Roasted veal chops with pistou and potato salad

Roasted veal chops with pistou and potato salad

The potato salad in this recipe reflects summer; it includes new potatoes, sliced radishes, and peas. It is much lighter than the classic potato salad made from potatoes and a mayonnaise dressing.

The roasted veal chops are served with pistou, basil purée. Here in Nice, I prefer veal chops which are usually more tender and succulent than pork chops in our local supermarket. The recipe works just as well with tender pork chops.

2 servings

2 thick veal chops (or pork chops)
Olive oil and butter for frying

For the pistou:

A small bunch of basil, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 clove of garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of salt

For the potato salad:

3 medium sized new potatoes, microwaved, then sliced
150 ml fresh peas
A small bunch of radishes, sliced
Basil leaves to decorate

For the dressing:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

In a mortar, make the pistou by crushing the basil leaves and all the other ingredients with a pestle. Mix well, cover, and place in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Melt some butter and olive oil over medium- high heat in a heavy frying pan and fry the veal chops on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. If using pork chops, make sure that they are well- done but not dry.

Meanwhile make the potato salad. Slice the microwaved new potatoes and transfer into a bowl. Peel the fresh peas into the bowl. Wash and slice the radishes and add to the bowl.

Whip together the dressing and add to the potato salad.

Transfer the veal chops on the plates and divide the pistou on top. Divide the potato salad on the plates and decorate with basil leaves.


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Chicken breast with Parma ham and crushed tomatoes

Chicken breast with Parma ham and crushed tomatoes

This is a great autumn recipe when tomatoes are still tasty and fresh basil is available.

The sauce is made from fresh crushed tomatoes, tomates concassées. This involves placing the tomatoes in boiling water for three minutes or so, then peeling and roughly chopping them. It is amazing how easy it is to peel the tomatoes after they have been immersed in boiling water for a few minutes! The rest of the sauce ingredients; fresh basil, olive oil, black pepper, and spring onions, reflect Mediterranean flavours.

Covering the chicken breasts with fresh basil leaves, a slice of Parma ham, and olive oil before baking them keeps the chicken succulent and tasty.

2 servings

2 organic chicken breasts, without skin
2 slices of Parma ham
A handful of fresh basil leaves
About 4- 5 tbsp. olive oil
8 black olives, stoned and chopped
2 tasty tomatoes
2 spring onions, cébettes, white parts only
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan
Whole wheat spaghetti for two servings

Preheat the oven to 200° C.

Cover the chicken breasts with a slice of Parma ham and tuck a lot of fresh basil in between. Save some basil leaves for the crushed tomato sauce. Place the chicken breasts in an oven- proof dish and drizzle a table spoon of olive oil over each breast. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and prepare the crushed tomato sauce.

Place the tomatoes in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove from the water, place in a bowl and peel them. Then chop roughly. Add the stoned and chopped olives, sliced spring onions, 2- 3 tablespoons olive oil, and black pepper. Carelessly mix the tomato sauce.

Chop the remaining basil and grate some parmesan.

Drain the cooked pasta and divide on the plates. Add the chopped basil in the tomato sauce and mix. Divide the tomato sauce on the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan. Place the chicken breasts on the side with some microwaved broccoli or butternut squash cubes.


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Hike from Coursgoules above Vence

The village of Coursegoules

Sometimes, especially on a warm day, you might want to start your hike a bit higher but not drive far from the coast. The medieval perched village of Coursegoules north of Vence could then be your perfect choice. The village is said to be 700-800 years old but the original settlement was built by the Romans. The distance from Nice is 32 km by road, and the village is situated at 1020 m altitude under the eastern part of the Cheiron mountain ridge. The region is part of the Azur Prealps. The river La Cagne has its source southeast of the village. The village itself is certainly worth visiting. It is said to be less touristic. Even so, we saw quite a few visitors on the day of our visit. Some expats have found their home here.

The hike featured here ascends to the Cheiron ridge, follows it west before descending back to Coursegoules. The French guide calls the hike “Circuit de Viériou”. One of the advantages of this hike is that you rapidly reach the mountain crest; the whole walk takes about 3h 30 so you should have ample time to explore the village and even dine there.

From signpost 13 close to the parking, proceed to # 12 from where the well-marked trail starts ascending along the southern face of the mountain in the Foussa Valley. Signpost 145 at Baisse de Viériou (1356 m) on the ridge is reached in about an hour. The trail now heads northwest in an almost treeless landscape, climbing slightly to 1424 m, and the highest point of the hike. Eagles can frequently be spotted here, soaring above the mountain massif.

At signpost 146, there’s a crossroads where our itinerary winds down along a stony and wide path to signpost 147. Coursegoules is visible all the time. Even so, follow the path with yellow marks. There may be several paths, both man –and animal made. The tiny Chapel St-Michel is passed. Flocks of lambs can be on the trail here so be discreet. Just before the village, the trail crosses a small stream in the woods.

Total climb: 480 m

Map: IGN 3642 ET Vallée de l’Estéron

Image of itinerary courtesy of Google Maps


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