moules Marinière is not difficult at all. Make sure you buy tasty mussels (we prefer small ones) and lots of tarragon and parsley. Don’t simply add the herbs; create a simple sauce. You want to coat the mussels with the powerful flavour of tarragon and parsley. A drop of Henri Bardouin’s award winning Pastis is recommended.

Wine Pairing

White wine of course: Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, perhaps Pinot Gris or Riesling. In general a fresh, dry white wine with medium acidity and fruit aromas like citrus. Mussels are very flexible, both in preparation and accompagnement.

What You Need

  • 1 kilo of Mussels
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Olive Oil
  • White Wine
  • Bouquet Garni (Parsley, Bay Leaf, Thyme)
  • Tarragon
  • Parsley
  • Pastis
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Start by finely chopping the shallot and the garlic. Take a large, heavy pan and heat the oil. Add the shallot and the garlic, cook for 5 minutes until soft and glazed. Add a glass of white wine and the bouquet garni. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. In parallel clean the mussels. Increase the heat to (nearly) maximum, add the mussels, close the lid and cook until all mussels are open; perhaps 4 minutes. Shake the pan during the cooking process or give the mussels a quick stir with a wooden spoon. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate and put in a luke warm oven. Discard the bouquet garni, add chopped parsley and tarragon, a splash of pastis, some black pepper and leave to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer mussels to two warm (soup) plates and pour the sauce over the mussels.

Moules Mariniere ©cadwu
Moules Mariniere ©cadwu

The Art of Sauces: Gribiche

Almost Forgotten

Sauce Gribiche is a classic French sauce, made with boiled egg yolks, oil, various herbs (chives, chervil, parsley, tarragon), cornichons and capers. Sauce Gribiche is ideal with cold meat and fish. It’s a great combination of flavours and textures, also thanks to the chopped egg white.
As with mayonnaise the oil is an important ingredient. The range of flavours in Sauce Gribiche allows you to use a combination of oils, depending on the dish it should accompany. For instance olive oil or grapeseed oil with a more neutral oil like sunflower or arachis (peanut) oil.
In this case we use chives only because especially tarragon would be too much for the asparagus. Chives give it a touch of onion, which is exactly what the sauce needs.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Asparagus with sauce Gribiche with a glass of Macon (Louis Jadot Mâcon Villages Grange Magnien). The wine (100% chardonnay) comes with some gentle acidity and minerality, which is great with the acidity of the Sauce Gribiche. It’s fruity with a floral scent.

What You Need

  • Sauce Gribiche
    • Two Eggs
    • Dijon Mustard (1 tablespoon)
    • (White Wine) Vinegar (1 tablespoon)
    • Oil (100 ml)
    • Lemon Juice
    • Pepper
    • Chives
    • Cornichon
    • Capers (in brine)
  • Asparagus

What You Do

Start by boiling the eggs, making sure the yolk is completely set. Depending on the size add them to boiling water and leave them in simmering water for 12 minutes. We steamed them for 15 minutes. Cool quickly, peel and separate the white from the yolk.
Once cool cut the white in very small bits and store. Push the egg yolk through a sieve. It should be a powder-like substance. Add the mustard and the vinegar and stir well until it’s a smooth paste. Continue stirring and very slowly add the olive oil, as if making a mayonnaise. Which is basically what you’re doing anyway! Main difference is that cooked yolk is less powerful when it comes to emulsifying. So the amount of olive oil you can add is limited and the process is more challenging.
Once you’ve added the olive oil, add some lemon juice, taste and decide if more mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper or lemon is needed.
Now add the chopped egg white, the finely chopped chives, the drained and chopped capers and the thinly sliced cornichon.
The sauce should be ‘stable’ so feel free to store in the refrigerator.
Steam or cook the white asparagus and enjoy!
PS It’s actually a very tricky sauce, one that splits easily. If it does, no worries, just add a tea spoon of (home made) mayonnaise and the problem is solved.

Lentils with Confit of Duck

A Nice Lunch

Think France, think a small restaurant in a small street, nice and simple, no Michelin star in sight. It’s 12.30, time for a quick lunch. You enter the restaurant, take a seat and order today’s dish, the plat du jour. It turns out to be a generous helping of lentils with confit de cuisse de canard and parsley. After having enjoyed your lunch, you think about the joy of good food and the beauty of lentils. Lentille Verte du Puy, such a treat! The combination of the confit, the lentils and the parsley with the sweetness of the shallot and the garlic is elegant, moist and full of flavours.

Feel free to buy ready-made confit. You could of course make it yourself but it is fairly time consuming and not something you would do for two confits only. In our experience most of the confits you can buy (tinned or vacuumed) will be fine. If you’re lucky your local butcher will make his or her own confits. We have included an alternative recipe below.

Wine Pairing

We suggest a glass of not too complex red wine; a well-balanced wine with notes of red fruit, gentle tannins and not too oaky. We enjoyed a glass of Bordeaux-Supérieur, Château Picon.

What You Need

  • 3 Shallots
  • 1 Garlic Glove
  • Coriander Seed
  • Lentils (Lentille Verte du Puy O.P & A.O.C. from Sabarot)
  • Chicken Stock
  • 2 Confits de Canard
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley
  • Black Pepper
  • Optional: Green Salad

What You Do

Finely chop one shallot and glaze gently in olive oil. In the mean time check the lentils for small pebbles; wash them. Once the shallot is glazed add the crushed coriander seed and the lentils. Heat and stir for one minutes, as you would do with risotto rice. Add some chicken stock and water (the stock is only intended to give the lentils a small push) and leave to simmer on low heat. When the lentils are nearly done, finely chop the other two shallots and glaze gently in olive oil and in the fat that comes with the confit. In parallel warm the two confits. After a few minutes add the finely chopped garlic to the shallot. Chop the parsley. When the garlic and shallot are nicely soft and sweet, add the parsley, some black pepper and then mix with the lentils. Remove the skin from the confit and serve the duck on top of the lentils. Perhaps serve with a simple green salad.

Alternative Way of Making Confit of Duck

Start by crushing a nice amount of juniper berries. Take a sheet of strong aluminium foil, add some crushed berries, a bay leaf and put one duck leg (skin side up) on top. Drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Add the remainder of the berries and a second bay leaf. Wrap the meat in foil, making sure it is tightly closed and the foil intact. If not sure wrap with a second piece of foil. Transfer to a warm oven (90° Celsius or 200° Fahrenheit) for at least 8 hours.

Lentils with Confit of Duck © cadwu
Lentils with Confit of Duck © cadwu

Tournedos Rossini

The First King of Chefs

Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868) was a gifted, talented and great composer. Not only did he compose some 40 operas, many songs and the beautiful Petite Messe Solennelle, he was also an expert with regard to food. Perhaps expert is not the right word: he was a gourmand, an excessive eater and drinker plus a culinary inspiration. Chefs would name dishes after him, such as Filets de Sole Rossini (poached Dover sole wrapped around goose liver and truffle served with a white wine sauce), Cocktail Rossini (strawberries and prosecco), Macaroni Soup alla Rossini (a soup with partridge quenelles and Parmesan cheese) and many others.

The soup was created by Marie-Antoine Carême, a very dear and close friend of Rossini. He was Roi des Cuisiniers et Cuisinier des Rois having been chef to Napoleon, the Prince of Wales (the later King George IV), Tsar Alexander 1st and Baron de Rothschild. He created the concept of the four mother sauces (Allemande, Béchamel, Espagnole, Velouté) and was an essential inspiration for Auguste Escoffier. Marie-Antoine Carême is one of the most influential chefs ever, a brilliant  patissier and author of several books on cookery, including L’Art de la Cuisine Française.

Very likely it was Escoffier who came up with the word tournedos, but the combination of bread, meat, goose liver, truffle and Madeira was a creation by Marie-Antoine Carême, inspired by and prepared for his friend Gioachino Rossini.

Tournedos Rossini is a culinary pleasure. It’s elegant, full of flavours and exquisite. It’s simply gorgeous.

Wine Pairing

A classic red Bordeaux will be a perfect match. Dry, full-bodied and fruity. We enjoyed a glass of Château Gaillard Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2015. This is a dry, cherry-red coloured wine. It features medium woody, fruity and vegetal scents and offers a broad texture as well as medium tannins.

What You Need

  • 2 Tournedos (Fillet Steaks)
  • Butter
  • Madeira
  • Fresh Goose Liver
  • Winter truffle
  • Stock (Chicken or Veal)
  • 2 Slices of Old Bread

What You Do

Originally you would need demi-glace sauce, but we take a short cut. Make sure you have everything ready. The oven should be at 70° Celsius (160° Fahrenheit), one heavy iron pan and one non-sticky pan both warm, nearly hot, through and through. Make sure the meat is at room temperature. We prefer a small steak (75 gram). Start by frying the two slices of bread in butter until golden. Transfer the bread to the oven. Clean the pan with kitchen paper and add butter. Quickly fry the meat, it must be saignant (no options here). Wrap in foil and set aside. Reduce heat. Add stock to the pan and deglaze. Add Madeira. Thinly slice the fresh winter truffle (no options here). Add the smaller slices and crumbles to the sauce. Put the beef on top of the bread. Keep warm. Fry the goose liver for just a few seconds in the hot non sticky pan until golden/brown. Now plate up: the bread with the beef and the goose liver on top. Pour over the sauce, add the bigger slices of truffle and serve immediately.

Tournedos Rossini © cadwu
Tournedos Rossini © cadwu

 

Sweetbread with Madeira and Truffle

A Starter to Remember

A culinary treat that is delicate, balanced and overwhelming yet subtle. In a restaurant you will probably get Sweetbread (Ris de Veau, Kalfszwezerik, Kalbsbries, Molleja de Ternera, Animelle di Vitello) dusted with flour (okayish) or breaded (awful idea, it’s not a Wiener Schnitzel). In some countries Sweetbread is grilled, which is an interesting idea. We stick to a very traditional approach that works extremely well because it’s all about the taste of the Sweetbread in combination with Madeira and Truffle.
Sweetbread should of course be hot and soft on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. Use your non-sticky skillet and a bit of butter for a beautiful result.
Sweetbread should be between rosé and well done. It requires a bit of attention, but it’s hard to overcook Sweetbread. Although some restaurants are very capable of creating rubber.
It is essential to clean Sweetbread. For some the process of removing the membrane from Sweetbread is intimidating, but don’t be put off. Just watch the video!

Wine Pairing

First the Madeira: don’t be tempted to buy so called ‘cooking Madeira’. This is some horrible, sweet liquid that is not even close to Madeira. One for the bin. We bought a bottle of Santa Maria Fine, Medium Dry, Vinho Madeira. It is perfectly suited for this recipe. The story behind Madeira is complex so if you get the chance to buy one that is 10 or 15 years old, please give it a try. Just sip and enjoy.

We’re looking for a wine that will be supporting the delicate taste and the sweetness, earthiness and the slight nuttiness of the sauce. If you want to drink a glass of white wine, then it should be a full-bodied Chardonnay, although not too oaky. Chablis will be a good choice. If you go for red, then we recommend a Beaujolais Cru (St. Amour or Fleurie) or a Bourgogne. It’s about soft tannins, aromas like dark cherries and licorice and on the palate a lean texture and dry.

What You Need

  • 200 grams of Sweetbread
  • Two leaves of Bay Leaf
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Butter
  • Shallot
  • Veal Stock
  • Madeira
  • Preserved Truffle (preferably without additional flavours)
  • Jus de Truffes

What You Do

Start by filling a big pan with water. Add the crunched pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Now add the sweetbread and make sure the water remains close to boiling. Blanch the sweetbread for let’s say 5 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the sweetbread.
Transfer the sweetbread to a large bowl with ice-cold water and cool the meat as quickly as possible.
Now it’s time to clean the sweetbread. Remove the bits of fat, the fleeces, any membrane, the veins and anything else you don’t like. Best way to do this is with your hands and a very sharp small knife. Once your sweetbread is clean, you will be able to see how to slice it later on. But first put it on a flat plate, seal it with plastic foil, put a similar flat plate on top of it and put something heavy on top of the plate. Transfer to the fridge and leave it for a few hours. The idea is twofold: on the one hand the sweetbread will be firm and easy to partition. And it will lose some liquid because of the weight.
With the sweetbread in the refrigerator it’s time to think about your sauce. Cut the shallot in small bits and glaze in butter. Aftre a few minutes add the veal stock and the Madeira. Mix and reduce. Add one preserved truffle. Blender the liquid after five minutes. Pass through a small sieve and warm what is the beginning of your sauce. Add Jus de Truffes. This is an essential ingredient because it brings volume and depth to the sauce. It’s not to be confused with Truffle Oil, which in most cases is some kind of horrendous chemical invention. Taste and perhaps add some more Madeira or stock. A pinch of pepper may also be helpful. Keep warm for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. You will notice that the sauce becomes more intense and mature, which is exactly what you want.
In parallel cut 2-3 cm thick slices of sweetbread. Fry them for 5 minutes or so in a very warm (but not hot), non-sticky skillet with butter. It’s simple: when the sweetbread is golden and beautiful they are ready to be served. If in doubt: there is bound to be a small slice, one that you can use to test. Remember it’s offal, so you don’t want to take a risk.
Take two warm plates, add sauce and carefully put the slices of sweetbread on the plate. You could add slices of (fresh) truffle on top.

Video

 

Tellines with Parsley

This Week’s Special

Many, far too many years ago we were walking along the Mediterranean coast, enjoying the sea, the sun and the company of a dear friend. She asked us if we would like to eat tellines for dinner. Of course, we replied, but what are tellines? She smiled and said I’ll show you. She walked to the sea and kneeled down, just where the sand and the sea meet. All you needed to do was move your fingers through the sand, just under the surface and feel. She harvested a few tellines, opened them with her fingers, washed them in the sea and that’s how we enjoyed our very first tellines, fresh from the sea. So simple, to tasty, so good.
We harvested many more and went back to her house where we cooked the tellines in a hot skillet and enjoyed them with a beautiful local ro­sé.

Harvesting tellines (or in France tenilles) is simple; knowing where you can do this is the challenge. Fortunately you can (occasionally) find them on the market.

It’s possible to use other small clams, but the fun of tellines is that they open quickly when in the pan, making sure they remain juicy.

Here is what you need:

  • 300 grams of tellines
  • one Shallot
  • one Garlic glove
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley
  • White Wine
  • Black Pepper

Wash the tellines, preferably using salted water. Discard ones with a small hole and ones that are broken. Chop the shallot (you probably need half of it) and the garlic very fine. Heat the skillet, add the oil, the shallot, the garlic and the tellines and cook until the tellines are open. You probably want to add a splash of white wine during the cooking process. Serve the tellines on a warm plate with black pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Enjoy with a glass of Cô­tes de Pro­ven­ce ro­sé, for instance an Estandon from the Var region. No cutlery needed!