French in a Flash: Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon

RECIPE: Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon
Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Salmon

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Salmon

I love quirky French regional dishes. Some, like sauce mistral—an almond sauce from Provence—for example, really haven’t make much of a splash. And others, like piperade—a pepper stew from the Basque country—have become international sensations (at least, in fashionable brunch spots).

Piperade is a stew made from peppers, onions, and tomatoes that is flavored with a very special, and very au courant, ingredient: piment d’Espelette. It’s a kind of exuberant red chili powder from the Basque region of France that is lightly spicy and very earthy. Traditionally, and in a lot of brunch places, as I was saying, the trend is to bake eggs on top of the stew and serve them together.

Well, I’m kind of bored of that, and I’m allergic to eggs. So here’s a new way to do piperade (and, incidentally, a new way to do salmon, which is always useful). Stew together the onions, garlic, olive oil, red, yellow, and green peppers, tomatoes, and piment d’Espelette low and slow until everything is soft and tumbling into each other. Then, pulse it to the texture of pico di gallo. Then, you can either broil salmon and spoon the cold piperade over the top, or set the salmon into the piperade and broil them together. The richness of the salmon is cut by the spicy, garden-ness of the piperade, and it’s a French dish with a decidedly Spanish accent. It’s light and healthy, but it packs that piment d’Espelette punch.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon
serves 2

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy SalmonINGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette, plus a pinch
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless salmon fillets

PROCEDURE

To make the piperade, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sautépan over medium-low heat.  When the oil shimmers, add onion.  Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic, bell peppers, and piment d’Espelette.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, and season well with salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat all the way down, cover, and cook slowly for 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so.  Then, take off the lid of the pot, raise the heat, and let it rip until the pan is nearly dry and the tomato broth has evaporated.  Transfer the piperade to a food processor, and pulse 6 times, until you have the consistency of a pico di gallo.

Adjust the oven rack so it is in the second position down from the heat source.  Preheat the broiler.  Transfer the piperade to a baking dish.  Rub the salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and piment d’Espelette.  Place the salmon on the piperade, and broil for 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the salmon is cooked through.  Serve with warm bread.

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Categories: Cheap, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

French Revolution on Marie Claire South Africa!

MarieClaireScreenShot2A big thank you to Marisa and the team at Marie Claire South Africa for the fabulous feature today on MarieClairvoyant.com.  It’s a fun little interview about how I got started in food blogging, French deliciousness, and being a mouse in a cheese shop.  All with lots of pictures, links to my favorite recipes, and my mint tea video.

Thank you so much, Marie Claire, for thinking of this little corner of the Internet.  Thank you to everyone who reads French Rev down in South Africa.  And thanks to all the readers everywhere for making this blog so much fun to write.  Love you all!  Bon app.

http://marieclairvoyant.com/hot-topics/bloggers/a-french-revolution

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Categories: Finds
 

How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea

RECIPE: Moroccan Mint Tea

Just like Mémé taught me.

Moroccan Mint Tea
serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 60 leaves of fresh mint (about 12 stems or 1 bunch), washed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

PROCEDURE

Pour the water, mint, and sugar into a tea pot.  Muddle with the back end of a wooden spoon.  Let steep 10 minutes.  Pour.  Enjoy!

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Categories: Cheap, Drinks, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Vegetarian, Virgin, Watch
 

Dinner for Two: Easy Crumbly, Mustardly Salmon

RECIPE: Easy Crumbly, Mustardly Salmon
Crumbly, Mustardly Salmon

Crumbly, Mustardly Salmon

There are three kinds of recipes.  The first are the kind that totally, for lack of a better word, suck.  Fool me once; I never make those again.  The second are the kind that are terrific, but they just feel like a one-off.  An occasion recipe, maybe, for novelty.  And the third are the most rare, and the most wonderful.  The ones that you make, and then make, and then make, and then make again.  For me, this crumbly, mustardly salmon is by far and away the third kind of recipe, so much so that, since my parents are in town, I am making it for them along with my Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna Napoleons from French in a Flash a few weeks ago.

The concept is simple: salmon and mustard go well together.  I simply lightly butter the bottom of two store-bought fresh salmon fillets (my store makes sure they are skinless and boneless), and sit them in a skillet.  While they get crispy on the bottom, I make a kind of savory crumble of breadcrumbs, two mustards, thyme, and butter.  I pile it on top of the salmon while it’s still in the pan, and transfer the whole thing to the oven.  The salmon finishes cooking, and the crumbs gets crispy and nutty and tangy and spicy from the mustard.  It’s kind of like an easier, lighter, more elegant way of getting crispy fried fish, with a little French flavor and flair.

I serve it on a bed of blanched fine green beans, or next to a salad.  What’s next to it is not important.  It’s just about the salmon, so buttery, so tender, so good, and perfect, and earthy and wholesome, that I just can’t stop making it!  I made it for me and Mr. English, but he was late in getting home, so I took the opportunity to pack it up for lunch the next day, and served him some leftover pasta.  Shh!  I know, it was mean.  But the best food makes me very, very greedy, and very, very selfish.

I’m happy to report it’s just as good cold!

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Easy Crumbly, Mustardly Salmon
serves 2

Crumbly, Mustardly SalmonINGREDIENTS

  • 2 fillets of salmon, boneless and skinless
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the salmon
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

PROCEDURE

Preheat the broiler.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon butter, mustards, and thyme, pinching the mixture together so the butter is incorporated and the mixture sticks together.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the bottom of each fillet of salmon with a thin layer of butter.  Place the salmon in a preheated skillet over medium-high heat that is just large enough to fit the fish.  Sear for 2 minutes, to develop a nice crust on the bottom of the salmon.  Pile the crumbs on the salmon, and transfer to the oven, broiling for 4 to 5 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are nicely golden brown.  Serve with haricots verts that have been blanched in salt water, and tossed with a little butter and fresh parsley.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

French in a Flash: BBQ Coq au Vin

RECIPE: BBQ Coq au Vin
BBQ Coq au Vin

BBQ Coq au Vin

Some people get their kicks running marathons, or knitting, or surfing YouTube for hours a day.  I get mine reinventing classic French recipes.  This one is the fruit of last weekend’s experimentation with turning classic, wintry coq au vin into a summertime barbecue hero.

The flavors of classic coq au vin start with red wine.  Soaking the chicken in the wine all night is the French equivalent to a southern buttermilk bath: it tenderizes the meat, while staining it a gorgeous garnet.  Then, the chicken is seared in bacon fat, with mushrooms and pearl onions, and stewed in wine.  It’s stewy, with everything falling off the bone, and lots of red wine sauce for mixing into your mashed potatoes.  It’s delicious, and completely inappropriate for warm weather. Continue reading

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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series
 

Dinner for Two: Crispy Broiled Scallops and Chorizo

RECIPE: Crispy Broiled Scallops and Chorizo
Crispy Broiled Scallops and Chorizo

Crispy Broiled Scallops and Chorizo

I have a serious food crush on seafood with pork.  Here in London, a restaurant called J. Sheekey’s Oyster Bar makes squid and wild boar cassoulet.  My heart stops.  It is literally all I live for.

And while I can’t exactly make cassoulet any ol’ night of the week, much less with wild boar, I can still get that combination of down-home deliciousness and elegance that the combination offers.  Enter, my Crispy Broiled Scallops and Chorizo.

To me, cooking for two means limiting not just my time spent, but also my ingredients.  I don’t want to go out and spend a fortune stocking my cupboard with things I’m only going to use once, and in such a small quantity.  And when cooking with just a few ingredients, it’s important to make each one count, so that the food is exciting and tempting, not boring.

This dish is the perfect example.  I start with scallops, because scallops are sweet and rich and always feel like a treat.  But, the bay scallops are cheaper than the big fancy scallops, and they cook a lot more quickly.  And Spanish chorizo is bang for your buck.  In it, you get the salty meaty flavor of the ham, that gorgeous burnt red smoky flavor of the paprika, and tons of garlic.  And I only had to buy one thing!  Toss the chorizo and scallops together, and automatically the fat and flavor melts out of the chorizo in the oven and bathes and crisps the scallops.  Gorgeous!  I top the whole thing with panko crumbs for crunch and fresh baby greens for something light. Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

French in a Flash: Vegetarian Grilled Zucchini Croque Mademoiselle

RECIPE: Chargrilled Zucchini Croque Mademoiselle
Chargrilled Zucchini Croque Mademoiselle

Chargrilled Zucchini Croque Mademoiselle

There’s a place downstairs from my old apartment in Paris called the Horse’s Tavern Café.  It has an inside, but I’ve never seen it.  For me, it’s all about sitting at the tables that tumble forth out of the front door and onto the Carrefour Odéon, and ordering from their ‘Croques‘ menu: a whole list of different melted cheese sandwiches.  I love the one that comes with prosciutto instead of regular Paris ham.  But there’s also three cheese.  And a whole array of different hams.  I’m like a kid in a ham candy store.

But the vegetarian options are limited, and because I spent twelve years as a vegetarian, I wanted to create one as amazing as the traditional Croque Monsieur, and all the other croque options at the Horse’s Tavern.  This version uses chargrilled, herbes de Provence-scented zucchini, for that same smoky ham taste, and that bite of something other than cheese that adds interest to the sandwich.  I sandwich the zucchini between two piles of Emmenthaler and two slices of rustic white sandwich bread, and toast.  Then, I smother the top of the sandwich a with béchamel punched up with Dijon mustard and a fresh scrape of nutmeg, and another blanket of cheese.  Into the broiler to bubble and blister, and you have a big, fork-and-knife, Horse’s Tavern-worthy vegetarian Croque.  Just a little more delicate that the Monsieur, so I call it the Mademoiselle.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Eat, French in a Flash, Paris, Recipes, Restaurants, Sandwiches, Series, Vegetarian, Voyages