Minimal Chewing Required

17 Sep

I don’t know why, but it seems the French love their meat and fish served as paste. Whether it’s foie gras, salmon pâté or rabbit terrine, I’ve noticed a definite leaning towards dishes with the texture of baby food. As unappetizing as it may initially appear, these mushy meals are actually quite delicious. Not too mention they seem to taste their best smeared on top of that telltale symbol of Parisian cuisine – the baguette. Either as an afternoon snack or an easy-going dinner party appetizer, these protein-packed spreads can be extremely nutritious, satisfying, and as we learned the other day in class, quite easy to make.

This valuable lesson was taught to us through the form of pâté de sardines. By simply combining specific amounts of pitted black olives, butter, lemon juice, cilantro, a splash of port, seasoning and of course our teeny little featured fishies, we had ourselves a yummy topping for some toasted baguette slices.

For our main course, we had an equally satisfying dish containing tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions and garlic. We seasoned it with thyme, bay leaves, paprika and Espelette pepper, and cooked it altogether with a couple moist chicken breasts.

For dessert we had another national favourite with a rather easily digestable consistency – crème brûlée! I was very pleased to be learning this in my Parisian cooking classes, although I think if they didn’t teach us this pillar of French cuisine, I would probably pack up my bags and leave. Well, maybe I wouldn’t actually leave, but I’d definitely schedule myself a solid afternoon of pouty self-wallow.

I always thought crème brûlée was insanely difficult to execute, but honestly the hardest part for me was lighting that insufferable torch! It took me forever to figure out, and my fellow chefs nearly passed out from gas poisoning as I wasted match after match trying to ignite the damn thing. I finally got it and we were off, lightly blazing the sprinkling of brown sugar that covered the creamy custard innards, until that wonderful thin crust was formed.

In retrospect, it was probably a good thing that this menu was like Gerber for grownups in texture, because with the amount of food I’ve been unabashedly consuming, my pour stomach could use all the help it can get. You’d almost think that someone wanted to turn ME into fois-gras, and was using the method of gavage or force-feeding to achieve this goal. I guess it’s true when they say, “you are what you eat.”


One Response to “Minimal Chewing Required”


  1. The Last Supper « Shortt and Sweet - 16/10/2011

    […] stirred in pine nuts and added some more salt and pepper. Like the pâté de sardines in the post Minimal Chewing Required, or the terrine de foies de volaille in the post Peel Me a Grape, you can taste the raw mix by […]

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