Friday, January 30, 2015

French Fridays with Dorie - You´ll Spoil Your Appetite Croquants

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Croquants, a rather delightful "You´ll Spoil Your Appetite" kind of French cookie.

Croquant translates as "crispy" or "crunchy" in French and that goes a long way towards describing these delectable cookies  They are - like their name - crisp and crunchy, made very simply with egg whites, sugar, a bit of flour, and the toasted nut(s) of your choice. Today, I made these croquants with three kinds of nuts and one kind of seed using almonds, Italian hazelnuts (called "round Romans", they are simply the best hazelnuts you can find around here), unsalted cashews and, my favorite, dark green Styrian pumkin seeds. You can also opt for the more typical almond version, if you prefer.

As mentioned above, they only take a handful of ingredients and are rather easy to make. You chop the nuts (and seeds, if using) and the batter is a simple stir and drop affair that you can bake immediately. No need to whip the egg whites, either.

Making the croquants will always begin with the selection of the nuts. Roughly chop them. Once the nuts are taken care of, the rest is a breeze. Add superfine white baking sugar (I also added pure vanilla sugar, cinnamon and some fine sea salt), then the flour (I used white spelt flour) to a medium bowl. Whisk together before stirring in two egg whites. Stir the lot together until the batter is thick and holds together well. And the batter is done!

These cookies are delicious and quite satisfying. One minute you have these tiny piles of just-mixed stuff, the next you have some macaroon-esque delights. And this is also a great way to use up leftover egg whites. The cookies also last for ages in a cookie tin so do not worry about having to gobble them all up the same day. The only thing to pay attention to really is the space between each one, do not be tempted to place too many on one baking sheet. It is wise to use two sheet here, covered with baking parchment, as these cookies will definitely spread and stick. Let them cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets.

If you enjoy crunchy cookies, you will agree with me that these cookies are delicious, addictive, and incredibly easy to make - definitely the "You´ll Spoil Your Appetite" kind of cookie that you would want to share with family and friends!

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Croquants“ on page 410 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club - January Recipes

January marks the ninth month of our international online cooking group, The Cottage Cooking Club. As a group, recipe by recipe, we are cooking and learning our way through a wonderful vegetable cookbook written in 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, called „River Cottage Everyday Veg“.

The Cottage Cooking Club is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, getting to know less known, forgotten or heritage vegetables, learning new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.

All the members of this cooking group will make an effort to use as much local, regional, organic and also seasonal produce as is resonably possible. With that goal in mind, during the month of January, I prepared a nice array of vegetable dishes from the recipe line-up.

Since I prepared seven out of ten recipes, I will write about each dish according to the order in which I prepared them.

My first recipe for this January post was the Spelt Salad with Squash and Fennel (page 72) from the chapter "Hearty Salads". I have made variations of this wonderful salad many times before. Sometimes I will use medium-sized or large pearl barley, or pearled spelt and sometimes wheatberries. Depending on the season, I will also add different kinds of vegtables to it.

This time I added oven-roasted butternut squash and fennel, as per the recipe. The roasting brings out the best in those two lovely vegetables. While roasting, the butternut squash will turn sweet and creamy and the fennel will develop the most wonderful anisseed flavor paired with a distinct sweetness as well. Heavenly.The dressing is quickly prepared with olive oil from the roasting pan, lemon juice, pepper, salt, Parm and chopped Italian parsley – make sure to keep the fennel fronds for the final touch.

This salad is now a true family-favorite and I cannot stress enough that you should really be making this on a regular basis. The left-overs are almost more delicious than the freshly-prepared salad and are perfect for packing-up for the office or for school.

The second recipe was one I was looking forward the most – fennel is my very favorite veg these days and the Fennel and Celeriac Soup with Orange Zest (page 142) from the chapter „Hefty Soups“  really got my attention.

The soup is made with fennel and some celeriac as the vegtable base, then some shallots and homemade vegetable stock (page 130) and a touch of orange zest. Before serving, add a nice dollop of crème fraîche. While roasting makes fennel sweet and tender, cooking fennel in the stock brings out a rather mild aniseed flavor, one that is complemented in the most delicious of ways by the orange zest. The addition of the crème fraîche makes for an even more velvety texture. Fennel is excellent for making soup we really enjoyed it but I like fennel even better when it is sweet and oven-roasted (above) and adorned by nothing else than a really good-quality salt for example.

The third recipe I prepared was the dish with the most lovely name of them all, the Curried Bubble and Squeak (page 228)from the chapter „Store-cupboard Suppers“.

The name refers to the appetizing sound this stir-up of cooked potatoes and greens makes as it cooks. As kitchen recycling goes, this is probably the most useful of all, neatly dispensing with those most difficult of leftovers. I used cold cooked potatoes and Brussels sprouts as the main stars of this dish – then some finely sliced onions, salt, pepper and a mild curry powder. Kids loved this, it is not unlke the pan-fried potatoes that we make around here, except that you can add just about anything edible to it that strikes your fancy. Delicious. Easy. Fool-proof.

The fourth recipe this month was Big Baked Mushrooms (page 385) from the chapter „Side Dishes“. Love at first bite.

This will be my go to recipe for a mushroom side-dish in the future and although I did not find large mushrooms for this recipe, the recipe worked just the same. Dot mushrooom caps with butter, scatter on some garlic, then salt and pepper to taste and bake for a good 15 minutes, then I added some cheese and baked them for a few minutes more. Done.

When served on a bed of various greens such as red baby Swiss chard leaves that taste a little like spinach and gorgeous dark burgundy-colored red beet leaves, these easy mushrooms are the most tempting, utterly delicious side-dish that you can imagine – pure veg bliss on a plate.

The fifth recipe was my favorite dip from this book so far, the Artichoke and White Bean Dip (page 303) from the chapter of „Mezze & Tapas“.

The dip consists of artichoke hearts (a great staple to have), onion, garlic, cannellini beans (another great staple to have), fresh lemon juice, ground red pepper flakes, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Heat it all up and give the ingredients a good whiz in the food processor – done.

Add some homemade pita chips with chives to the mix or serve alongside fresh veg (as soon as spring rolls around, that will be my go to option) and you will have a winner. It is a creamy dip, not heavy at all, with just the right tang from the yogurt and the fresh lemon juice – to round out the taste of the dip, I added a few drops of cold-pressed hemp oil  – this cold-pressed oil from our beloved oil mill in Bonn, was given to me as a Christmas gift. While this oil is one of the most healthy oils you can use to finish-off a dish, it does have a distinct taste that paired well with the creamy dip. Besides, since my artichoke hearts were packed in water, not oil, the dip was not weighed down at all – just right.

The sixth recipe was Cauliflower with toasted Seeds (page 108) from the chapter „Raw Assemblies“. What a lovely way to enjoy cauliflower.

At first you need to lightly dry-roast sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Then you slice some cauliflower florets as thinly as possible. All that is left to do is prepare the vinaigrette using lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest (instead if the sumac), pepper and salt – served on a bed of various salad greens, this makes one wonderful winter salad with lots of diffferent textures. The crunchiness from the nuts and the raw cauliflower and the freshness from the greens easily made this one of my favorite dishes.

The last recipe for this month was the Beetroot Pizza with Cheddar (page 180) from the chapter of „Bready Things“.

Now this is one fun way to enjoy pizza. With a rather unusual topping of homemade tomato sauce (page 58), roasted beetroots (page 92) and one portion of the magic bread dough (page 172), this pizza turned out so fabulous, I could not believe it.

Potentially, this pizza can be put together in no time at all using storebought sauce, pre-cooked beets (available around here in the veg isle) and ready-made pizza dough and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you have the time (maybe on the weekend) to make all the elements of this pizza at home, go for it, at least once, you will not regret it. We loved this smoky-sweet pizza and I cannot wait to make it again.

Another month full of wonderful vegetable dishes – we certainly love the recipes from this cookbook.

Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the wonderfully talented and enthusiastic members of the Cottage Cooking Club and their wonderful posts can convince you to get a copy of this lovely book. Better yet, do make sure to join us in this cooking adventure!

For more information on the participation rules, please go here.

To see which wonderful dishes the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club prepared during the month of January, please go here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nigel Slater´s Lazy Loaf

Usually, bread takes quite a while to make, what with waiting for the dough to rise, knocking it back and then waiting for it to rise again before baking it, but if you do not have that much time and are still looking for some instant gratification, this fabulous soda bread called Nigel Slater´s Lazy Loaf might just be right for you. It is the kind of bread that you tear a hunk off and dip into steaming bowl of soup, or eat stickily spread with local honey, or your favorite homemade jam. Soda bread is perhaps the easiest bread to make by hand - with little kneading and no waiting around for it to rise.

In general, a soda bread is a bread leavened with bicarbonate of soda together with an acid, either lactic acid in the form of buttermilk (as in this recipe) or yogurt or a chemical agent like cream of tartar. The resulting reaction releases carbon dioxide bubbles into the dough. Though simple soda breads were common throughout Britain up to the late 1960s, people now usually associate soda bread with Irish baking.

Soda bread is best eaten fresh and can be made at home easily. Typical ingredients not only include bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk or yoghurt, and sometimes cream of tartar, but also wheat flour, water, salt and butter.

This is a Nigel Slater recipe. Yes, we all seem to have a soft spot for this particular cook and pretty much everything of his that I have tried, works. And I have blogged about many of his recipes before, such as his amazing Carrot Cake (here), delightful Black Banana Cake (here), decadent Walnut, Chocolate and Honey Tart (here), and his absolutely outstanding Chocolate Beetroot Cake (here). to name but a few. I know he cannot lay claim to inventing soda bread, because that has existed for many years already, but he can ceratinly lay claim to bringing it back to my attention.

This is a very simple recipe. And Nigel Slater is a dedicated fan of straightforward yet awesome food, and somehow I am always enamored with his recipes and methods. And this recipe is no exception. I particularly like the idea of baking the loaf in a preheated cast iron casserole dish.

Nigel´s Lazy Loaf
(inspired by a recipe from Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers)

Ingredients for the Loaf
  • 225 grams plain wheat flour
  • 225 grams wholemeal flour 
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses (the original recipe calls for sugar, I used local sugar beet molasses)*
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 350 ml buttermilk (I used a really thick buttermilk from my fav farm shop)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degress Celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Put a large casserole dish** and its lid into the oven.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flours, sea salt, molasses and bicarbonate of soda together with your fingers. Do get your hands in there and get it all properly mixed up.
  4. Pour in the buttermilk, bringing the mixture together as a soft dough. Work quickly as the bicarbonate of soda will start working immediately.
  5. Once the dough has come together and is not sticking to the bowl any more, shape the dough into a shallow round loaf about 4 centimeters (1½ inches) thick.
  6. Remove your hot casserole dish from the oven, dust the inside lightly with flour to prevent sticking then lower in the dough. Dust the top with a bit more flour. If you so desire, you can score a small cross in the top of the dough
  7. Then cover with the lid and return to the whole thing to the oven.
  8. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and leave in place for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool slightly before enjoying.
* NOTE: Molasses gives it an earthy taste, darkens the crumb and crisps up the crust
**NOTE:  I used my Pyrex Slow Cook Casserole Pan, round, 3.6 liter, cast stainless-steel

This bread  has a lovely, crisp crust and a very tender inside. The crumb looks dense, but it is not heavy at all.

Remember that soda breads like this are best when eaten fresh and while still a bit warm or, according to some of my taste testers, even better when toasted and slathered with really good quality butter - it just does not get better than enjoying a big slice with farm-fresh butter...So, make sure to serve it fresh from the oven with butter and your favorite kind of jam or honey. And  if you do have any left, it does in fact make good toast.

Nigel Slater´s recipe certainly proves that making your own bread does not have to be time-consuming or hard work. Looking for that instant bread gratification, that comforting smell of baking bread, that irrestible taste of homemade bread, then you should really try his quick soda bread, you will not regret it, trust me.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

FFwD - Curried Mussels with Shoestring Fries

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Curried Mussels, a wonderfully delicious twist on the classic Moules Marinières.

In general, mussels are not expensive at all and plentiful. In the wild, they grow on coastline rocks and stones but the majority of mussels available around here are farmed in suitable coastal waters. Mussels are considered as one of the most environmentally sound types of fish or shellfish available.

Mussels are at their best in the colder months outside the breeding season. When you shop for mussels, you should always select those with tightly closed shells, avoiding any that are broken. Plump, juicy flesh and a delightful taste of the sea is what you are looking for once they are cooked. The color of the mussels is not indicative of quality, orange flesh tells you the mussels are female, while a whiter hue suggests males.

When preparing mussels, you should always eat mussels on the same day you buy them and make sure to discard any that stay open when tapped. Clean and debeard them (pull away their beards) and, if you are presenting them in their shells, it is a good idea to give them a good scrub. A number of rinses in cold, fresh water will ensure you are serving a sand- and grit-free meal.

Mussels require very short cooking time. And Dorie´s recipe is quickly put together. Using a large, heavy-based pan, all you that is required is a sautée of onions and shallots in some good-quality butter, then you add some curry powder and sautée some more to take the raw spice taste off. Then some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. You add about a cup of a dry white wine, fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf. Then you  place the mussels in the cooking liquid and turn up the heat to steam them for a few minutes. As soon as the shells start gaping open, you know they are ready. Make sure not to overcook them or you will end up with rubbery flesh. Discard any that fail to open fully. For the sauce, I decided against straining the solids, as we prefer the more rustic version. As a final touch, you can add some cream to the cooking liquid, which I do not really find necessary but it is a tasty option, of course.

Mussels are delicious with a wide array of flavors. Steaming them in vermouth or white wine, along with shallots, garlic and a few herbs, is traditional in a number of European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. While we never had curried ones before, we loved the way these tasted.

The cooking liquid or sauce is always half the joy of eating mussels, so have plenty of crusty bread and shoestring fries, on stand-by, for soaking up and munching on – while you ponder the ease of getting a perfect little bistro-style supper on the table in no time and ask yourself all the while whatever took you so long to make this incredibly delicious recipe!

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Curried Mussels“ on pages 314-5 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Blood Orange-Glazed Madeleines - Madeleines mit Blutorangen-Glasur

For this sweet wintry treat, I have taken my standard recipe for making Madeleines, and adapted it to give these lovely French cookies a more seasonal, citrussy flavor. I have swapped out the lemon zest for blood-orange zest. Usually, I do not even bother with any decoration on Madeleines, and simply dust them lightly with powdered sugar, mainly because their shape is already so pretty. However, this time I decided to give them a light glaze with a light pinkish color from the blood-orange juice and some more zest for an extra boost of flavor. The glaze adds some sweetness and highlights the ridges on the shell pattern. Other than that, they are just plain and simple Madeleines, easy to whip up at short notice and really rather delicious with that cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.
Für dieses süße, winterlichen Leckereien habe ich mein übliches Madeleine Rezept etwas verändert. Ich wollte dieses wunderbare, klassische französische Gebäck mit einem etwas außergewöhnlichen saisonalen Flair verwöhnen. Darum habe ich Blutorangenschale an den Teig gegeben. Normalerweise glasiere ich meine Madeleines nicht, sondern bestreue sie nur mit ein wenig Puderzucker. Ich finde sie so schon lecker genug, aber dieses Mal habe einen zartrosa Guss gemacht, dem ich die Schale sowohl als auch den Saft einer Blutorange hinzugegeben habe. Die Glasur sieht hübsch aus und schmeckt ganz vorzüglich, nicht zu süß, hat sie aber auch den sehr angenehmen und unvergleichlichen Geschmack der Blutorangen. Ganz wunderbar zu der Tasse Tee oder Kaffee. Und das nicht nur am Nachmittag.

Madeleines are buttery French sponge cakes traditionally baked in scallop-shaped special Madeleine molds. They are made with sugar, flour, melted butter and eggs and are often flavored with lemon or almonds. The English version is often baked in Dariole molds (if you are interested how these look like, you can a look at my post here) and topped with jam, desiccated coconut or icing sugar.
Madeleines sind goldbraun gebackene Sandtörtchen aus Frankreich. Damit Madeleines ihre typische Form erhalten, füllt man den Teig in ein extra dafür vorgesehenes Madeleine-Blech. Das klassische Rezept für Madeleines enthält Rum, der dem Gebäck sein typisches Aroma verleiht. Während in Paris Madeleines am liebsten mit Mandeln verfeinert werden, schmecken Wiener Madeleines meist nach Vanille. In England backt man sie in sogenannten Dariol-Formen (hier ist meine Version).

Grown mostly in Mediterranean countries, blood oranges have a distinctive dark-red rind and flesh and taste tarter than regular oranges. They have a very short season in late winter. You should make the most of their thrilling, spicy tartness while you can. You can substitute ordinary oranges for the blood oranges – but remember that their fiery color and unique flavor makes them  a great addition to these spongy cookies.
Blutorangen haben eine dunkle, teilweise tiefrote Pigmentierung. Je dunkler die ausfällt, desto mehr unterscheiden sie sich geschmacklich von den normalen Orangen. Die dunkelrote Verfärbung der Blutorange ist abhängig vom Klima des Anbaugebiets. Je unterschiedlicher die Temperatur vom Tag zur Nacht ist, desto stärker fällt die auffällige rote Färbung der Blutorange aus. Daher ist der mediterrane Raum ideal für den Anbau der Blutorange. 

Blood Orange-Glazed Madeleines

Ingredients for the Madeleines
  • 3 eggs (L), free-range or organic, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup super fine (caster) sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups wheat (plain) flour, sieved, plus some for flouring the molds
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • grated zest of one blood orange (untreated if possible)
  • 9 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus some for the molds

Ingredients for the Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sieved
  • freshly-squeezed juice of about half a blood orange 

Madeleines mit Blutorangen Glasur

Zutaten für die Madeleines
  • 3 Eier (L), Freiland- oder Bio, Zimmertemperatur
  • 130 Gramm feinster Backzucker
  • 1/8 TL feines Meersalz
  • 175 Gramm Weizenmehl, gesiebt, plus etwas für die Madeleine-Bleche
  • 1 TL Backpulver
  • Abrieb einer Blutorange (unbehandelt wenn möglich)
  • 120 Gramm ungesalzene Butter, geschmolzen und auf Zimmertemperatur abgekühlt, plus etwas für die Madeleine-Bleche 

Zutaten für den Guss
  • 150 Gramm Puderzucker, gesiebt
  • frisch gepresster Saft einer halben Blutorange

  1. Brush the indentations (12 each) of two madeleine molds with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Use a spatula to fold the flour into the batter. 
  5. Add the blood orange zest to the cooled butter.
  6. Add the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Drop enough batter in the center of each indentation to fill them 3/4. 
  10. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. 
  11. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a medium mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, grated blood orange zest and juice until smooth.
  12. Remove from the oven and place the Madeleines onto a cooling rack. 
  13. As soon as the Madeleines are cool enough to handle, brush one side of each cookie with the glaze.
  14. After glazing, rest the Madeleines on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up (that will take about 30 minutes).
  1. Zwei Madeleine- Bleche (mit je 12 Mulden) gut mit geschmolzener Butter fetten. Mit Mehl ausstreuen, überschüssiges Mehl abklopfen. Die beiden Bleche kalt stellen.
  2. In der Schüssel des Standmixers, die Eier, den Zucker und das Salz zirka 5 Minuten dicklich-cremig aufschlagen.
  3. Das Mehl mit dem Backpulver sieben.
  4. Mit einem Teigspachtel das Mehl vorsichtig unterheben.
  5. Den Abrieb der Blutorange zu der geschmolzenen und abgekühlten Butter geben.
  6. Butter sorgfältig unterrühren. Dabei löffelweise die Butter zu dem Teig geben und vorsichtig unterheben bis alle Butter aufgebraucht ist.
  7. Die Rührschüssel abdecken und den Teig für mindestens eine Stunde kalt stellen.
  8. Zum Backen den Ofen auf 200 Grad Celsius vorheizen.
  9. Soviel Teig in die Mulden geben, dass sie jeweils 3/4 gefüllt sind.
  10. Zwischen 8 bis 10 Minuten backen, bis die Madeleines hellbraun sind.
  11. Während die Madeleines backen, in einer mittleren Schüssel den Puderzucker mit dem Blutorangen Abrieb und Saft solange verrühren, bis er glatt ist.
  12. Madeleines vorsichtig aus der Form nehmen und auf einem Gitter abkühlen lassen. 
  13. Sobald die Madeleines etwas abgekühlt sind, jeweils eine Seite des Gebäcks mit dem Guss bestreichen.
  14. Nach dem Glasieren, die Madeleines auf einem Kuchenrost etwas abtropfen und fest werden lassen (das dauert zirka 30 Minuten).

Glazed Madeleines are best left uncovered, and are best eaten the day they are made. However, they can be kept in a container for up to three days. My favorite way to keep them them for more than a day is to place them in a porcelain dish with a cover.
Madeleines mit Glasur sollte man nicht unbedingt abdecken und sie schmecken einfach am besten an dem Tag an dem sie gebacken wurden. Man kann sie aber auch bis zu drei Tagen verwahren. Dann am besten in einer Porzellanschüssel mit Deckel, so mache ich es immer.

It never ceases to amaze me that the same short list of ingredients can produce such delicious results - flour, eggs, salt, butter, and sugar. And then perhaps some vanilla or citrus - true kitchen staples at my house.

For this recipe, I really enjoyed making the glaze. But you could omit it if you wanted to serve your Madeleines just as they are. Also, you should avoid overbaking them. There is nothing better than a freshly baked, buttery Madeleine.

Es erstaunt mich immer wieder, wie man mit so wenigen Zutaten solch wunderbares Gebäck machen kann - man benötigt eigentlich nicht mehr als Eier, Zucker, Salz, Mehl und Butter. Und dann vielleicht noch etwas Vanille oder Orange. Zutaten, die ich meistens vorrätig habe.

Falls man möchte, kann man die Glasur natürlich auch weglassen und die Madeleines einfach so servieren. Beim Backen darauf achten, dass die Bleche nicht zu lange im Ofen bleiben, sonst werden die Madeleines zu trocken.

Friday, January 9, 2015

FFwD - Individual Rösti with Crème Fraîche and Caviar

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is „Arman´s Caviar in Aspic“. I must admit that I went a bit astray this time and made Individual Rösti topped with Crème Fraîche and Caviar instead.

A simple rösti, well-seasoned grated potato, fried until golden and crunchy, and topped with crème fraîche and caviar is very hard to beat – at least that´s what my devoted taste testers conferred to me in no uncertain terms as I was mentioning Dorie´s recipe for this week. Since I am quite grateful to all of them for tolerating all my foodie experiments these last years, I was easily convinced to take a different road to caviar bliss this week. No „wiggly-jiggly cubes of lightly flavored aspic, bellies scooped out and filled with caviar“ for us, sorry, Dorie – maybe some other time...

All you really need for a good rösti is some firm potatoes, parboiled to give a soft, melting interior, and fried in plenty of hot butter and goose fat until crisp. For the topping I used Salmon Caviar (salmon roe) -  although, technically coral-red salmon caviar is not „real caviar“ (the eggs of a wild sturgeon) – it tastes amazing and looks extremly pretty.

The second kind of „caviar“ I used was Sea Hare Roe – it is quite popular in these parts, not difficult to find in stores – although it tends to be a bit on the salty side and less „juicy“ than the salmon roe, it paired very well with the rösti and the crème fraîche.

Next Friday, we will be making Curried Mussels – no rösti then with the mussels, promised, come to think of it, Belgian chefs will attest to the fact that potatoes do pair so well with mussels.

To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.

For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Arman´s Caviar in Aspic“ on page 29 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".