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Friday, January 15, 2010

Foods of Provence for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory

On Wednesday I enjoyed presenting foods of Provence as part of the fundraising efforts of the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Please enjoy the following with the wine pairings supplied by the MLCC:

1. Fresh Goat Cheeses with Olive Oil and Herbs

This was paired with Cremant d'Alsace Blanc de Noirs - Willm (#803361) - $19.91

Chevre, tapenade, herbs and olive oil served with baguette as an appetizer.

2. Tomato “fondue” over eggs

The wine pairing was Beaujolais-Villages 2008 - Georges Duboeuf (#255810) - $15.03

1 yellow onion, crescent sliced
1 tomato per person, finely chopped or use puree
Olive oil
2 eggs per person
2-3 cooked eggplant slices
Salt and pepper
Minced garlic
Herbs d’Provence

Slice eggplant into small cubes and bake or fry with olive oil until dark brown and tender. Set aside. In a large sauce pan, sauté onion with olive oil and add tomatoes, seasoning and garlic. Add cooked eggplant and simmer until well incorporated. Spoon over soft fried, poached or boiled eggs and serve with baguette.

3. Provencal potatoes

Wine pairing was Côtes du Rhône 2007 – Domaine des Coccinelles (#6670) - $15.85

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes


2lb even sized potatoes, unpeeled
4-5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, thinly sliced crescents
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
flat leaf parsley sprigs to garnish


Put the potatoes in a saucepan with enough salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, until barely tender. Remove the skin and slice the flesh into thick rounds. While the potatoes are cooling, heat 1 tbsp of the oil and half the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and fry over a moderate to high heat, stirring, until they begin to colour. Add the garlic and fry until that also changes colour. Tip the whole lot into a bowl, mix with 1 tbsp of the parsley, half the mixed herbs, a sprinkling of sea salt, and black pepper. Keep warm while you cook the potatoes. Heat remaining oil and butter, add the potatoes in batches and fry until golden brown. Drain well. When the final batch is golden, lower the heat and return the rest of the potatoes to the pan together with the onion mixture and remaining herbs. Stir together, and cook until warmed through. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

4. Bouillabaise

The Wine pairings were Vouvray 2006 - Heritiers Dubois (#7064) - $16.99 and Côtes de Provence 2008 Rosé - Pere Anselme (#522052) - $12.17

For the soup broth:

Bones and shells from the fish and shell fish, completely rinsed
9 cups water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
10 whole sprigs parsley

For the soup base:

2 large onions, chopped finely
10 garlic cloves, chopped roughly or crushed
2/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 cup parsley, chopped very finely
Salt and pepper to taste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
Small handful fresh thyme leaves
3 to 5 long strips of orange rind (no white pith)
3 bay leaves
6 to 12 saffron stems
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely (remove seeds and white "ribbing")
1 pound frozen cod, thawed and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
A few splashes of Pernod

For the "body" of the soup:

3 to 4 pounds of various fish or shellfish.

Traditional bouillabaisse has no shellfish, but there is no harm in adding mussels, shrimp, crab or lobster if you feel like it.

There are many kinds of fish you can add to make this your own fish soup recipe. Haddock, red snapper, monk fish, sea bass, striped bass are all good choices. Just avoid the oily, fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, as these will overpower rather than blend in with the other ingredients.

I did use Ahi Tuna and pickerel for the soup and it worked out beautifully. I used a couple of pickerel fillets puréed into the soup base and some cheeks in the final soup product.

1. In a large soup pot, combine all the ingredients for the broth. Bring to a very light boil, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or so.

2. Run the broth through a strainer, and keep it aside.

3. Heat the oil in the soup pot on medium low to medium heat. Add onions, garlic, parsley, fennel seed (1 teaspoon, not both), and salt. Saute until the onions are soft.

4. Add tomatoes, thyme, orange peel, bay leaves, pepper, saffron and jalapeno. Simmer for up to 30 minutes.

5. Return the fish broth to the soup pot. Add the pound of chopped fish and cook until fish is completely cooked.

6. Remove the orange peel (if it is in large strips) and bay leaves and put them aside. We do not want to puree them.

7. Either use a hand-held blender to puree the soup, or puree in a stand-up blender in batches. Add the bay leaves and orange peels back to the soup, and pour in the white wine and cook for 30 minutes to an hour. Add Pernod.

8. Add the various fish to the soup. Add the longest-cooking fish first so all the fish ends up cooked at the same time.

5. Provence Plum Tarts

The wine pairing was Sauternes 2005 - Chateau Saint-Michel (#328419, 375 ml) - $16.99

2-3 lbs pitted plums
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
1-2 tbs corn starch
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
Tart shells

In a sauce pan, heat up plums and thyme. In a measuring cup, combine cold water, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice. Add salt. Cook up filling and boil for at least 1 minute. Fill tart shells and bake at 350F until shells are browned, about 14 minutes.

The evening was finished with the wine, Maury 2001 - Domaine de la Serre (#2942, 500 ml) - $24.92

Enjoy and Bon Appetite!

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