Crêpe Savoyarde

crepe savoyarde

El viatge virtual gastronòmic d’avui ens porta a la falda del Mont Blanc, a on segur que no hi fa la calor enganxosa horrible que fa ara mateix a Barcelona. No sé si recordareu que fa uns mesos us vaig parlar d’una crêpe que em vaig menjar en un viatge a França i que mai he oblidat. Doncs bé, després d’anys recordant aquella crêpe als meus somnis, l’altre dia em vaig decidir a tornar-la a fer. Tampoc podia ser tan complicat, només necessitava el formatge adequat: el reblochon.

Reblochon

Aquest formatge, que té una indicació geogràfica protegida des del 1958, va néixer al massís d’Aravis, a l’Alta Savoia.

alta savoia

Diu la llegenda que per allà el s.XVI els agricultors de la zona feien la primera munyida de la vaca al matí per donar-la al propietari i que a la nit, quan ningú mirava, en feien una altra per quedar-se-la ells (pot semblar una mica lleig això de robar la llet d’un altre, però estic segura que les condicions de vida dels agricultors eren molt més dures que les dels senyors propietaris, per tant no em sap greu que els hi prenguessin part de la llet). D’aquesta segona munyida en va sortir el terme reblocher, que vol dir agafar la mamella de la vaca per segona vegada (una mica literal, sí), i d’aquí en va sortir el reblochon.

I del reblochon en va sortir la meva crêpe. Anys després, va ser exactament com la recordava: cruixent per fora i màgicament bona per dins, amb la combinació perfecta de bacon, ceba caramel·litzada i reblochon fos.

Crêpe Savoyarde

Prep time: about 1,5 h

Servings: 2

You will need:

  • For the dough:
    • 1 egg
    • 65 g flour
    • 125 ml milk
    • a pinch of salt
    • 1 teaspoon butter
  • For the filling:
    • 2 medium-sized potatoes
    • 150 g bacon
    • 1 onion (if you’re a true caramelized onion lover, make it 2 or 3, depending on the size)
    • about 150 g reblochon
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • a pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients for the crêpe dough in a bowl until the batter is nice and smooth. Cover it with plastic film and let it stand in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon, and chop up and cook the onion over a very low flame until brown and soft. Wash and peal the potatoes, cut them into slices and put them in a pot with a pinch of salt. Cover them with water and let boil for 5 min.

When your dough has rested enough, choose the best frying pan you have (the size doesn’t matter, but it has to be really non-sticky or your crêpe will end being a scrambled-like thing) and put a teaspoon of butter in it. When melted, carefully pour the amount of dough necessary to cover all the pan with a very thin layer. We’re not making pancakes, we’re making crêpes, so when I say thin I mean really thin. Cook both sides and let them cool. The amount of crêpes depends on the size of your pan, but don’t worry, even if you make two big crêpes or a hundred little ones, when filled they’ll taste like heaven.

crepe savoyarde prep 1

Preheat your oven to 180ºC and get ready for the crêpe-assembling party. The optimal order is potato-onion-bacon-cheese-butter, which should be something like this:

crepe savoyarde prep 2

crepe savoyarde prep 3

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crepe savoyarde prep 5

crepe savoyarde prep 6

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Now carefully transfer your crêpe on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake until crunchy on the outside and your cheese is completely melted.

crepe savoyarde 2

Enjoy!

Annie

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Date Bacon Parmesan Salad

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 8

I know what you’re thinking. Not Parmesan again. And salad, again? I know, I know. But you must understand, it’s Parmesan. The king of all cheeses. And this ain’t just any salad. It’s the best kind of salad. You know, the kind of salad loaded with cheese and bacon.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 2

Also, Parmesan features in Boccaccio’s Decameron tale about an imaginary gourmet paradise. I’m talking XV century Italian literature here, guys. The passion for Parmesan has been around for longer than most modern countries. I mean, the man writes about mountains of Parmesan cheese. Like, mountains.

I’ve been looking for that place for a couple of years now. I’ll let you know if I get lucky. I won’t tell you were it is, though. I’ll just sent a postcard.

Anyway, this rich history is of course the main reason why I made this salad. Duh.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 9

That, and I was so sleepy this morning it took about ten minutes for me to realize I was trying to fit both my legs into one leg of my pants. So this is all I could manage in the state I’m in.

But try it. You won’t regret it. The play of textures and the blend of sweet, salty and crispy ingredients is, in a word, heavenly. Did you hear angels sing? Because they did. And if you listen very closely, you’ll hear their silver voices chanting one word in a trance-like rhythm:

Parmesan…

And then of course there’s the celestial heavy metal band bellowing Bacooon!! at the top of their lungs in the background. They never miss a beat, those little rascals.

Let’s get the show on the road:

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 7

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad

Sevings: it’s completely up to you and how much cheese and bacon you can eat

Prep time: 30 minutes tops

You will need:

  • Baby greens
  • Arugula
  • Parmegiano Reggiano
  • Bacon, cut into cubes or strips
  • Pitted dates, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, to dress the salad

Note: This salad is super easy and super tasty, perfect for those sultry summer days, and good enough to impress your guests. If you need more salad recipes, check out our Strawberry Almond Brie Salad, Provolone Salad, and Pistachio Mozzarella Salad.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 1

First off, wash your salad greens and arugula and place them in a large bowl. The amount of each depends on how much you like baby greens and arugula. In fact, you could just as well make this salad using only arugula, if you really like it. Plus, you will look like a goat whilst eating, which is always a perk.

Now cook your bacon in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until nice and crispy, then place on a paper-towel-lined plate to catch any extra grease. Again, the amount is up to you, but don’t skimp. The bacon and date pairing is one of the best flavor combos ever.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 5

Allow to cool.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 3

Cut your Parmesan cheese into small, fine slices, until you feel you have enough to transport yourself or your guests to Parmesan Paradise, and add to the greens.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 4

Now, you are absolutely entitled to eat this like this, and no one will judge you. At least I know I won’t, because, you know, been there, done that.

But bear with me if you can, the final result will definitely be worth your while.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 6

Cut up your dates and add to the salad. Don’t be to heavy handed with these; a little goes a long way, and they’ll overpower the bacon and cheese, which we most certainly do not want happening. Ever.

Last, but not least, top the salad with the cooled bacon. Add a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That’s seriously all the dressing you’ll need.

Now, eat, drink and be merry. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Clara

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 10

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Carbonara 9

Carbonara: pasta, Parmesan, bacon and black pepper. The stuff of legends. Need I say more?

Yet the origins of this legendary dish and its name are obscure. Its genesis has perplexed and eluded gastronomers for over five decades. Avid debates are tearing entire countries apart. The slow implosion of black holes is triggered by the mystery that is Carbonara.

First discovered after WWII, one popular theory speaks of the valiant carbonari, or charcoalmen. Since the dish really only has 5 ingredients, this does seem a plausible explanation. Note, though, that during the 19th century, the carbonari were also members of a Neapolitan secret revolutionary society, not unlike the Free Masons, called the Carboneria. The  group took their name from a fifteenth-century Scottish group of rebels who masked their subversive activities by pretending to be colliers. Thus, alla carbonara, by association, also means “in a secretive or subversive fashion”.

It’s riveting. Imagine an entire underground movement devoted to eating Spaghetti alla carbonara (in the associative sense) in remote caves and crumbling safehouses all across the country. Imagine doors stamped with a C, leading to hidden tunnels and ancient treasures. Imagine secret rites and initiation rituals involving the consumption of inordinate amounts of Parmesan cheese and bacon.

Oh, dear carbonari, please please let me into your secret society. I’m the person you are looking for. I was born to work for you. I am a bacon-and-Parmesan-cheese-devouring fiend. I hace been looking for you. I will find you. I will eat all your Parmesan and bacon and pasta.

On a side note, there is also a rumor that the Carbonara might get it’s name from the word carbonata, a term widely used in Renaissance Italy to denote a type of salt-cured and smoked pork, which is, of course, an ingredient in today’s dish, or even that it refers to the pepper we sprinkle on it, which resembles charcoal.

All of these are, of course, ludicrous. The theory involving pasta-adoring revoltionary independence fighters, surreptitous culinary orgies in the dead of night, and, quite possibly, witchcraft drawing from the power of Parmesan eaten at the stroke of midnight, is so much more appealing. Oh, the possibilities. My imagination has put some fruit on its head and is dancing a conga.

The more perceptive amongst you will have noticed, however, that I have not once uttered the sacrilegious word, banned from all Carbonara-related conversations: cream. I did my research. Carbonara does not include cream. Eggs, and plenty of cheese, yes. When beaten and mixed with the pasta they transform into a gloriously creamy goo. Yes. Cream? No. It’s unnecessary, grossly irreverent and utterly superfluous. Extra cheese and bacon? Yes. Cream? No.

I guess you catch my drift.

Carbonara º0

 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Servings: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 400gr Spaghetti
  • 200-300gr bacon, prosciutto, pancetta, or similar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1cup grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
  • freshly cracked black pepper


Carbonara 1

Cook the Spaghetti in generously salted water until al dente, or according to package instructions. Before you drain them, remember to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Carbonara 5Carbonara 6

While the pasta is cooking, sauté the bacon/pancetta/whatever you used  in a large skillet until nicely browned and crisp. Leave in the skillet.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and the Parmesan until nicely blended.

Carbonara 4

Reheat the bacon-skillet (oh yes… bacon grease), add the reserved pasta water, toss in the drained spaghetti and agitate the pan over the heat for a few seconds, until the bubbling subsides.

Now comes the part where you need to work fast. You need to cook the egg, but not over direct hear or it will scramble. It might scramble anyway, so go ahead and reach into that hidden-superhero-part of you that lurks at the bottom of your mind. Now is the moment to step forth and man up.

Back to cooking. To achieve the creamy-not-scrambled egg texture, remove the skillet from the heat source, pour in the egg mixture and stir quickly and thoroughly until the eggs thicken. Remember, you need to work quickly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. If the sauce seems to thick, thin it out with pasta water.

Dish up, season generously with black pepper and extra Parmesan, if so inclined. If you find you are not so inclined, I recommend that you find that inclination. Fast 🙂

Enjoy!

Carbonara 7

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 20

So you know how, when puberty hits girls, it often translates into random body parts beginning to grow uncontrollably and haphazardly? For some girls it’s the boobs. For others it’s the hips. For me, it was the nose. For some inexplicable reason, my US size 3 feet stopped growing by the time I was 12, and my body channeled its (considerable, yet sadly misled) growth efforts into producing a nose Cleopatra would have been proud of. Maybe I should get myself a lioness and start bathing in donkey milk. Myself, that is, not the lioness. That would be silly. Who ever heard of bathing a lioness in donkey milk? You bathe them in camel milk. Everybody knows that.

But I digress. The fact remains that, while my head did catch up a bit with my nose, the latter is still featured proud and brave within the ensemble of my face. Don’t get me wrong. I love my nose. We’ve been through tough times, my nose and I. The stale, unwashed odour of the man sitting next to me in the underground.  Walking into a public lavatory where someone has obviously just taken a considerable dump, wanting to shout at the next person entering: “It wasn’t me!!”… all these things have brought us together.

But I digress. As I was saying, while the fact remains that my head did eventually catch up to my nose’s bid for freedom, my brain apparently did not. So while I was happily mixing my ingredients for this quiche, my nose was calling out warnings, waving her tiny pink arms and cursing in Elvish, Entish and the Tongues of Men. Still I ploughed forward, pouring the odd-smelling cream into my lovely, caramelized, bacon-ized custard, ending up with a curdled, lumpy mess. My nose gave me an I-told-you-so kind of sniff and retired for the night.

How the mighty have fallen.

Thus it came about that I made this quiche twice, the second time without the cream.

It turns out it tastes better without.

Lesson of the day: Never cook with curdled cream. Also, go see a doctor if your nose sprouts arms.

Now, I am aware that this isn’t the first quiche we’ve posted. The lovely Annie came up with this Spinach-Bacon-Goat Cheese beauty a few weeks back. But you can never have enough quiche. Or bacon. Or Gorgonzola, for that matter.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 18

 

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 5

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

You will need:

For the filling:

  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 100gr bacon
  • 1 tablespoon (15gr) butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15gr) brown sugar
  • 2 large pears, peeled and cubed
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 150gr Gorgonzola, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (5gr) thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 17

For the crust:

  • 2 cups (500gr) flour
  • 1/3 cups (100ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cups or less (50-75ml) water

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 1 Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 2

Lets start off with the crust. I use this for everything. Sweet pies. Savory pies. Quiches. Anything that requires a crust.

The procedure is pretty  straightforward. Sift your flour into a large bowl. Create a well in the middle and fill it with olive oil. Mix with a fork. Now add water, a little bit at a time, until you are left with a homogeneous dough.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 12

At this point, you will be faced with a choice: You can flour a large surface, roll out the dough into the desired shape, carefully lift it off the work surface, have it break half way to your baking dish, start over, despair, and end up in prison for manslaughter by means of dough bullets.

I chose the lazy girl approach. For this, simply grab a small amount of dough, pat it in your hand until flat(ish), then press into your baking dish. Repeat until the entire surface of the dish is covered. The result sure ain’t as pretty as the manslaughter approach, I can tell you that. However, it works, it tastes the same, and you don’t get flour into crevices you didn’t even know existed in your kitchen.

The last step in both cases is to poke holes all over the crust with a fork, so as to prevent it from puffing up in the oven.

To see how this looks, check out the picture further down.

Now let’s turn to the part we all really want to talk about: the filling.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 3

For this, cook the onion and bacon in the same pan until the onion is softened and the bacon begins to brown ever so slightly. Melt in the butter, then add the brown sugar and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Add the pears, turn down the heat and allow them to caramelize for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 4-horz

In a separate bowl, beat the softened Gorgonzola into the eggs, along with the thyme.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 8Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 9

Then add the pear mixture, and salt and pepper to taste.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 11

Finally, pour the filling into your prepared quiche crust.

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Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 14

Bake on medium-low for 45 minutes.

Serve slightly cooled.

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Which means leaving it on the kitchen counter, and returning to find this:

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 16My family are vultures. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did 🙂

 

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche 2

A mi m’agrada la verdura. Sempre m’ha agradat. Quan tenia 6 mesos i em van començar a donar la papilla de cereals, li vaig dir a la meva mare que si volia, que se la mengés ella. Bé, tècnicament no li vaig dir, però suposo que amb una comunicació no verbal pseudotelepàtica (segurament li vaig escopir la papilla a la cara) va entendre que no me la pensava menjar pas, que, o em donava una llesca de pa amb tomàquet, o jo allò marronós i de textura inquietant no m’ho empassava. Però, en canvi, el puré de verdures em fascinava, era capaç de menjar-ne tant com me’n volguessin donar. Més tard, a l’escola, era l’única nena del menjador que volia repetir de primer plat els dies que hi havia mongetes tendres. Les cuineres flipaven, pobres. I de més gran, quan vaig començar a cuinar coses per mi mateixa, evidentment, vaig començar a fer plats amb verdura: una amanideta, que és fàcil de fer, verdura al vapor, unes verdures tallades a juliana al forn amb herbetes, cremes amb tot allò que trobava a la nevera… verdura en totes les formes possibles.

Ara que no vingui el típic graciós a dir: i no prefereixes una hamburguesa amb ceba caramelitzada i formatge, amb moltes patates fregides i amb molt de ketchup? Sí, és clar que sí. M’agrada la verdura però no sóc idiota.

Sovint dieu que no us agrada la verdura perquè no l’heu tastada en cap forma bona, només tristament bullida amb un raig d’oli, que convindrem que és una mica hardcore. Per això, avui m’he proposat convertir-vos en uns amants dels espinacs, verdura especialment verda i odiada, amb aquesta quiche, que és perfecta: d’entrada és bona només pel fet de ser una quiche, porta espinacs però el gust hi queda força camuflat, i porta formatge de cabra, que és com l’alegria de qualsevol plat. Ah, i bacon, que ja sabeu que tot sempre és millor amb bacon…

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 6

Spinach-Bacon-Goat Cheese Quiche

Servings: 4-6

Prep time:  45 min

You will need:

  • 1/2 kg frozen spinach (or the equivalent amount of fresh leaves)
  • 150 g bacon, chopped
  • 100 g goat cheese, chopped (see the picture above to get a look at the one I used)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (you can use cream, but I usually make a lighter version using milk)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 100 g grated cheese (the type of cheese is up to you, I used a commercial gouda-cheddar mix which I personally love)
  • 1 sheet of pastry dough
  • some ground nutmeg (I’d say about 1/4 tsp or less, be careful, we don’t want a nutmeg-quiche!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. In a large pan thaw and cook the spinach for about 10 min with a splash of olive oil. They usually let go a lot of water, so the best course of action here is probably to place them in a strainer and press them down with a spoon so they release all the liquid. I’d post a picture, but you really don’t want to see the ugly, mushed up spinach leaves I have here. Scroll down a bit and check out the lovely, crispy bacon, which is so much more pleasing to the eye, and give our sad little spinach leaves some time to go from ugly duckling to cheese-swan. It’s like going through adolescence. Give them time. And cheese.

On a separate pan, cook the bacon until perfectly crispy. Now important: do not eat the bacon! Or at least, do not eat all the bacon. Or just make more bacon and eat that.

You can never have too much bacon.

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 1

Sauté the drained spinach in the spinach pan with the butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper until coated in butter. You get the picture: Spinach, yeah, sure, but with butter and bacon. And cheese.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the milk, grated cheese, spinach and bacon. Stir until combined.

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 2Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 3Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 4

Line a 28cm pie mold with baking paper and press in te dough, making sure it covers all the edges of the mold. Now pour in the spinach-cheese-bacon-egg mix.

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche Prep 5

Sprinkle the goat cheese over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the quiche is set.

Serve it hot straight out of the oven. Or warm. Or cooled. It’ll be delicious either way.

Enjoy!

Spinach-Bacon-Goat cheese Quiche

Gorgonzola Soup, or Confessions of a Gorgonzola Addict

Gorgonzola Soup_2

Let me sing you the song of my people.

My people are intense and flavourful. My people are creamy and smooth. White and blueish and greenish, in that dodgy mouldy way. They have mysterious customs and are known by many a name; but around here we address them only by one –

Gorgonzola.

No, seriously. If Gorgonzola were a man, I’d marry him. If it were a woman I’d marry it. Hell, I think I might just go ahead and marry it anyway. If I told you how many recipes of mine contain Gorgonzola, you’d be pressing that panic button under your desk PDQ.

Oh, the many joys of Gorgonzola… I shall not – cannot possibly – list them all here, so I will let the crowning jewel of my Gorgonzola recipe collection speak for itself.

Now, this recipe masquerades as a cream of vegetable wannabe, what with the onion and all that, but do not be fooled. This is not a light summer dish. This is so, so much more. This is roasted onions and molten Gorgonzola and crispy bacon, and you will hear your arteries sigh resignedly while your soul sings with bliss. It might even dance a little jig, if you add enough bacon. Because, you know, everything is better with bacon.

And Gorgonzola.

Gorgonzola Soup

(This recipe originally came from Culinary Concotions by Peabody‘s blog, which is awesome on so many different levels.)

Servings: aprox. 5 – 6

Prep time: a little over an hour

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 small potatoes, or 1 medium, peeled & diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 cups (aprox. 700ml) chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream (aprox. 250ml)
  • 120-150gr Gorgonzola cheese
  • bacon to taste, I recommend 200gr, cooked

Heat some olive oil (I just eyeball it, but I’d say you need about 2 or 3 tablespoons) and add the chopped onions and potatoes.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 1

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent. It should look somewhat like this:

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 2

At this point, you want to add your chicken broth, wait for it to boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover your pot and simmer gently (I repeat, gently. You do not want to boil the living daylights out of this little baby) for about 30 minutes. Use a fork to check whether your potatoes are nice and soft. Simmer a little longer if necessary.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 3

Proceed to take the pot off the heat source and carefully puree with a hand blender. I say carefully, because it’s hot, and you don’t want the soup splashing on your hands. Or on your face, for that matter. It will hurt. I speak from experience.

Now, once you’ve stirred around a bit to catch any stray bits of potato that have eluded the mortal knives of the blender, and your soup is nice and smooth, return the pot to low heat and stir in the cream. At this point you seriously want to avoid any boiling, because the soup now contains cream, and cream is a joyful creature prone to boiling over. If you’ve ever tried scraping burnt cream off your stove, you know the nightmares I speak of.

So, to preserve your sanity, keep the heat low and stir. All. The. Time.

And now the games begin.

Add tablespoons full of Gorgonzola to the soup and stir continuously until they have melted into the onion and potato base. Taste as you go, because some brands of Gorgonzola are milder than other, and you don’t want to overdo it.

Divide the soup among the bowls and top with a light sprinkling of crumbled bacon. Or, you know, dump a truckload on it.

Gorgonzola Soup

Enjoy!