Showing posts with label gastronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gastronomy. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Luxurious breakfast

In my blog post of November 2010 entitled Master mushroom chef [display], I spoke of Coprinus comatus mushrooms, which are one of my favorite breakfast dishes. For the last few days, I’ve been feeding the donkeys and hens up at Jackie’s place, and these mushrooms flourish on his lawn. The tastiest specimens are the small mushrooms that have made their appearance during the last 24 hours.

Their preparation is simple. I simply put them in a non-stick frying pan with butter for a few minutes.

A good part of the pleasure of such exquisite food comes from the fact that my mushrooms were taken out of the ground just 20 minutes before being eaten. These days, that’s pure gastronomical luxury.

PS Jackie once told me that he has never been tempted to eat such mushrooms… and I replied that I agreed entirely with his wariness.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Raw fish

Supermarkets of the French Intermarché group have a good reputation for their fish, based upon the fact that their Scapêche subsidiary operates a fleet of 17 fishing boats, employing 220 officers and sailors. Their website [here] describes the vessels, their activities and their ecological fishing principles. Most of the fleet is composed of trawlers: 5 small boats and 8 deep-sea trawlers based in the Breton port of Lorient. Two dragnet vessels harvest fish such as sardines, and they also operate a crab boat. The flower of their fleet is a vessel for longline fishing, the Ile de la Réunion, which operates in Antarctic oceans in the vicinity of the Kerguelen and Crozet islands.

Thanks to the activities of this Intermarché fleet, we can purchase all kinds of excellent fish products in the local stores. At the Intermarché store in St-Jean-en-Royans, the friendly woman in charge of their fish counter knows that I'm an aficionado of fresh fish that can be eaten raw, in the Japanese sushi fashion. Here's a dish of espadon (swordfish) that I prepared yesterday.

The green stuff is ultra-hot wasabi paste, and the rice is sprinkled with sesame seeds and Kikkoman soy sauce. Purists will be shocked to learn that I've put a dab of Indian lime chutney on top of the rice.

The Scapêche fleet also provides us with red tuna (not exactly cheap), which is surely the king of sushi-style products.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Glorious salt marshes of France

The product known in French as fleur de sel is a prestigious gastronomical salt composed of white crystals formed by the evaporating effects of wind upon the surface of salt marshes. I didn't even know that such a product existed until I arrived in France.

The expression fleur de sel might be translated into English as "flower of salt", but those words don't mean much. Besides, I don't believe that anybody talks of "flower of salt" in English. So, I'll stick to the French expression. Here's a packet I bought a few days ago:

Think of it as super salt. The fleur de sel crystals are expensive, of course, because they're collected manually. When you sprinkle these extraordinary gastronomical gems on meat, for example, they add a wonderful salty crunchiness to the eating experience. Chefs add fleur de sel to their preparations at the last minute, so that the crystalline structure is not destroyed by the cooking.

The most celebrated French salt marshes are those of Guérande in Brittany. For countless ordinary shoppers in France, salt and Guérande are synonyms.

But the most ancient salt marshes are those of the Roman city of Aigues-Mortes, on the edge of the Camargue delta of the Rhône.

Most often, the salt marshes are a dull blue.

Their geometrical splendor stretches to the horizon.

Periodically, harmless algae add a glorious pink hue to the salt marshes.

Who would have said so: Salt is beautiful! And tasty, too.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Master mushroom chef

This morning, while out walking with the dogs, I came upon half-a-dozen sturdy Coprinus comatus mushrooms. Apparently they exist too in Australia, since they figure on this 1981 postage stamp. Often described as shaggy, because of the tufts on its surface, this mushroom was first described in Europe at about the time that Australia was settled. Maybe it was transported to Australia in soil attached to the hoofs of animals. On the other hand, it could well be a variety that has existed right throughout the world, ever since the Gondwana era. That's an intriguing question… about which I know nothing.

I sliced each shaggy in two, lengthwise. Then I cooked them gently in butter, on both sides, in a non-stick frying pan.

I took them off the stove as soon as they started to brown, sprinkled them abundantly with coarsely ground pepper and added a spoonful of olive oil. I ate them with a thick slice of toasted homemade walnut bread and butter. Smooth texture, which reminded me of cooked bananas. Subtle creamy/fruity flavor. Absolutely delicious.