As Bastille Day dawns on Monday, thoughts turn to creating some classic French fare. It’s no surprise that many kitchens worldwide call their service in French – most chefs have had classical French training and it is still, in my opinion, the foundation of so many other cuisines. Here are some Gallic favourites that are not difficult to prepare at home.
FRENCH FINE APPLE TART
1 x 30cm disc puff pastry 5 pink lady apples 150g unsalted butter, melted 50g almond meal 80g caster sugar Icing sugar, to dust 150ml cream, whipped to soft peaks, to serve
1 Preheat oven to 200ºC. Grease and line baking tray with baking paper. Place puff pastry round on prepared tray.
2 Peel and core apples, slice into very thin rounds using mandolin or very sharp knife. Brush puff pastry with a little melted butter, then scatter with almond meal. Starting from outside edge of pastry, arrange apple slices over top by overlapping slices in a circular pattern – don’t leave any gaps until you have reached the centre.
3 Liberally sprinkle caster sugar over apples and lightly brush with remaining butter. Cook tart for approx. 15 minutes until pastry has risen, reduce heat to 170ºC for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven onto clean board, carve into 8 wedges, dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream alongside.
Wine match: Eric Bordelet Poiré Granit Cider NV
Makes 6 as starter
300g button mushrooms, finely dices
150g unsalted butter 5 small shallots, finely diced 1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped 1/4 cup tarragon leaves, finely chopped, plus 35 small
leaves for garnish Salt flakes & freshly ground blck pepper 36 large sea scallops on half-shell, removed from shell,
shells rinsed ¾ cup dry vermouth 2 bay leaves, dry or fresh 3 tbs flour 200ml thickened cream 90g grated gruyere 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 100ml rice bran oil
1 Heat mushrooms, 100g butter, and 3 diced shallots in small saucepan over medium heat; cook for 25 minutes, or until mixture forms a loose paste. Stir parsley and tarragon into mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper.
2 Divide mixture among cleaned scallop shells and preheat grill.
3 Bring remaining shallots, vermouth, bay leaves, salt, and ¾ cup water to boil in saucepan over medium heat, simmering until has liquid reduced to 200ml (about 10 minutes); strain.
4 Heat remaining butter in small saucepan on medium setting. Add flour; cook for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add reduced cooking liquid and cream; cook until thickened (approx. 8 minutes). Add cheese, juice and season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside warm.
5 Meanwhile, heat a little rice bran oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Season scallops with salt and black pepper. In batches, quickly sear scallops in hot pan on one side until golden (around 30 seconds), turn scallops, then remove from pan immediately to ensure they are still undercooked. Place sealed scallops on centre of mushroom mix, then spoon a little cheese sauce over scallops.
6 Grill until browned on top (about 3 minutes); transfer to serving plates and garnish each with a tarragon leaf and grind of pepper.
Wine match: 2002 Marc Brédif Vouvray ($35)