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Posts tagged ‘recipe’

End of August… Coco didledoo… the recipe of the real Provence Coco beans in anchovy cream and pesto

September 20th, 2009

Artichoke choc-choc? Aubergine gigine? no … the bean, the one and only “haricot”, precious jewel of the Provence cuisine, has the priviledge of being named “Coco”… In case you are craving for the recipe just zap directly to the end. Otherwise…cocofrais

It has scared many more people already : Brillat Savarin, “Curse on the coco beans, curse the swamp beans …” (the physiologie of taste)… dull Northeners as well… An authentic “a meal of vilain”, the fair accomplice of garlic, anchovy and basil… of the late summer… the glory of never ending sun sets… a salvo to the belated pending pink flamingoes of the Salins de Giraud, still asking to themselves if it is really necessary to go back to Africa… the comfort of an ending sunny day in the Calanques of Marseille, battered by the Mistral wind, which, without telling, could not refrain from casting some of the chilly North Sea in the Méditerranean, … COCO…

COCO is not only a perfume… it is the ultimate artifice of the Adonis festival, for which all spices are getting sharpened, ready for a whole week of complete licence, all five senses at their extremes… women, husband, as you please… the 15th of August, festival of the virgins… pleasure without procuration, without procreation… decadent Rome, elegant Rome. Adonis has never been considered exactly as a politicaly correct company… but all ends in a burst of COCO beans, bean heads, bean brains… to harrypotter?… no! “Haricoter” : in Auvergne, center of France, it stands for ” to tear apart a piece of lamb”, as well as “to caress lovingly a woman”… the Auvergnat traditional dish is “the  lamb haricot”… nothing to do with these poor fellows confined in their barracks, zealously left to their dry kidney beans . Same with the “Bean Hostal”; it used to be the nickname of the town prison and the “fayot” a bean head military who signs up for another go.

However in Catalogna, the fasting delicacy, is the mounjo, moungeta, moungete, mogett,… a nun… a nice little nunny; cant mistake with the COCO bean, can you? Although the “nun’s fart” is a standard traditional cake : an ivorish carnation under swelling veils, plumpy and generous, propitious to convert anybody. The Coco bean, on the contrary, is the poor man’s organ with it’s ever going exhalating happyness. Hilarious. Hi, that’s me. Take Five.

If Romans used it to put an end… to sublimate a whole week of orgie in order resume the everyday life… it is a Florentine woman, Catherine of Medicis, who made it famous. Her uncle of Pope, Clement the VIIth, former Jules of Medicis, has given monk Valeriano a sack of this COCO treasure, recently discovered in Peru, as dowry to Henri II and his queer court. The valeriane is a plant which excites cats, but make man sleep. The ecclesiastic canon Piero Valeriano was not exactly a wacky guy, but the plethorical germination of the coco bean truly made him jubilant; and indeed the multicolor jewels have been a real benediction for the famous sister of Alexander of Medicis.

“It was shown to me… a true little bean” Gasparine, Pot-Bouille, Zola, Nana… a dry bean lacks definitly the voluptuous curves, the almighty nude, love handed flesh of the cook bean. Worse, today’s master word is lean, quick, slim, slender… the GREEN bean has become the “New Look”, modern times’ credo, a boaring belief that turns women into fleshless anemic poor things.

“So let us seed until it is still time to,

Cause the bean song is one of the shortest”

Sings Georges Guétary in  Florished Road of Francis Lopez. Olé! Besitos.

The Recipe :

Ingredients : coco beans, veggies, spices, and an anchoiade base (anchovy paste).

Options : poutargue or basil, make your choice.

A piece of advice : to be prepared before going to bed for the next day.

Onion sofrito with garlic and veggies : On Arles’ market we have organic “Thai aubergines”, “snake zucchinies”, ” Royal Thai basil with citronnella at the Laosian stand. aubergine thaiYes we are lucky. The sofrito, always with olive oil. May I remind you that the best olive oil in France is the one of Montfrin castle, gold medal 2006&2008 of the general agriculture competition, distilled by the great Jean René de Fleurieu … excellent.sofrito coco

The coco bean does not mingle with the mediocre. When the sofrito is done : throw the beans. Water, the less calcar possible. Cover, cuddle. slight fire, inexistant, protct it fro the flames with thick diffuser. At a slight boil, you have the shakes. Stop. The best is to use a thick iron pot to keep the heat longer and slow.  Slowly my sweety coco.  It is 3 O’clock in the morning, turn off everything. Cover. Next morning, you release the cover. Yummy. What a nice day. Give a little heat. Not too much.

Back in the evening . The serious job starts: according to your mind,  crush a handfull of basil, or lard micrometric slices of Poutargue, the dry fish row from Martigues. Once your spirits recovered, grab a sauce pan, crushed garlic and olive oil. Put the juice of the coco with a Mexican chipotle chile.

Now the anchovy paste: dilute and emulsionate in the sauce. It will be the salt of your COCOs. Off the fire. A big breath and when you feel it is not too warm anymore mix 2/3 of the fresh basil or the poutargue. Serve while spreading the remaining 1/3. (without eating the poutargue hiding, bean head…)coco pret

Sorry I could not refrain…

“menestra de verdura” : spring is back in the Basque Country

May 11th, 2009

menestrapAt last Spring has arrived in our plates, in this night of May .

A real treasure : Navara’s Menestra, a rare treat which happens only a short week in the year, when the very first vegetables come young tiny, no fibres, nor floury.

Here we are going to discover the true recipe of the “menestra de verdura” handed down from generation, mouth to mouth, in the Basque kitchens of San Sebastian, the ones that have been the true inspiration of the dean of the Spanish gastronomy, Arzak the genius.

Vegetables always take the longest time to prepare, but they will guaranty you pure pleasure. In the Basque Country this plate gathers mass of people, very serious competitions are organised each year, as soon as the vegetables sprout in Navara. This night, as we come back with our treasure of vegies to Paris, we decided to share with friend this rather confidential treasure.

Ingredients for 5 :

10 small violet artichokes, 2kg tiny fresh peas, 2kg tiny broad beans, 1kg beet, 1/2 kg new tiny yellow potatoes, 2 bunch fresh onions, 1 whole fresh garlic, 50 gr grease of Iberic ham, 20 gr Iberic ham meat, 1 egg, 50gr of flour, safron, salt, organic olive oil, an avocado leaf (which you can replace with a quater of laurel leaf, if you dont have an avocado tree) half a chile pasilla from Oaxaca, guzano salt.

The avocado leaf, the chile pasilla and the gusano salt is a new touch brought by les foodingues to the Basque Cuisine. The avocado leaf brings the smoothness of the avocado fruit to any broth, excellent. The chile pasilla from Oaxaca is an incredible Mexican pepper, the only one sold by unit, which brings an incredible flavour of smoked sweet cherry. The guzano salt is salt cooked with chile and the worm of the cactus with which you make Tequila; this one is the one of Oaxaca mesqual. We have been introduced to these fabulous ingredients by the famous Mexican painter Laura Hernandez.

Use Iberic ham: the fat of this breed of pig is 98% oleic acid, which means that it is no saturated fat; so dont cook it to much so that you wont get bad fats and cholesterol. Choose the bellota one, which has eaten in the last 6 months before being killed oak kernels. My preferate Iberic bellota ham is from Extramadura, because it is a region where you still have huge wild spaces of oak trees where Iberic Porks are raised.

Make sure that all the veggies and ingredients are organic : an organic vegetable has a true tatste, it holds 30% more dry matter than a conventional one (you pay for less water); and also nothing from this plate is going to be thrown away; by buying organic we will be able to use all the peelings, which normally would contaminated with pesticide, to make a wonderfull broth with which we will deglaze all the pans used.

The olive oil should be organic as well, as any chemical put on an olive tree concentrates itself automatically in its fruits… which are used to make olive oil.

The recipe from les foodingues :

All ingredients are cooked separatly and assembled in the end.

Peel all the vegetables, gathering all the peels in a big casserole to make the broth, except the leaves of the artichoke to sour (you can put a few leaves of artichoke to mezmerize your taste buds with the sugars of the vegies).

- the violet articholes : with a bread knife, cut them in two at the level of their belly and take away the top of the leaves; take away the remaning hard leaves on the sides; cut them in quarters, eventually take away the hair; put them on a slow fire in a big pan with the fresh garlic and the garlic leaves cut small, with a generous pinch of salt; let cover for a while without opening; when it sticks on the bottom, which means that you smell slight caramel, open and turn them, stir fry them quickly, add the Iberic ham grease and meat; stir; add a few spoons of broth to deglaze and take away from the fire, put aside and cover.

- peas : melt a bunch of onions in organic olive oil with pinch of salt; throw the peas with some broth; cook on a light fire 10mn;

- with the broad beans : same as with the peas but add the avocado leaf to remove any bitterness.

- asparagus : once peeled, stir fry them in live oil with a pinch of guzano salt; this way of cooking the asparugus concentrate the sugars and flavours which normaly disapear in the water in which you normaly cook them.

- beets : stir fry the green leaves in olive oil; cut the stems into 3 inches bits; put the in flour; whisk the egg with a pinch of guzano salt and safron; dip the floury beet into it an throw them in 1/2cm high of frying hot olive oil.

To fry, always use olive oil it probaby the most heat resistant oil.


Done. display every vegetable with your utmost creativity.

In San Sebastien you would eat this marvel with the famous wine from Getaria the Txakoli , Txakoli Txomin Etxaniz is the most reputed; personaly I’d rather prefer the Txakoli Aizpurua. You serve it while breaking the bubble, pouring it high up from a flat and deep thin glass

In Pamplona, capital of Navara, or in Lodosa, capital of the Spanish vegetables, you might get served one the delights among today’s Spanish white wines the Ossian 2005, a great wine from Castilla y Leon. Quick before the 2005 disapears. But in the historic capital of the Menestra, Tudela, the first menestra made in the year, as it is a microclimate special for vegies, you would be served the exceptional wine from Cintruenigo the “Colleccion made by Julian Chivite. To an exceptional dish, an exceptional wine.