Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday Night Dinner, Pot-au-feu, January 13, 2012

I flipped through my French Feasts cookbook and saw "Pot-au-feu".  Doesn't that sound like a classic French dish??  But what is it??  I had to read the recipe to remind myself and I realized I had that at a friends house about 4-5 years ago.  It's like a cross between a New England boiled dinner and a  beef stew but it's made using short ribs.  I thought I'd keep the "French Classic" theme going.  I flipped through and saw a Nicoise Salad, which I had never made and then....oh, yes the apple tarte tatin....ok done!

Salade Nicoise

This book gave a recipe but said use what ever is fresh.  The things that must be used for the Nicoise salad are tuna, hard boiled eggs, black Nicoise olives, anchovies and some recipes I looked at had cooked potatoes, Julia's included a potato salad added to this green salad.  They pretty much all use tuna packed in water from a can but I wanted to use fresh tuna.  So I did my own thing by spreading out some arugula and Mache greens on a small platter that we would share.  I placed these colorful ingredients over the greens...sliced red bell pepper...blanched and shocked green beans... hard boiled eggs cut in half... small tomatoes cut in half... black olives... green olives stuffed with almonds (just for fun)... anchovies (for Tony) and of course the tuna; seasoned with salt, pepper and rubbed with olive oil then seared it in a non-stick skillet, leaving it slightly pink in the center.  I liked the look of Julia's dressing which was the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, zest of 1/2 lemon, Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper; whisk together and drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil (ratio 1 part lemon to 2 parts oil).  I drizzled the salad with the dressing just before eating and I served a French Baguette that I heated in a hot oven for about 4-5 minutes. 


Like I said this is like a New England boiled dinner.  Here are the ingredients in the book...

1 lb 2 oz short ribs
1 lb 2 oz beef shin (I didn't use)
1 Oxtail (I didn't use)
3 Marrow bones (I didn't use)
6 carrots
3 onions studded with 4 cloves
6 potatoes ( I used fingerling potatoes braised separately with a little water and butter)
1/2 head of green cabbage
6 turnips
3 leeks
1 bouquet garni
4 celery stalks
course salt

The short ribs are tied to hold their shape during cooking and you put them in a pot and cover with lot's of water.  Bring to a boil and add the bouquet garni, onions and chunks of celery and simmer for 2 hours.  Add the peeled and chopped carrots, turnips, leeks, cabbage, and marrow bones (which I didn't use).  Season with coarse salt and cook for and additional hour.  Cook the potatoes separately.  Gently remove the meat and vegetables from the broth and serve with coarse salt and cornichons.  The name sounds fancy but whatever is said in French sounds fancy.

Apple Tarte Tatin

I planned on making the recipe from this French Feast book but I had trouble with the caramel so I just switched over to Jacques Pepin's book and followed his which worked much better.  I found the recipe on line so I don't have to type it again.  I followed his general recipe but I decided not to add the apricots but I did add some slivered almonds as he recommends.  I used "honey crisp" apples because they didn't have the "golden delicious" in the store this week.  I also had planned to do the other tarte tatin recipe which called for puff pastry so I used that which worked very nicely.  This was very good and I will make it over and over again!  I served it with whipped cream lightly sweetened with powdered sugar.

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