En Français | In English | En español

Posts tagged ‘venice’

Save Venice… with a lunch.

March 1st, 2010

GRANDCANALCarneval viagra online canada pharmacy 2010. Dress code : a red jacket & chef toque. Destination : Venice.
The Foodingues are back in town.cavalch1

Assignment : to make a lunch for the French Comity for the Protection of Venice in the Palazzo Falier.
What mor enchanting to create a menu for 50 people in the palace of the Doge Mariano Falier to save Venice?

EAUVENISETo be back in the Serenissime City in the mid of Carnival…

There is nothing serene about that. It is just the opposite. The aqua alta has been quickly replaced by human tides, which we had to overcome the better we could to rush and gather all the food we needed to prepare the charity lunch.

8h30 the Rialto Market opens. Then 10h00 a quick jump to vialle Garibaldi, Isola SanPietro at the other end of the city, to be sure to get the best vegetable, the finest fish and the top quality veal… Because it si “Carne Vale”, “Farewell to meat” in latin, the last day when we can eat meat before easter, we wont let it pass without doing something. It is also Chinese New Year; we need to feed the Tigers for a whole year.




Menu : 5 Continents to save Venise.

Appetizer :

Pantumaca of bellota Iberico ham from Estramadura.01_corte
A spoon of Passere roe with poutargue and Korean style preserved sea algaes.
Flower of smoked cod roe with sea weed.

Starter :

Soupe of Blanche de Castille according to Taillevent

First :

Venitian Luang Parbang Lap : Banana flower with with tiny cutle fish from the Laguna, Laotian Royal dish.


Veal, raised on salted meadows, cooked for 4 hours in La Lot leaves and amaretto lichen.
Laguna vegetables with 3 textures.
Tiny artichokes with rosmarine flower Colonata Lard.
Saffron Quinotto


“Tigre del Mar”, citric sweet and sour malt chocolate cake.

Three days to prepare all this.
First thing the broths : poultry, fond de veau, fish.
Apart from the appetizers, to be eaten standing, the rest is to be served plate by plate, 200 plates set up in less than 2 hours… the guests need to be off at three to the Opera : Rossini’s “Barber of Sevilla” at the Fenice. I have never seen this : only two plates came back with remains, the rest was totally eaten up. People wanted to bypass the the Opera. Some did, dont say; anyway thet had their masks on…

The intention of this menu was to play with a typical Venitian spirit, not the Italian, nor a franco-italian. To be light, to float and dance on the Grand Canal with Palazzi proud and sparkling around.

We wanted to do it the Venitian way, passing on travel impressions through the centuries of of the city, while keeping their intensity, sharpness, vigour and mystery; behind the carnival masks, the sensuality of absolute license.


We wellcome our guest with a Spanish Ham; the best : origine Dehesa de Estramadura, which is not an Iberic goddess, though it could have been one. It is made from pigs raised wild under oak bellota trees; killed at the age of two in February at the end of the acorn season. The ham is then cured for at least 3 years.
In Venice there was the Ca’d'Oro, the ultimate measure for architectural debauch, in marble lace and gold; today the Iberico ham entrances Palazo Falier. The gist of this ham: The iberico pig only produces unsaturated fats, no bad cholesterol… to have the best ham you need to cuddle your pigs; in Estramadura it is done the most natural way possible.

Second tray : a spoon of the roe from the Laguna :PASSEREOEUFS
In the great Lucullusian tradition, you need to wellcome your guest with all the kindness and cudleness, by swiftly announcing the various contrasting tastes they are to encounter. So in a Thai spoon the roe from the Passere fish emulsionated in a concentrated broth of the same fish, which is between the turbot and the brill.

On this mist you lay a thin slice of raw cuttle fish, a slice of mulet Botarga covered with algaes preserved in agave syrop, Mexican chipotle chilly and grilled sesame seeds.CUILLERE

Third tray : a flower of smoked cod roe.ORCHID2
A very concentrated taramasalata with smoked cod roe wipped with seaweeds, olive oil and lime, displayed in a red radicchio leaf. Light and easy to make, it looks like an orchid flower.


The Blanche de Castille Soup.
It is a capriccio, a whim. This soup has been created for the wedding of Blanche de Castille, the mother of Saint Louis. The cook always try to please everybody, and makes dishes from the country of the spouse as well… Half of Spain is Arabic at this time.
The gastronomic icon of the time was the Persic cuisine, so they served this traditional Perse dish, which has been transmitted to us by Taillevent, cook of Charles the Vth of France. It is the first French recipe to be ever written, and it is of arabo andalousian origine…SOUPEBLANCHE
This soup was so popular that you could not avoid it, in Medieval feasts. When Venise was constructed it was a bit like today’s foie gras risotto which is served whenever people want to impress.
It is a blanc manger consome, served the Persian way with burned spices and herbs, sprinkled with pomegranate grains from Shiraz, in Iran… a divine juice, a foam of pleasure… Let Verlaine comment :
“Supreme milk, divine phosphore
with delicate smell of the almond flower,
When comes the bitter thirst of a begger,
Your lust for me to devour”
(sorry it should have been better translated by a poet…)

First :
banana flower with tiny cuttle fish from the Laguna.POULP

This dish was born after our encounter with Nith in Laos, the grandson of the last Viceroy who defeated the French from his country. Nith was raised in the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, where this dish was served to recieve guests of honour.There are no cuttle fish in the Mekong of course, but the petal of a banana flower is so similar to a Venitian gondola that I could not stop from giving a Venitian touch to it.

The advantage of the banana flower is that it has no taste at all. In fact it tastes of nothing which is a true particular taste in Laos.FLEURBANAE
It is a way to tame the most explosiv tastes, by transforming it immidiatly into floral delicate notes, tastes that would normal melt any regular mouth at the first bite. We muzzle the Doge with terrorism in panties. A true Carnival for the senses.
For this the tiny cutlefish are quickly cooked in order to let them melt in the banana flower. Remember the banana plant is not a tree, it is an herb, the biggest of all herbs on the planet. But its flower does not create life, it becomes a bunch of bananas: no insemination, no sex. The herb produces its bananas and then die. The mystery of Virgin Mary. Buddha spoke of the banana as a symbol of vanity of desires. It is exactly what this dish wants to tell.
Musa is the scientific name of the banana. Josephine Baker could not make it for lunch, so we changed of Muse. We needed a good one to inspire this Tiger New Year. “I like bananas ’cause there’s no bone in them…”. Tiger rag.

Second : veal of 4 hours covered with La Lot leaves and lichen preserved in amaretto.VEAU LA LOT
Veal… the veal of the salted meadows of the Venitian Laguna does not exist anymore. We have tasted it ten years ago thanks to this butcher of Vialle Garibaldi, a modest artisan with a good taste. The great New York Chef Babbo had already predicted this to us. There is very little decent meat left in this country anymore. The intensive industrialisation has changed a lot of things here. Dario Cecchini, the king of the Fiorentine Bisteca, after 250 years of being a butcher, ended up by making a deal with a peasant from the Basque country side, near San Sebastian, to get the best veal raised on real grass. True meat. In Venice, the speciality since… say… 600 years, was the veal raised on salted meadows. Today our butcher gets it from Holland, raised on salted grass under the polders. If things are evolving concerning the quality of meat in Italy please let me know.

Sorry for this harsh landing back on earth, lets resume our dream immidiatly.FEUILLESBROCOS

For 50 people you take 2 thin veal nuts and a fat one just in case. These are the pieces from the leg that are used to make the picatta. The important here is to take the entire muscle, without piercing it in any way. I pass it quickly on a hot pan with olive oil and grated garlic dipped in soy sauce.
Then pass the lichen by the same pan, Usnea barbata, which the Chinese call moss; I moisten it with amaretto to get all the remaining juice from the meat.

I place the veal nuts on a bed of brocoli leaves on the oven tray. Wrap each nut with moss and La Lot leaves, which are sort of young betel leaves (which people often mistake for), Piper sarmentosum, with tender and sweet pepered taste. I press them so that the veal is tightly wrapped in it.

In the oven at 10 o’clock to be served at 2PM. Temperature 60°C, never above 63°C which is the coagulation temperature. You will get a veal with its’ orginal texture and grain of meat. It looks like it is raw, but it is in fact preserved with all its’ humidity, as the muscle has kept its cells intact. A meat that you can slice by gliding even the most embarassing knife ever.ARTICHAUTS

When we serve it, we put a line of “fond de veau” made of concentrated bone broth reduced and cooked for 3 days, which will finish the plate by giving it an absolute contrast, a clair obscur to remind the art of Zurbaran.

The side dishes?
season vegetabes from the Laguna : the famous brocoli leaves sauted to a burn, cracking Jerusalem artichokes almost raw and crispy dry black cabbage leaves.

The laguna has its own very special taste, like a deep back noise which develops itself in any vegetable growing there. To descibe it, I would say it is a bit sweet and salty, with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and a cherry in the back. A totally personal impression, it tastes good.CAVOLO NERO

Poiret, the French Couturier, liked cabbage above all. His recipe: “take a small curly leaf of cabbage spread with a good redberry marmalade. Eat”. In doing so, I think that this well known fanatic of masquerade ball was certainly remembering the Venitian splendour and its’ famous black cabbage of the Rialto market. This black leaf becomes crispy like silk paper once heated in the oven.

Everywhere we tend to eat the flower of the cabbage, of the brocoli or of the cauliflower, in Italy they prefere the leaves.

I cannot resist to remind this interesting piece of litterature on French cabbage. It is written by Charles Fourier the inventor of socialism in his book “the new industrial world and society”, it is no socialist joke, the cabbage leads here to a true vision of a bright future :COUPEGAT
“Is is the expression of love with no barrier, no mystery, the young love leaping from pleasure to pleasure. The cauliflower is an ocean of flowers, the image of beauty. Its plays no tricks, free as youth, prefering orgies to enduring love, no need for subterfuge, like the clamped youth which has for symbol the fat cabbage.”
For him, the cabbage with leaves, on the contrary, was the vegetable of mysteries, intrigues and tricks; the perfect Venitian. ” Its’ ruffled leaves, announce the tricks of lovers hiding their relationship. They are more blue than greenish, because blue is the colour of troubled love. Blue dominates in the leaf of the carnation flower when it paints a young girl satiated by love, or expecting her lovers.
What a declaration: Fourier is the guy who invented the word “feminism” … after the word socialism he seemed to be on the verge of inventing the “cabbagism”; he did not; but today is carnival so lets dare it.

Behind their white masks the inhabitants of the moon, described by Cyrano de Bergerac the famous libertine writer at the time of Louis the XIIIth, replied : “to say that God prefered man to cabbage, it is like tickling ourself to force us to laugh : being incapable of passion, He does not hate, nor love anybody. If He was to love, He would probably give all His tenderness to this cabbage, which would be incapable to offense Him in return, instead to this man who already displays insults in front of Him and who would destroy Him immidiatly if he could do so.”
Beware the soul of a cabbage.TIGREDELMAR2

As dessert, in the city of lions we could not produce a mouse. So to the lion, red and gold on the top of his column on San Marco, we replied with the “Tigre del Mar” a black and yellow marbled cake and a pear granité.
Between a saffron & malt biscuit, one level of caroub chocolate, one level of chipotle chilly chocolate and the top with lime and passion fruit chocolate… it has been created as an echo for this Chinese new Year of the Tiger from the Mexican paradise Careyes, “Tigre del Mar”, created by a son from Northen Italy, Gian Franco Brignone, for the turtles and the Venitian Princes.