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In this French-inspired menu, we begin from the south, with a bowl of the famous Provençal Niçoise salad rendered particular by the presence of fresh tuna. This is a “poor” dish that traditionally gets prepared only with tomatoes and the tiny, tasty “taggiasche” olives – the kind that can be found on the Italian coastline that borders with Provence, France.
Following the salad, we propose a mushroom-based dish created by the Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco from the Mirazur restaurant in Mentone, France. The elegance of his dishes are based on a savvy mix of aromatic herbs put together with great savoir-faire. And while not many of us may have the kind of vegetable garden that Colagreco has at his disposal, not to worry: most of supermarkets and speciality shops have the kinds of ingredients necessary to create these kinds of recipes at home.
So now we go to another French dish, one that is traditionally made at home for Sunday lunches: the famously iconic coq au vin – and this recipe is quite special, as it comes from the great chef Paul Bocuse. For this dish, a large quantity of wine is needed in which to cook the chicken and the great master chef and founder of Nouvelle cuisine suggests a Fleurie, but you can also use any well-structured, good-quality red wine. Don’t, however, fall into the same trap that many inexpert cooks do, which is to use bottles that have already been opened for while, ones that may “smell of cork”. Remember that in this recipe, the wine itself is a main ingredient, and it should be of the same high quality as the rest of the necessary ingredients.
To conclude, we propose the excellent chocolate biscuits from the Parisian bakers Michel de Rovira and Augustin Paluel-Marmont, better known as Michel&Augustin: two young Frenchmen with a passion for food, fun and a dream to make the best cookies in the world. If you’d like to be truly decadent, try these with a nice spoonful of fresh cream, lightly aromatized with a pinch of cinnamon.
Niçoise Salade with Fresh Tuna
Fried wild mushrooms on a bed of red quinoa by chef Mauro Colagreco
Coq au vin by chef Paul Bocuse
Fondant au chocolat recipe by Michel and Augustin