Steak Tartare from France

Almost every world cuisine offers recipes that include raw animal protein (fish, meat and unpasteurized dairy products), which seems to be a universal practise. In Italy the most famous raw appetizer is carpaccio, in the Middle East – kibbeh, in Norway – raw marinated fish, and in France it is steak tartare and, of course, a wide selection of world famous raw milk cheeses. Today, I am going to share the recipe of my very favourite gourmet appetizer from France,Steak Tartare:

In order to make authentic steak tartare, you should start with the freshest ingredients of the highest quality you can find. Shop for organic, free-range, grass-fed sirloin or filet of beef and freeze it for at least 14 days. The practise of freezing ensures that the raw meat will be clean from parasites and other contaminants. Thaw the meat and grind it coarsely. Also, you will need the following ingredients (quality matters!):

– 1 finely minced medium onion
– 3 tbsp mustard (Dijon is the best)
– 2 fresh egg yolks from free-range chickens
– 1/4 cup of fresh parsley or coriander leaves, finely chopped
– unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Mix ground beef with onion, mustard, egg yolks and herbs. Season to taste and form into a mound on a big platter. Serve as an appetizer with sourdough bread or round croutons, chopped hard-boiled eggs and onions, capers and softened butter. Caution: raw meat appetizers should be eaten the same day they are made! If you have any leftover steak tartare – the next day you can fry the mounds in a mixture of butter and extra-virgin olive oil until well done and serve them with fresh vegetable salad for lunch.

Bon Appetit!:)

Roquefort the king of French Cheeses

Roquefort is a delectable ewe’s-milk blue cheese from the South of France, and is one of the most famous of all French cheeses. In accordance with the European law, only those cheeses aged in the natural Cambalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon have a right to be named “Roquefort”, this is why when you buy this cheese you can be absolutely sure in its authenticity and the highest quality.

Legend states that Roquefort was first discovered by a young shepherd, who left a piece of fresh ewes’ milk cheese in a cave. When he returned a few months later, the cave mold had transformed his plain cheese into wonderful Roquefort. True or not, but in France, Roquefort was honoured with a royal patent already in the thirteenth century. In the medieval times, this pungent blue cheese was believed to have aphrodisiac qualities, the fact which even was noted by the world’s famous lover – Casanova.

Roquefort is always made from fresh, unpasteurized milk of the Lacaune breed of sheep and has a white, crumbly and slightly moist texture with veins of blue mold (Penicillium roqueforti). Roquefort has no rind. An average head of this cheese is about 5 pounds, which requires 4-5 times the amount of fresh milk (about 13 litres!) in order to produce one head. After 4 to 9 months of aging, all vitamins and enzymes of the milk remain intact in Roquefort – it is very high in fat, protein, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals, especially calcium. Its odour is strong and has a notable hint of butyric acid, the taste is rich and smooth with a sharp, astringent tang. The overall flavour sensation begins slightly mild, then turns into sweet and smoky, and fades to a prominent salty finish. The cheese fully exhibits its rich flavour if combined with red wine from Burgundy.

More information about Roquefort in English can be found at:

Roquefort Societe
French Cheese Guide
Recipes with Roquefort

Baguette Delicious White French Bread

 

Baguette, with its crunchy, crisp crust and a soft, delectable center, is a traditional white bread served in France, and a staple of French cuisine. French “une baguette” is translated into English as a “stick”, which truly describes the unique form of this most popular French bread – it is shaped as a wand of about 60 cm long, and weighs 500 grammes (about 1 pound).In some areas of France, this bread is still delivered to the customers’ door every morning, together with traditional milk and cream. In big cities, people go to the local “Boulangerie” (hot bread shop) at least once a day themselves, to get a fresh loaf which is eaten at all three meals.

What to do if the nearest to you Boulangerie is as far as France? Do not despair, but try to bake baguette at home! It certainly takes a little time, effort and patience to master baking good baguette by yourself – but only until you become forever addicted to its terrific taste. We recommend the following recipes of this authentic, home-made French bread:

French Bread – Allrecipes
Bakers Yeast Bread
Country sourdough-yeast bread
French Bread
French Bread – baking911.com
Authentic French Bread
French Bread – About.com

Lobster Cobb Salad

This Lobster Cobb Salad is a good dish for people trying to stay fit. Lobster is rich in protein and essential vitamins while it’s quite low in fat. And aside from the healthy dose of protein from this excellent seafood, you also get vitamin C and fiber from the assorted greens. Moreover, avocado is not only rich in vitamins but also antioxidants. Now, what do you get from the yummy pancetta and  Ricotta cheese? Well, since pancetta is basically just bacon, you get more protein from that, of course. And Ricotta cheese is the same as other cheeses out there, it is rich in calcium and protein. Seriously, this dish is not only a feast for the eyes, but also an excellent dose of healthy living. But don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and try this recipe out for yourself.

Serves: 4

VANILLA VINAIGRETTE

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
6 oz grapeseed oil
To taste, kosher salt
To taste, freshly ground black pepper

 

SALAD

Two 1¼ -lb lobsters
As needed, Court Bouillon
12 oz mixed greens (baby romaine, Bibb lettuce, frisée)
1 zucchini, small, thinly sliced lengthwise to form ribbons
4 slices pancetta
4 Tbsp fresh ricotta
1 tsp Spice de Cosette
2 eggs, hard-boiled, cut in half
1 avocado, quartered and sliced
4 flatbread pieces
2 vanilla beans, split
2 Tbsp lemon zest

 

VANILLA VINAIGRETTE

1. Combine the vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Cool and reserve.

2. In a bowl, combine the vanilla syrup, vanilla extract, vinegar,and mustard. Whisk until incorporated.

3. Slowly stream in the oil while whisking continuously to form an emulsion.

4. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper; reserve.

 

SALAD

1. Poach the lobster in the Court Bouillon for 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Remove the lobster meat from the shell and divide it into 4 portions.

3. Divide the lettuce into 4 bunches and wrap with zucchini ribbon.

4. Place the pancetta on a Silpat and cover with another Silpat; place a sheet pan on top, and bake at 350°F until crisp, about 15 minutes.

5. Mix the ricotta with the Spice de Cosette. Form quenelles and place on flatbreads.

6. Place the lettuce bundles in the center of 4 large plates. Arrange the lobster around the bundles and top with egg, avocado, and flatbread. Drizzle 1½ oz Vanilla Vinaigrette over each salad. Garnish each with 1/2 vanilla bean and 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest.

 

This dish would require at least an hour to prepare so you better get all the ingredients bought and laid out to avoid turning that into two hours or more. And make sure you follow the recipe. This may just be a salad, but you still have to follow a process. Now, this scrumptious Lobster Cobb Salad would be great with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. If you ask me, I’d go with the Chardonnay. But then, some people prefer the dry, light-flavored body of Sauvignon Blanc for shellfish. To each his own, I guess. However, if you plan to serve this at a dinner party(and you want to impress guests), I think it would be better if you do a “taste test” first. Buy both bottles of wine to better judge which of the two really goes well with this salad. And invite a friend to do the taste test with you. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, after all. Bon appétit!