Ironic Chefs - French


Flageolets au Beurre

(Flageolet Beans with Butter)

Adapted from The Norman Table: The Traditional Cooking of Normandy by Claude Guermont with Paul Frumkin

Serves 8-10 as a side dish

1 lb dried flageolet beans
1 small onion
2 cloves
1 small carrot, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
2 oz pork skin
6 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain. Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water and then add the beans. Simmer for 15 minutes, skimming off any froth.

Peel the onion and cut in half. Put one small clove in each half. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaf, garlic, and pork skin to the beans. (We could not find pork skin, and substituted salt pork. We suspect that this altered the dish somewhat, but the result was quite acceptable. We suggest you slice salt pork into thin sheets.)

Simmer the beans until they are tender, at least an hour and a half. (The first time we made this dish, we soaked the beans for only about 5 hours, versus typically 12 hours or more for overnight, and they were only just becoming tender after 4 hours of cooking. The second time, with a full soak, the cooking time was much closer to an hour and a half. Do be sure to leave yourself enough cooking time. It is very easy to keep the beans warm if they are done early.)

Remove the onion, garlic, and carrot from the pot. Remove the cloves from the onion and discard. Purée the onion and garlic together in a blender or food processor. If the carrot is just tender, slice it and set aside. If it is falling to bits already, purée it together with the other vegetables. Remove the pork skin and slice into thin strips.

Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Remove the beans to a bowl. Combine the cooking liquid and butter in the pot and bring to a boil. Add beans, puree, carrots, and pork skin. Simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Carottes à la Crème

Creamed Carrots

Adapted from Backyard Bistros, Farmhouse Fare: A French Country Cookbook by Jane Sigal

Serves 4

3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs grated carrots
salt and pepper
dash of nutmeg
3/4 cup crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 400°.

Melt butter in a sauté pan. Add carrots. Salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Stir in pepper, nutmeg, and crème fraîche. Heat to boiling. Add more salt or pepper to taste.

Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Cover and bake 30-45 minutes, until brown and caramelized around the edges.

If you have something else in the oven, these carrots can be cooked at a wide range of temperatures. Just be sure to allow them enough time to caramelize if you are using a lower temperature. Cooking them a bit longer than necessary will not hurt them.

Salade Cresson Aux Poires

Watercress and Pear Salad

Adapted from The Norman Table: The Traditional Cooking of Normandy by Claude Guermont with Paul Frumkin

Serves 4

1 egg
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnut oil (or peanut or sunflower)
salt and pepper

4 cups stemmed watercress
1/4 cup croutons
2 Anjou pears

Beat the egg. Add mustard, shallot, and vinegar. While whisking briskly, gradually pour in the oil. Continue beating until mixture thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange watercress in a salad bowl. Top with croutons and thinly sliced pears. Pour dressing over the salad and toss.

We like our salads underdressed compared with many people, but we were quite happy with one recipe of dressing for a somewhat larger salad (6 cups watercress and 3 pears).