Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Everyday Breton meal

Maybe (surely) I've retained far too little, sadly, from my relationship with my Breton ex-wife Christine Mafart... apart from two brilliant offspring, bien entendu : Emmanuelle and François. What I'm trying to say is that I never really got around to appreciating the habits and culture of Christine's native region, Brittany, which has always had, for me, the hues of damp mists, granitic churches and tombstones, ignorance, religious bigotry and dull archaic traditions, dominated by the stupid pride of being Breton. Whatever way I try to adjust myself to that Breton environment, I simply can't convince myself that I might be Celtic (which I probably am, funnily enough, in one way or another). I prefer the mountains, clearcut cliffs and the relative sunshine of south-east France. On the other hand, up until my dying day, I shall regret the fact that nobody in Christine's family environment ever had an opportunity of introducing me, ever so little, even superficially (to whet my appetite) to the fabulous maritime environment of this mythical land... but I would need a second life to change things at that level. (In fact, I discovered sailing much later, briefly, out in Western Australia, in 1986.) Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to see that my son is discovering exactly and profoundly the legendary and marvelous Brittany that escaped me.

Having said that, I hasten to add that I've got into the habit of eating Breton delicacies such as their wonderful buckwheat galettes (de sarrasin in French), and I often have the impression that I could survive indefinitely on this meal, particularly since the galettes have become available in supermarkets everywhere.

On a hot plate, after a dab of butter, you spread out the galette and cover it with an egg, a slice of ham and grated cheese. Salt and pepper.

With a spatule, turn over half the galette to form a crescent.

Turn it over a second time, to brown the other side. Apart from exotic seafood such as crabs, lobsters and St-Jacques seashells, this is no doubt one of the finest and simplest tasty dishes that Brittany has to offer.

And its charm lies in the fact that it's such an everyday preparation, involving no culinary effort whatsoever.

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