Saturday, January 21, 2006

Supper Club: French Regions. This evening was my introduction to the club, and I was happy to have Bretagne as my region. There were about 15 fabulous chefs present, including professional. The menu:

1. Salade d'Endives, Fromage, et Noix (Belgian Endive Salad with Cheese and Walnuts) - Auvergne

2. Fromage from different regions of France (photo left -Caren & Emil): Royal Briard, Chevrotin, Pyramide Cendrée, Livarot, Abbaye de Trois Vaux, Gouda Rouge Vieux, Grisie du Jura, and Gaperon - Various Regions of France

3. Tartare de Thon - Brittany

4. Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Almonds - Pyrenees

5. Egg and Wine Soup

6. Augergines et Fenouil Saint-Loup (Eggplant and Fennel with Tomatoes in an Egg-Cheese Custard) - Provence

7. Oysters Escargot in Mushroom Caps - Burgundy

8. Coq au Vin - Burgundy

9. Braised Duck Legs in Port with Cherries

10. Mouton aux Olives (Lamb and Olive Stew) - Corsica

13. Croquembouche w/ Grand Marnier Pastry Cream

14. "Salle Pleyel" as created by Robert Linxe of La Maison Du Chocolate on the rue du Faubourge-St. Honore' in Paris - Paris

A very slow and much enjoyed meal... did not disappoint! My dish was the Tartare de Thon. I served it in an antique lidded glass pedestal dish, with sea salt from Brittany on the side.

The salt was quite special:

Salt: Velvet de Guerande "Le Tresor"

Velvet™ by Le Trésor is light gray in color and almost the consistency of flour. This is a very delicate crystal that has a "buttery" feel and taste as it melts on your tongue. This is a terrific salt to top any dish, its texture makes it ideal for snacks such as popcorn, sauces and salads. You will naturally use less of this salt because the crystals are so fine, you get maximum flavor from a small amount of salt.

*This salt is certified organic by France's Nature & Progrés. This is the most rigorous salt certification process, which equates to purity and quality.

Tartare de Thon
Serves 4 as an appetizer

1 lb. piece of tuna
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. salad oil
2 fl oz/1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 shallots very finely chopped
2 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tbsp. chopped parsley salt and pepper

With a very sharp knife, clean the tuna fillets, removing all skin, bones and membrane. Chop the tuna finely with a knife and put into a bowl. Add the oils, vinegar, shallots, capers, chives and parsley and mix well. Season the tartare to taste, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave to marinate 2-3 hours (in refrigerator). Serve with crisp pieces of toast.

Anna's tips: I made 1 1/2 times this recipe for the supper club. I used sashimi-grade tuna which is sold in blocks in Nijiya market in Japantown. This way there is no cleaning and removing undesireable parts, and it is precut in a way that makes it easy to slice, then chop and get a nice smooth finish. I used white pepper, and the Velvet de Guerande salt, with extra on the side as an add-on for individual taste. I used Enova oil as the 'salad oil'.

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