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.
With Thanksgiving upon us, in the U.S., and the holidays only a month away I thought it timely to share some turkey roasting tips.
Now that turkey can be found all year round, in everything from "bacon" to sandwiches, escalopes and sausages, it's important to take some extra care so that the holiday bird still has an edge. Turkey's current popularity is due to its low fat content; low fat all too often means tasteless.
Sourcing a good turkey is essential. In the U.S. I have used Dartagnan who offer a wide variety of birds including wild turkey, it doesn't come in a bottle :) In the UK The Ginger Pig is an excellent supplier. Most good supermarkets offer free range birds both fresh and frozen.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to celebrate but they can also be used to innovate in the kitchen. I am happy to be constrained by “traditional” ingredients as long as I am free to choose what to do with them.
The reason for scare quotes: traditional = old bad habit, constraint and enemy of innovation; I have little time for it.
I came up with this dish for a Thanksgiving dinner in Atlanta a couple of years ago. We had sent our guests a wide list of ingredients and asked them to choose the flavours that they most associated with Thanksgiving, celebration and autumn/fall. This dish, one of many small courses that we served, was a result of their choices.
I had wanted to do something with sweet potato that showed it in a different light. The dish is equally good with sweet potato or squash, but look for a Potimarron or Hokkaido squash, they are less moist which is essential.
At the end of our summer squash season we ended up, as you often do, with a couple of giant zucchini\courgettes. They are best eaten when smaller, but were perfect for these loaves.
To readers outside the U.S. think cake rather than bread, this is not savoury. The nearest things I can compare it to are a carrot cake and the Jamaican Ginger cakes that were popular when I was growing up in the UK.