I love this side dish for being so simple to make, yet extremely attractive. Similar to lasagna or moussaka, potato gratin should be cooked in advance, refrigerated to set, removed from the pan, sliced to portions while cold, and reheated before serving. If all steps are done in that order, a humble potato makes an eye-catching side dish, a beautiful element of any plated dinner.
It’s amusing to read historical recipes and observe how the perception of foods changes over time. At first, all those stories about delicacies we highly value today being served as dog or prison food in old times seem shocking and funny. On the second thought, it’s logical. It’s in human nature to praise what is not easily available and disregard what is more abundant. Oysters are different. “There were always oysters, and there were those to praise them.” Are oysters to be admired forever?
For years my tians looked similar — overlapping round slices of vegetables layered in an alternating pattern. After the successful variation of Patlican Kebabi, I wanted to try the same arrangement of vegetables for tian. And loved it!
This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.
It is known as Tarte Flambée in France and as Flammkuchen in Germany. The dish is popular in both countries and there are many variations for the dough as well as for the toppings. Traditional basic version is made with thinly rolled rectangle of dough, which is covered with a generous layer of schmand/crème fraîche/20-30% butterfat sour cream, topped with onions and speck/lardons/small strips of lightly smoked uncured meaty bacon, seasoned with pepper and salt, and baked in a wood-fire oven. Flammkuchen was the first thing I wanted to recreate at home after my trip to Germany and France. The goal was to find the right recipe for the dough and the best local ingredients for the toppings. This recipe of flammkuchen is not final yet, it’s version 1.0, the closest to my favorite so far.
Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.
A canelé is a classic French pastry made from the same ingredients as French crepes — eggs, milk, and sugar. The batter is the same thin. These two-bite pastries are famous for their unusual combination of textures. Long baking and high temperature turns the batter into a delicacy with crunchy caramelized crust outside and custardy sponge inside.