Let's be clear, our goal is to produce a clear, clean liquid which will enrich and enhance anything that it is added to, without imposing a flavour of its own. It should not be good enough to consume by itself.
I use nothing more than the cook's "holy trinity" of roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery, also known as a mirepoix which provide pleasing sweet middle tones. You can substitute half the quantity of onion with leek. The only aromatic we will use is parsley and I use just the stalks for flavour.
The proportions: one part vegetables to 10 parts water.
You cannot produce a clear and clean stock without skimming the impurities that will rise to the surface. If you don't remove this scum it will simply boil and emulsify adding it's "flavour" to your stock, this makes it nigh on impossible to achieve a clear liquid, no matter how much you filter it.
Salt. Cooks to not add salt to stock. We wait to flavour the end dish, not this one.
Quick Update - this was a reminder of why content should always be checked by two pairs of eyes. I went to make this the other day and realised that I had made a few chefs shortcuts, i.e. been a little lazy, so I have edited it.
There is a baker in my local French town who makes a “pain aux poires et chocolate”, that’s a croissant filled with chocolate and pears. It’s divine. This is a play on that idea, but using an open-faced tart, which allows your eyes to get excited before you taste it.
What can I say about this recipe? It is delectable and decadent. Many visitors to Misse describe it as "evil", but they invariably ask for more.
It is simply a combination of custard and caramel. The hint of fleur de sel lifts it to the sublime.
It’s all about the caramel. To get the very best flavour and colour you have to take the caramel to the brink of ruin, but fear not it isn’t difficult. Just don’t be tempted to put your finger and taste it.
Use top notch salt. Fleur de Sel and Maldon sea salt flakes are good examples.
We warm the milk and cream because adding these ingredients cold will make the caramel spit.
A culinary marriage from Poitou-Charentes. You'll find this in restaurants throughout Poitou-Charentes and the Western Loire. It is often referred to as simply "poisson au beurre blanc".
Sandre English: Pikeperch or Zander is a firm and fine white fish with a delicate flavour. Fine specimens up to 1.2m (4ft) long have been caught in the Thouet river just a two minute walk from our house and the fish is common in the rivers of Poitou-Charentes. In these days of dwindling fish stocks, it is nice to offer a recipe for a fish that is delicious, plentiful and thriving. You could substitute any firm white fish but my recommendation would be loin of cod (dos de cabillaud).
Beurre blanc English: White Butter is the sauce of the region. The butter of Poitou Charentes, the first to be granted an AOC, is a pale creamy butter with a high (82%) butterfat content. It is highly prized by chefs worldwide. The sauce is actually a warm emulsion and needs to be prepared and served immediately. If left to stand it will separate.
A dish we make with wild salmon and sea trout. It's simply tossed "cooked" in the citrus marinade. Freezing the fish for 3-4 hours before preparing will kill any parasites that might be present and will make it much easier to slice thinly.
I like to use a pinch of szechuan peppercorns in this dish.
I have taken a six month break from writing recipes, rather longer than anticipated. There has been so much to do here at Misse that I haven't had the distance and mental space needed to write. But now I am back, from rather nearer than outer space (h/t Gloria Gaynor), and I will be posting recipes and food pieces once or twice a week. Once I get a new content management system (CMS) up and running I may become more prolific. The CMS will save a lot of coding and make it easier for me to maintain this recipe site and its dependencies.
I thought Mayonnaise would be a fun recipe to ease myself back in. It's as easy as pie, but strikes fear into the hearts of many. Let's see if I can demystify some of that.
I have been cooking and refining this dish for years. The recipe is based upon one by Madame Germaine Carter whose 'Home Book of French Cookery' was a favourite in my teens, not only because of the recipes but also due to its narrative. Mme Carter and her co-authors were interned in a number of prisoner of war camps during World War II. During a winter of particular privation in 1941-42, a fellow prisoner suggested the book as a means to boost their flagging spirits. The book is long out of print, but copies are not hard to find.
I have included additional ingredients that you'll find in most 'authentic' recipes in the Suggestion section, but with the exception of the bread fried in bacon fat, I find them a distraction.
This dish is always better when made a day in advance.
It's fun when a friend from afar comes to stay, but it's fabulous when said friend brings truffles with her. Hot foot from Abruzzo and on her way back to Manhattan our pal Jackie brought truffles, so I had to share them.
I watched Rick Stein eating fried eggs with truffles on TV last week, he was on location in Puglia and out with a truffle hunter. I have eaten truffle omelettes here in France, it's a popular dish, but I preferred the purity of fried eggs with truffles.
Lola, one of our chickens, has been laying enormous eggs. I figured that these were double yokers and this was confirmed this morning.
The method for frying eggs I learnt from observing and listening to Albert Roux many years ago.