Turkey escalope with winter squash gratin

Turkey escalopes with winter squash gratin

Winter squash comprises several squash species. It is harvested in the mature state, when the seeds have matured fully and the skin has hardened.

Deep orange- coloured courge wedges have now appeared in our supermarket in Nice. According to Wikipedia, courge could be translated as butternut squash. It is a nutritional super food; very little calories, but lots of antioxidants as its deep orange colour suggests. It can be used in soups, vegetable bakes or in gratins.

2 servings

2 nice turkey escalopes, about 150 g each
About 200 ml good chicken stock
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Freshly ground black pepper
About 200 g frozen green beans
Fresh parsley or chives to decorate

For 2 servings winter squash gratin:
2 ramekins oiled with rapeseed oil
A wedge of winter squash
1 egg
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
A handful of freshly grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Peel the winter squash, and cut into pieces. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water, and then dry in a colander. Transfer into a bowl and coarsely crush with a fork.  Grate the parmesan. Add the egg, rapeseed oil, half of parmesan and black pepper, and mix well. Divide the winter squash mixture into the oiled ramekins. Sprinkle with the rest of parmesan and divide 1 tbsp rapeseed oil over the parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C, roast. Roast the ramekins for 20 minutes, then for 5 minutes more in 210⁰ C until nicely coloured on top.

Meanwhile fry the turkey escalopes on both sides in a frying pan over medium- high heat until golden. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, grind over black pepper and pour over the chicken stock. Cover and let simmer until the gratin is cooked.

Microwave the frozen green beans for about 3 minutes.

When the gratin is cooked, place the ramekins on the plates. Divide the turkey escalopes on the plates and pour over the stock. Divide the green beans on the plates and decorate with fresh herbs.


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Tomato tart recipe

Tomato tart recipe

This recipe is inspired by a delicious tomato tart that we had some time ago at La Merenda in Nice. La Merenda is a tiny restaurant in Vieux Nice and it serves tiny but tasty dishes according to the local culinary traditions. There is no cheese or mayonnaise in La Merenda’s tomato tart; ripe, tasty tomatoes are the stars in this dish.

Their recipe is of course a closely guarded secret. I didn't even dare to ask for it during our lunch when the tiny restaurant was packed and there were people waiting outside. So this is my twist of the dish. I made it with ready-made thin-bottomed puff pastry, pâte feuilletée, which in France is of good quality and super easy to use.

The recipe makes a chic apéro, “nibbles with a drink”, for 6. Larger slices with green salad make a perfect lunch on a beautiful summer or autumn day when tomatoes are at their best.

Tomato tart recipe
Tomato tart apéro

5 ripe tomatoes
About ½ tsp salt
1 package thin-bottomed puff pastry, pâte feuilletée
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried Provencal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp black olives

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C.

Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt. Place them in a strainer over a large bowl for 10 minutes so that excess water comes out of the tomatoes. Then wipe the remaining water and salt with kitchen paper.

Roll out the puff pastry in a non-stick 27 cm diameter tart dish. Push the pasty evenly on the tart dish. With kitchen scissors cut the extra pastry lying outside the tart dish. Spread the tomato paste over the pastry bottom and sprinkle with 1 tsp Provencal herbs. Arrange the tomato slices overlapping on top of the tomato paste. Sprinkle 1 tsp Provencal herbs and 2 tbsp olive oil over the tomatoes. Grind some black pepper over them.

Bake for 25 minutes. Then scatter the black olives over the tomatoes and bake for further 5- 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature.


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Visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is situated about 3 km east of the River Rhône, between Avignon and Orange. It
One of the vineyards near the castle ruins of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
literally means “the Pope’s new castle”, and the Avignon popes were said to be great lovers of the local red wine. The wines produced in this area came to be known as “Vin du Pape”.

In 1936 Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines became the first French appellation contrôlée wines. Some minor changes were made in later years. The main grapes are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, and the large majority of the wine is red. They do not produce any rosé.
Vineyards east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The good Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are now expensive, and many are now interested in the Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC area. Producers for these wines must obey stricter rules than those prescribed for Côtes du Rhône AOC wines. Eighteen villages are now allowed to use their village name on the
Rhône seen from the castle ruins of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
label by obeying even stricter rules.
One of the many wine tasting caves in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

We visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the end of September. The grape harvest season was in full swing, and the village was bustling with activity. Tractors drove with great speed through the village transporting the picked grapes from fields into caves, wine cellars, where they were first macerated, then pressed and maturated. The French like to say “September makes the vintage”.

It was a beautiful and warm late September day. We first took a leisurely walk to the Château ruins and the panorama. After that we explored the village to decide where to have lunch. We opted for a nice and relaxing lunch in the back garden of Le Pistou.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottle shape invented be Charles Brotte in 1952

After lunch we visited the wine museum and cave at Brotte Père Anselme. We first made a tour in
their museum which was a very informative audiovisual introduction to Côte du Rhône wines. After the tour it was time for wine tasting. We were especially interested in tasting some Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC wines around 10 € per bottle. They had wine from several villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Laudun and Cairanne. We first tasted Château de Bord Laudun 2012, and as a comparison a Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend in a traditional Brotte bottle and finally a good but expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintage wine. Château de Borde Laudun was gentle and delightful, and as Brotte even had a promotion at the moment we opted for it.
In the wine museum of Brotte Père Anselme


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