Over a large hot charcoal fire, grill the Lardon (or bacon) in a grill basket tossing constantly when the fire stats to flare from the melting fat. When slightly/fairly charred and the bacon is cooked, remove from fire and chop into medium pieces. put aside.
Here is a fantastic French country comfort meal that goes back multiple generations in our family. This is a glimpse into the real French country style of cooking that few are allowed to see.
2 1/2 lbs small red or white potato
2 lbs carrots
2 lbs peeled and coarsely chopped shallots
2-2.5 lbs ham (from a shoulder is best)
1 3/4 cups of burgundy wine
2 smoked ham hocks
1/2 cup barley
1/2 stick of butter
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper
Melt butter in a large flame and oven proof 6-7 quart cast iron dutch oven like a Staub, Lodge or Le Creuset over a low to medium fire. Add oil ad shallots. Sauté until translucent, stirring, about 3 minutes. Layer the potatoes, ham hocks, carrots and ham. Add wine and barley.Sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir gently several times during cooking, especially scrapping the bottom with a spatula so that the sticking is kept to a minimum.
Voila!! Serve with a nice crusty French bread and hearty red wine like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Grilling is one of my favorite ways to prepare my meals. Seafood and vegetables get equal time on my grill, and when you put them together like this…summer never tasted so good…
2 bundles of asparagus (about 2 lbs,)
2 lbs of large, cleaned shrimp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper
Herbs De Province
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Juice of one lemon
Toss asparagus with 1/4 cup of oil, one tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of pepper and 1 heaping tablespoon of herbs de province in a large bowl
Toss shrimp in 1/4 cup of oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, two of pepper and 1 tablespoon of herbs de province
Grill asparagus in a grill basket over a medium heat charcoal fire, turning occasionally, until lightly charred. In the last 2 minutes of grilling, sprinkle the brown sugar over the asparagus and toss well but gently to coat. Put aside while the shrimp cooks.
For the shrimp, toss with tablespoon of salt, one of pepper and one of Herbs De Province and 1/4 cup of oil. Cook over the same charcoal fire in a wire basket until slightly charred and opaque, turning the shrimp with thongs individually.
Place the cooked shrimp on the asparagus and sprinkle with the juice of one lemon. Serve to applause!!
A beautiful savory killer dish that can be served at any summertime outdoor party (especially for the 4th of July!!) to much admiration. The reason?
A) It’s grilled.
B) It involves bacon.
c) It involves bacon.
No typo here… Vive Le Bacon!!
2 lbs of Natural, thick-cut (maple flavoured if available) bacon, strips cut in two. Lardon, or the French version of bacon is unsmoked and perfect for this recipe as it will be grilled and smoked, but this is very difficult to find in the states and so…. bacon it is!
4-5 sweet yellow peppers cut into 1/2 strips, lengthwise (I used baby sweet peppers)
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Herbs De Province
Toss sweet pepper strips in a large bowl with oil, a generous dash of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of Herbs De Province. Place in 2 grill baskets over a hot charcoal fire, tossing occasionally with thongs. When charred nicely, remove from the fire and place back in a large bowl.
Place bacon in same two stainless grill baskets and place over a hot charcoal fire. When the charcoal starts to flare from the melting fat, toss the bacon with tongs to cook evenly. When almost done, drizzle maple syrup over the bacon and continue to toss. Remove from fire when well coated and the syrup thickens on the bacon.
Combine the bacon with peppers, toss well and serve. This is good as a side dish with a fresh summer salad and French bread.
The ocean calls out to me again with a recipe dedicated to my grandfather. A fine French chef in his own right that adored the gifts of the sea. Succulent and savory, I know you would approve. This one is for you Pépère…..
One fillet (appx. 3/4 lb) of a thick cut fish such as hake, cod or sea bass.
1 cup of diced shallots
1 cup of diced sweet orange pepper
6 key limes or two regular limes
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of dry French white wine such as Sauvignon blanc, Pinot gris or Chardonnay.
Fresh ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 250 and put a large oven proof platter in it to warm.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 of oil in a medium to large sauté pan over a low to medium fire. Add shallots and sweet pepper wit a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, stirring frequently and remove from fire.
In a large blue steel (such as De Buyer) or stainless steel fry pan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over a low to medium heat. Season fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Sauté fish on one side for 4 minutes, turn and sauté another 4 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. Transfer to warming platter carefully and cook remainder of fillets, adding butter and oil each time.
When done coking all of the fish, squeeze the juice of the limes into the pan and add the wine. Increase heat to medium and deglaze the pan by scrapping up the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula, stirring as you go. Reduce the liquid by 1/4 and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Reduce heat to low and add the shallot and peppers. Stir well and top each fillet in individual serving plates with mixture. Garnish with slices of lime. Serve with a mixed green salad topped with Roquefort cheese and truffle oil.
The beautiful tastes of summer are here! Nouvelle Cuisine is a great fusion of new and old French flavours, and here I showcase the both together.
One ripe avocado per person
1/2 sweet orange pepper, diced for garnish
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
4 tablespoons of honey mustard (or a 50/50 blend of whole grain French mustard and honey)
1 teaspoon of Herbs De Province
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
Make sauce by blending last 7 ingredients.
Slice avocado in two lengthwise, remove pit with knife by hitting pit with sharp end and twisting it out. Remove flesh in one piece by scooping it out with a large spoon. Place both halves on a plate and sprinkle with lime juice and fill pit cavity with sauce. Garnish with diced sweet orange pepper and Herbs De Province. Serve with a nice crusty French bread.
A very elegant, visually stunning and extremely delicious way to please your family and friends. In less than 30 minutes…really.
2-3 large mushrooms per person (stems carefully removed)
1 lb of scallops, chopped slightly into pieces.
One large shallot, chopped fine
Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper
Butter and extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 of a orange sweet pepper, half diced, half of it cut into slivers
2 slices of bacon, pre-cooked and chopped
Place one tablespoon each of oil and butter and heat over a low to medium fire in a large skillet. Add chopped shallot and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned. Remove from heat and place in a bowl in a warmed oven. Add mushrooms to the same pan with one more tablespoon each of oil and butter, cooking over low to medium heat. Brown both sides, about 8 minutes total time. Remove and place on a warm platter. Place scallops in the same pan with the remaining juice from the mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan after 2 minutes and place in the center of the mushrooms. Top with the shallot and peppers and pan juices from the scallops. Top with diced bacon. Garnish plate with pepper slivers. Voila!!
With grilling season just beginning, I love to take eggplant tossed with herbs and extra-virgin olive oil and combine it with a grilled sausage of choice. Great fresh flavors. See for yourself….
Two medium eggplant or 2 lbs of mixed Japanese eggplant.
3/4 cup of extra-vigin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of Herbs de Province
1 tablespoon of Sea salt and one of fresh cracked pepper
Juice and jest of one lemon
1 1/2 lbs of fresh sausage ( I used linguica – a spicy type found commonly in the Boston area)
Slice eggplant into thick strips as seen in my pictures and coat with oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Grill over a nice hot charcoal fire in a stainless steel wire basket, adding the sausage to the grill 5 minutes into the cooking time of the eggplant. Toss the eggplant occasionally to grill evenly. Remove when the eggplant is nicely charred and tender. Add more seasoning if necessary to the eggplant as well a a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon. Toss well and top with grilled sausage.
Asparagus season is here!!! And so is the grilling season. Put the two together and pair it with a fig cream sauce and this is going to blow you away. Asparagus was a vegetable used much and often in the French restaurants of my family, and I eat it often with fond memories still. Figs are quite popular in French cuisine and in today’s fast-paced lifestyle I will use a nice fig butter made by several companies (I use Trader Joe’s) instead of trying to find fresh figs and making my own. Kind of like having a prep chef at your disposal!
2 lbs of fresh asparagus, last 1/2 inch of end trimmed.
Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of Herbs De Province
1 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of Fig Butter (found at Trader Joe’s as well as other high end food purveyors)
Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce well in a small saucier pot and place over the lowest flame setting on the back right (sauce) burner, stirring occasionally.
Mix the asparagus in a large bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and herbs.
Grill over a hot charcoal fire in a stainless steel wire grill pan, stirring occasionally until slightly crunchy and slightly charred.
Serve with sauce as a side dish or a main lunch dish with a nice white wine!