Recipe of the month : Touquet Fingerling Potato Cream and its Scallop Rose [fr]
This month we will be leaving the Picardie region and will be moving a little further up north, to the Nord Pas de Calais.
The Nord Pas de Calais cuisine is one of character and taste, having inherited most of its specialties from the county of Flanders. The region has always been at a European crossroads, and we find in its specialties traces of its history, such as the English influence of the Opal Coast, or dishes of Polish origin in the Nord Pas de Calais coalfield.
The Nord Pas de Calais, being a land of agricultural and animal husbandry, is a cheese producer. The most famous one is called “maroilles” and is used in a variety of flamiche (type of pie). The coastline is also home to one of the largest harbors in France, Boulogne.
Between land and sea, its staples are herring, rabbit, potatoes and beer. Traditionally, cooking is done with butter or lard; oil is rarely used. The cuisine is characterized, among other things, by bitter sweet flavors, like that of the chicon braisé, or like that of beer or coffee chicory.
I would like to open up a parenthesis this month and talk about northern gastronomy! Behind its apparent simplicity hides a cuisine that embraces the qualities of the region by being generous, variegated, and full of imagination and taste. The regional products tell the tale of the coming together of land and sea. They give birth to tasty specialties that are shared during large friendly dinners. Or they can be enjoyed at equally friendly restaurants, where we quickly feel right at home… In the north, gastronomy is alive! Regional products have an authenticity to them. Beer, cheese, fish all have a strong, delicious, unforgettable taste. They smell of the coastline, the great plains, the fields and the orchards. Cooked with love, this northern region’s riches are wonderfully delicate. They give birth to palatable culinary specialties.
Today’s recipe is one that you will be able to easily carry out at home and impress your friends. This is a traditional recipe, bringing together land and sea, and mirroring the region beautifully. “Touquet fingerling potato cream and its scallop rose.”
The French fingerling potato or « ratte », also known as “ram’s horn” is an old variety that originates from Lyon and the departments of Ardèche and Haute-Loire. We know nothing of its exact origin or age. The most ancient traces of this potato have been found in ancient treatises of horticulture dating back to 1870 and in the Maison Vilmorin’s catalogue in 1922. Its official registration in the French catalogue was in 1935.
The Touquet fingerling potato is a commercial brand of potatoes of the “ratte” variety, it is cultivated exclusively on the Opal Coast and in Picardie, where the soft and temperate climate is necessary for it to grow properly. It has an oblong and knobbly shape, and almost looks like a mouse. It has firm flesh and has a distinctive taste, reminiscent of chestnuts; it is particularly appreciated by gourmets and by several chefs.
Recipe for 4 people
- Ingredients :
• 500 grams of Touquet potatoes (or from anywhere else)
• 200 grams of butter
• 300 grams of milk
• Salt and white peper
• 2 kilos of scallops
• 1 lemon juice
• 2 spoonful’s of olive oil
• 2 spoonful’s of chopped chives
- Preparation :
Start cooking the skinned potatoes in a saucepan filled with cold water, with a pinch of salt for ten minutes. Reduce the cooked potatoes into mush (with a fork or a potato masher. Season with salt, white pepper and a small amount of nutmeg. Incorporate whole milk, brought to a boil, onto the butter/potato mix. The purée must be, at this point, very runny. Serve the purée in small verrines.
- Preparation of the scallop rose :
Thoroughly clean the scallop. Make rolls out of the scallops by juxtaposing them top to tail in cellophane film. Close the extremities by firmly twisting as if it were a sweet wrapper. Leave them for half an hour in the freezer. Once seized by the cold, take the film away and cut thin slices of scallop. For the marinade, mix the lemon juice and the olive oil, adding a bit of salt and pepper. Make a rose out of the slices in a soup plate and, with a brush, baste the slices with the marinade and sprinkle the chopped chives on top.
With this short sentence, I wish you all a bon appétitt.
« A good chef is 20% know how, 80% knack”»
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