French: Salmon and Asparagus Flan

Flan au Saumon et aux Asperges
Salmon and Asparagus Flan.
Pronounced: flah(n) / oh / soh moh(n) / ay / ohz ahs pehrzh

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
• 2 Tablespoons dried bread crumbs
• 1 lb. asparagus, woody stems removed
• 5 eggs
• 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup frozen peas, completely thawed
• 3 oz. smoked salmon (not lox), cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 3 Tablespoons finely minced chives
• 3 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Brush a 10-inch deep dish pie plate with the butter. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs, tipping the dish to coat the bottom and sides.

2. Cut off the asparagus tips.

3. Fill a high sided skillet halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the tips and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

4. Put the asparagus stems into the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until tender. Remove and chop.

5. Put the asparagus stems, eggs and cream into a food processor and purée.

6. Pour the purée into a bowl and stir in the peas, salmon, herbs and salt and pepper. Pour into the prepared pan.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until almost set. Remove, decorate the top with the reserved asparagus tips. Return and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until set.
To serve:
Serve warm or at room temperature.

French: Pumpkin Tian

Tian de potiron
Pumpkin Tian

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced (butternut squash makes a nice substitute)
• 3 TBS olive oil
• 1 onion minced
• 2/3 cups cooked rice
• ½ cup freshly grated swiss or Parmesan cheese
• 1 egg beaten
• 1 teas. salt
• freshly ground pepper
• 2 TBS bread crumbs

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Heat oil in large frying pan and cook onion until tender – 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring occassionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

3. Blend cheese, rice, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper, and combine with pumpkin and onion.

4. Oil a shallow baking dish. Spread mixture into dish.

5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top. Drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil.

6. Bake for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

French: Potatao and Blue Cheese Gratin

Potato and Blue Cheese Gratin
Pronounced: grah teh(n) / oh ver nyaht

The Auvergne region of France is well-known for its cow’s milk blue cheeses like Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne and Bleu des Causses. If you can find one of these cheeses, try it in this recipe.
INGREDIENTS:
• 4 cups milk
• 1/2 cup crumbled Fourme d’Ambert (my favorite!) or other crumbled blue cheese
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
• 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly (a mandoline works best for this)
• freshly grated nutmeg
• salt & freshly ground pepper
PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
1. In a saucepan, scald the milk and set aside.

2. Blend the blue cheese and crème fraîche (or cream) in a food processor.

3. Generously butter a 14x9x2-inch gratin or baking dish.
Layer half of the potatoes in the dish. Season with salt, pepper & nutmeg. Dot with half of the blue cheese mixture.

4. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, ending with the blue cheese mixture. Pour the milk over the potatoes.

5. Bake about 1-1/2 hours, or until the top is crisp and golden.

French: Stuffed Tomatoes

This is from Sunday’s at Moosewood Restaurant, one of my all time favorite cookbooks.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small firm ripe tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil and/or parsley
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, fresh or dry
  • 1/2 cup freshley grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stems. Arrange them cut side up in an oild baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and carefully saute the garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly and taking care not to brown the garlic. Add the basil and stir briefly. Add teh bread crumbs and stir unitl the oil is evenly distributed. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the parmesan.

Spoon the topping onto the tomatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

Notes: We doubled this… I thought that when I added the bread crumbs, the mixture was too dry, so I added more oil. I’d probably still add more oil than this calls for, but slightly less than what I did.

Cooking Club: French Night

We met at Patti and John’s for French Night. We misseed Marty and Connie as Marty was not feeling well, but we enjoyed lots of good food — various cheeses, wine, etc.

Kelly and I made the classic cheese fondue, and I won’t include that recipe here since it is simple and is a “classic.”

Other recipes to follow in subsequent posts.