METRO PLUS

Meals that heal

It has a wide array of nutrients, contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium. Try an asparagus soup

With France's geographical position in Europe, it has the best of all climates. To the South, the heat of the Mediterranean adds flavour and richness to its fruit, vegetables and herbs, including the aromatic delights of basil and garlic. In the East, Southeast, and centre, mountains dictate a tougher, more solid peasant fare, based on chestnuts, cabbages and hard cheese, which can be stored throughout the winter. In the North, there is the finest of fish, oysters and lobsters, which are cooked to perfection in the fine cream and butter of a colder climate. France has climatic variations and consequently, French cooking has two groups of basic ingredients. First, there are the fats — olive oil, goose fat and butter and second, there are the basic flavourings of garlic, shallots and onions. Onion is the most widely used of the family of culinary lilies that has pervaded France from its great centre of cultivation in the North.

At the patisseries, one can buy a variety of fine chocolate work and liqueur-flavoured desserts elaborately arranged on the display and tiny biscuits in great jars, rich dark chocolate cake, sugar-coated almonds, glace fruits. Preserves are another delight; the most famous centre is Bar-el-Duc. At the bakeries, varieties of breads, rolls, croissants and brioche shine with a golden brown glaze. Fresh curd cheese and cream from Chantilly or Fontainebleau are particularly prized.

When champagne is used in cooking, it replaces the dry white wine of other districts in dishes such as chicken fricassee or sole in cream sauce. The great grand dishes depend a great deal on wines.

Cream of asparagus soup

Asparagus - 200 gm

Milk - 500 ml Butter - 30 gm Flour - 30 gm Cream - 200 ml Salt to taste Pepper powder to taste Onion - 1 Clove - 5

Method: Boil milk and set it aside, melt 10 gm of butter in a thick-bottomed pan and add 10 gm of flour into it. Add the milk to it. Drop in the onion studded with the cloves and cook until it becomes soupy in consistency. In the meantime, boil water and blanch the asparagus and make a puree out of it and keep. Mix in the asparagus puree into the milk mixture and cook for a few minutes. Add the cream into this and season it. Serve hot garnished with croutons made out of bread.

Grilled tuna with buttered <17,3m,0m><18>rice

Tuna fish fillets - 200 gm

Garlic chopped - 10 gm Olive oil - 30 ml Salt to taste Pepper to taste Dill leaves - 5 gm Long grain rice - 50 gm Butter - 100 gm Lemon - 3

Method: Buy the fresh tuna and debone and cut the fillet into 200 gm. Marinate the tuna fillet with chopped garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil for half an hour. Meanwhile, wash and boil the long grain rice till done. Heat the griller and cook the tuna till it is done, and keep aside. Heat some butter in a pan and fry the cooked rice along with chopped dill leaves and add seasoning according to taste.

Arrange the buttered rice on a plate and keep the tuna fish on top of the rice and serve hot. For sauce, heat the remaining butter and add lemon juice and seasoning. Serve hot along with the grilled tuna.

Chicken in red wine sauce

Chicken - l kg Shallots - 50 gm Onions - 100 gm Mushroom - 100 gm Brandy - 30 ml Red wine - half litre Salt to taste Pepper to taste Garlic - 5 gm Bouquet garni Butter - 100 gm

Method: Dice the chicken and marinate the chicken with salt, pepper powder and herbs. Heat a saucepan, add a little oil and sear the chicken, set aside. Sautee the shallots, add diced onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms, toss in the chicken and flamb� it with brandy. Let it get reduced, then pour in the red wine and let it simmer for few minutes until chicken gets cooked. Finish off with butter and serve hot with herbed rice.

Bouquet Garni: A bunch of herbs used to flavour any dish, it consists of a sprig of parsley, a sprig of thyme and few pieces of bay leaf tied together.

Apple fritters

Batter:

Flour - 250 gm Salt - 5 gm Eggs - 2 Beer - 200 ml Egg whites - 3 Baking powder - a pinch

Method: Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add eggs, add beer and mix till the batter becomes smooth and fluffy. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold into the mixture.

Apples - 4

Juice of one lime

Oil to fry

Method: Core the apples and cut into roundels. Soak it into cognac mixed with lemon juice. Coat the apple slices with batter and deep fry in hot oil.

ELANGO RAJENDRAN

Executive Chef, Radisson GRT Hotel

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