Celebrate Bastille Day with French food and wine
On July 14, 1789, a group of fed-up Parisians stormed the hated Bastille, a castle/prison/munitions dump full of political prisoners and gunpowder. Their intention was to liberate the prisoners and blow up the gunpowder, ideally along with the king. While the French celebrate Bastille Day much as we do our Independence Day, many American gourmands recognize the occasion with a celebration of French country cuisine – a thoughtful transformation of simple ingredients into culinary wonders. The attitude towards food in the French countryside is hard for most Americans to understand. Cooks here romanticize the beauty of simple seasonal ingredients in dishes that capture the essence of the sun, sea and earth. Imagine a Provençal grandmother scouring tiny butcher shops, bakeries and produce stands for premium ingredients. She crafts the evening menu in her mind, inspired by the day’s selection. Later, with a loving heart and skillful hand, she’ll transform these simple fruits of the land and sea into sublime cuisine. There may be current political tensions between our countries, but I say leave politics to politicians and great food to gourmands. We can all learn a lot from French country cooks. The politicians will work out their differences eventually; in the meantime, let’s eat! Chef Michael Angelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods and Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering in Littleton and Centennial. More recipes can be found at http://www.TonysMarket.com.Wine and Cheese Appetizer (For 6-8 guests) Display 3 pieces of French, or French inspired cheeses of varying styles, about 6-8 ounces each, on a large cutting board. Add 2-3 small bowls of cured veggies (such as olives, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.). Place cheese knives in the cheeses, and 6-8 side plates and forks on the side. Serve with a fresh baguette. Moules Marinière (Mussels with White Wine)8-9 pounds live mussels 1/2 pound unsalted butter 4 medium yellow onions, chopped 3/4 bottle dry, acidic, white wine 1 bunch fresh parsley Black pepper (optional) French baguette
Fill an 8-10 quart pot half full of cold water and add 3-4 tablespoons Kosher salt, stirring to dissolve. Place mussels in salted water, then one at a time, remove the beard, scrub, and place in a colander. Rinse. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Add wine and mussels and cover. Shake the skillet regularly, and continue to cook until mussels open. Divide mussels and their broth into 6 warmed soup bowls. Sprinkle generously with parsley and pepper. Serve with a fresh baguette to soak up the broth.Grilled Lamb Rib Chops Great as an entrée, or as a first course alongside cheeses, rustic breads and wine.2 racks of lamb, trimmed 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 1-3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt olive oil Have your butcher prepare the rib chops: Ask him or her to remove the cap and backbones, French cut the ribs, and then cut into single rib chops. Combine shallots with salt to taste in a bowl, adding enough olive oil to form a thin paste. Rub generously over chops, wrap back in butcher’s paper and rest at room temperature for one hour. Preheat grill on high, brush clean, mist or brush with oil and immediately place chops on oiled grate. Cook until dark grill marks develop (about 3 minutes), then flip and reduce heat to low, cooking chops to medium rare (about 4-8 minutes longer). Remove from heat, cover and rest for five minutes before serving as is, or with a sauce of your choice. – Chef Mick RosacciTian de Légumes (Mediterranean Vegetable Casserole)1 medium eggplant, peeled salt and pepper 2 medium yellow onions, chopped 3 cloves garlic, bashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 medium zucchini, sliced 6 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced 3-4 sprigs fresh herbs of your choice (thyme, oregano, rosemary) 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon salt, and place in a colander. Drain for 30 minutes and then pat dry with paper towels. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in 3-4 tablespoons olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium-sized ceramic baking dish. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil back to same skillet, add eggplant and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Stir into onions in casserole pan. “Shingle” sliced tomatoes and zucchini in layers over onions and eggplant. Top with herbs and drizzle with remaining 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkling with cheese and serve. Eggs Dijonnaise 8 extra-large hard-boiled eggs 1-2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 small shallots, minced 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Peel the eggs and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash or beat the yolks with the mustard, cream, shallots and herbs to form a creamy paste. Spoon the filling in each egg hollow, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. Fraises au Vin Rouge (Strawberries in Red Wine) Wash and hull 4 cups fresh, ripe strawberries, then halve them lengthwise. Sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons sugar, mix gently, then set aside to macerate for about 1 hour. Divide berries between 4 large wine goblets, then pour in enough red wine – preferably a fruity young Pinot Noir or Beaujolais – to cover berries. Serve topped with a dollop of Crème Fraîche if you like.Madeleines3 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter, softened 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon baking powder zest of one lemon Preheat oven to 375. Beat eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale yellow and a little frothy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, then continue to beat, adding butter 1 teaspoon at a time until it is all incorporated, about 5 minutes. Batter may look a little lumpy. Sift together flour and baking powder, and then gradually add to the batter, beating on low speed. Add lemon zest and mix until batter is smooth, about 1 minute more. Spoon the batter into a well-buttered and floured Madeleine mold. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool before unmolding.
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