Archive for the ‘Recettes’ Category

Magret de canard aux figues

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 by Paul

In France, you are never very far from the source of your food. The same concept of terroir that goes into wine is also present in the food, from the preparations of the dishes to the places where the food is made and how it is sold in the markets.

At the Market at Place d’Aligre where we shop, there are boucheries selling everything from whole rabbits to lamb’s brains to bifteck de cheval (yes, the French do eat horsemeat). One day we went to one of the poultry sellers: we wanted to make a chicken in the slow cooker, since my ability to make a proper poulet rôti being hampered slightly by the lack of an oven.

At the market, the chickens are sold whole, and I do mean whole. When I ordered one, the man asked me something in French that I didn’t understand, but had the foresight to respond with a polite “oui, monsieur.” The man took his well-used knife, cut off the head and feet of the chicken and gutted it completely, taking care to prepare the liver and giblets before returning them to the cavity. Finally, he took a blowtorch and burned off the excess feather follicles that hadn’t already been removed.

Yes, you can also go to the Monoprix and buy the same plastic shrink-wrapped, processed meat, and you can even buy any number of frozen meats the same way as in the US. There also any number of smaller bio stores that sell organic or other natural products. In most cases, though, there’s little to prevent you from knowing that the meat you eat comes from an animal.

I happen to think that’s a good thing, and so it’s not with any queasiness when I have to spend a few minutes removing some unwanted feather follicles from my magret de canard before making dinner.

Magret is the breast of a Moulard duck that has been raised to produce foie gras, aged on the bone for seven days. Much like foie gras, it’s considered to be more of a delicacy item than a standard fillet de canard. It can be grilled, sauteed, or roasted in the oven. I find it tastes best seared — but that’s me, and people have told me that I like my meat not rare but “frightened.” Your tastes may differ.

A very quick and traditional method of preparation is with fresh figs, when they are available. Clotilde has a recipe with a lavender crust, and you can find other recipes with truffles and the like. This recipe is closest to what I managed to create, and with the pictures it’s easy enough to understand even without knowing French. If you want a translation, just ask 🙂

While they are available in France at any good meat and poultry shop, magrets are hard to come by in the States. D’Artagnan is always good supplier for these types of things. Serve it with a hearty Southwestern French wine like a Madiran or Bordeaux.

First Rainy Day in Paris

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by misty

This is our first day of cold and rain in Paris, the streets are wet, the sidewalk poubelles are filled with broken umbrellas, and you can’t tell the mud from the dog doo. On the way to the covered Market at Place d’Aligre, I was delighted to find the fresh farmers market open. There were no lines and the produce sellers spoke English so I didn’t have to wait 10 minutes while someone yelled at me in French. In fact, at this market, you’re allowed to pick and bag your own produce!

Tonight’s menu

Carrot, fennel and ginger soup
Jasmine rice with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil
Filet of a fish I won’t name because it’s not ecologically farmed and I will never buy it again
Homemade ginger ale

Carrot Soup Recipe
1 big bunch scrubbed and finely diced carrot – carottes
1 big white potato peeled & diced- pomme de terre
2 stalks celery diced- céleri
1 fennel stalk diced – fenouil
1 liter chicken stock – bouillon de poulet
Bring mixture to boil on stove then simmer for 10-15 minutes
Carmelize 1/2 fennel bulb in salted butter on stovetop
Add 1 bulb fresh ginger (gingermbe) diced about 1 tbsp
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Add this mixture to your soup pot
Blend or as I did strain and mash

Once all your ingredients are together again in your soup pot, add some dried spice if you like. I chose paprika, white pepper, and sea salt.

Then add a dollop of crème fraise, yogart, or heavy cream when you serve and sprikle with some thyme for garnish.