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Regional French Cuisine

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Regional French Cuisine


Lesson booklet



Name: ___________________.



Cuisine de Maxim’s

Canoe Island, Summer 2009

Chef David Amar, Carla grahn


Bread making.



-       1 Tbsp of flour

-       1 Tbsp of sugar

-       2 cups of lukewarm water, (110° F)

-       1 Tbsp of yeast

-       1 Tbsp of salt

-       High gluten Flour


Step 1: waking up the yeast.


Mix together the 3 first ingredients with a whisk attachment, speed 2 to homogenize it. Sprinkle the yeast on top and Cover the bowl with a wet cloth to protect from the sun and keep it from drying. Set apart for 10 min.


Step 2: making of the dough, and first kneading.


Using a kneading Hook and speed 1, Add progressively enough flour until the dough is firm and plump, not sticky to the touch, and bound back when pressed on. Knead now on speed 2 for 5 min to force air into it. Cover with a wet cloth to protect from the sun and keep it from drying. Set apart for 1 hour to rise.


Step 3: Second kneading, second rising.


Place back on the machine after pushing dough down and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the salt; knead on speed 2 for 5 min to renew air in the dough so that the yeast can breathe. Cover with a wet cloth to protect from the sun and keep it from drying. Set apart for 1 hour to rise.


Step 4: shaping and baking.


Shape (2 inch round) baguettes and with a very sharp knife cut diagonal marks on them, set them in a perforated baguette mold if you have. Place water in an ovenproof container in the lowest shelf of the oven.


Bake at 500° F until cooked




Regional French Cuisine

“La Ratatouille”

For 4 to 6 people



1 big yellow onion, diced or minced.

2 zucchini halved in the length and sliced.

1 big eggplant, Quartered, and cut to about 1” cubes.

1 can of diced tomatoes.

1 green pepper quartered and minced.

1 red pepper quartered and minced.

5 cloves of garlic smacked and minced.

Pepper, salt, Herbes the Provence, to taste.


In a braising or stock pot with a thick bottom, sauté the onion and peppers in olive oil. Then add the rest of vegetables and tomatoes, add the condiments then.

Cover and let the vegetable render their juices on low heat for an hour, give it a stir every 15 min.





After an hour or when the vegetables have rendered, uncover and reduce. Give it a stir every 15 min.



Daube Provençale

4 to 6 people



I pound of beef chuck roll, diced about a I” cube.

Ox tail or neck bones; and/or a veal foot. For flavor.

1 cup of chopped bacon, smoked or not.

A piece of orange bark studded with cloves.

A bay leaf, salt, pepper, herbes de Provence, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg.

4 medium size carrots, 1 big onion. Sliced and diced

A Côtes de Provence red, or Côtes du Rhône.

A can of diced tomatoes,

Black olives

5 cloves of garlic, smacked

A dozen of sliced button or crimini mushroom (optional).


Techniques: There are two very traditional way to make Daube, both equally good.


Technique one:

·         Marinate all the ingredient overnight, then cook them for 6h on low flame.

·         Add liquid if needed, (broth, water, wine).



Technique two:

·         Sauté meat, onion, carrot, bones, until slight browning.

·         Deglaze with tomatoes and wine until it covers it all.

·         Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low flame for 6 hours.

·         Add liquid if needed, (broth, water, wine).



USE a heavy braising pan with a heavy lid. The best is cast iron with a cast iron lid or cast aluminum alloy with glass lid. A stainless stock pot/braising pot with a thick bottom works well too.







Gratin Dauphinois

You will never find two identical recipes for gratin dauphinois.

Every family in the Dauphiné area, every French cooking book, has its own version for this classical potato gratin. Some call for egg and milk and are oftentimes more quiche-like, others for cinnamon, etc…

Here’s my favorite, the one my Mom makes and the one I asked to eat every single of my birthday.



2# of starchy potatoes, russet or Yukon gold.

6 cups, heavy cream.


2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper.

Emmental or Gruyere.


Peel and slice the potatoes very thinly (chips like) using a mandolin for efficiency.

Place the slices on the vertical in an oven dish (Pyrex, earthenware or enameled cast iron). In a bowl place the grated cheese, cream, crushed garlic, and spices, beat it lightly. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and wait for it to fill every little gap.

Place the dish in the oven with a foil covering it. Oven T°= 330°F.

After about 1.5 hour the potatoes are getting really soft, and the cream and the starch are interacting into a thick ‘’flan’’. Uncover the dish and let the top getting a nice gold/brown color.




Petoncles en sauce d’hiver.

Bay Scallops in winter sauce.




4 cups of heavy cream

4 cups of bay scallops

1 cup of button mushrooms

1 cup of diced Bartlett pear

1 cup of smoked ham

½ cup of Roquefort (crumbled)

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

1 bunch of parsley (chopped)


Preparation ≈ 30 min, Difficulty: medium to easy.


In a stainless steel with a heavy bottom or a cast iron pan, sear the mushrooms, ham and pears. When browning, deglaze with the cream and add the garlic. Reduce for a while at high temperature so the cream gets a nice ochre color then add the blue cheese. Stir a little and keep warm on very low heat.


In another similar pan, sear the scallops at high temperature and really fast, no more than a few seconds, so that the inside remains raw and tender.

Put them in a bowl with the parsley and coat them with it.


Just before serving place the sauce in a ramekin and the scallops on top.








Les rillettes.

Rillettes are a French specialty spread, made with confit pulled meat. It can be made from duck, goose or pork. Whatever meat you choose, the recipe is always the same, very simple but time consuming.

Confire in French means to cook at low temperature for a very long time.

For example if you confit fruits in sugar you get jam or Confiture in French



Whatever fibrous cut of meat you want (cheap is great).

An equal amount of clean rendered fat from the same animal (not literally the same animal).

Some bay leaves, crack pepper, sea salt (unless the fat was salted already),

Those are the basics, but you can get fancy and add whatever spice you want, from spice parisienne, to truffles or truffle oil, cognac, port or sherry wine, juniper etc…


So confit chunks of the meat in the fat and the chosen spices for a minimum of 6 hours, until they pull apart easily.

Process lightly. Don’t make it a mush. Keep the fibrous texture; I like to use a potato masher myself.




Duck liver mousse or faux foie gras

Real foie gras is expensive, and oftentimes hard to find in the U.S.

Here’s an easier, cheaper way to reproduce quite closely the taste and texture of a prepared foie gras mousse.



- 1# of duck livers. See your butcher, for Seattle residents; go to Better meat, 305 Northwest 82nd Street, (206) 783-0570.

- ¾# of unsalted butter (3 sticks).

- 2 teaspoons of French market spice “parisienne.”

- 5 oz of whole dried morel mushrooms.

- 2 fl oz of sherry wine, and 2 fl oz of brandy.

- 1 teaspoon of sodium nitrite (pink curing salt), 1 teaspoon of French market spice “truffle salt “and 1 teaspoon of French market spice “fleur de sel”.

- 2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper.


Soak the mushrooms in a little bit of tepid water.

Pan-sear the liver with a little bit of the butter, and the pink salt. When nicely seared, deglaze with the sherry and the brandy and the mushroom water and braise until ¾ of the liquid has reduced.

Put the remaining in a food processor while still warm and add the butter slowly while processing.

At this point add the rest of this ingredients except for 3 of the mushrooms.

The mixture is nice and smooth; pour it into nice molds, and a cup. Cool it in the fridge with no lid so that the steam can escape freely. With the mousse in the cup fill a pastry bag with a fine tip of your choice. Fill the 3 remaining mushrooms and decorate the mousses.






Covering food

Covering food influences the cooking process, encouraging moisture and heat retention and in some cases speeding up the cooking. Covering reduces or prevents food from browning, becoming crisp and forming a skin when baking, roasting or grilling (broiling).


Boiling, simmering, poaching and steaming: When heating food in liquid, covering the pan helps to retain heat and reduce the time taken, for example when bringing liquids to the boil. Covering or part covering a pan in a useful method of fine-tuning the speed at which food cooks as the additional heat retention will encourage slightly faster cooking, for example: encouraging liquid to simmer steadily rather than barely bubble.  When boiling food steadily or rapidly, covering may cause the liquid to froth up and boil over, as when boiling pasta, but part covering can keep cooking water boiling without frothing over, particularly when cooking root vegetables, such as swed or potatoes.  When poaching or cooking food very gently in liquid, particularly fish or chicken, covering the pan will retain sufficient heat to keep the liquid bubbling very gently, just below a steady simmer; this can be difficult to achieve solely by adjusting the temperature setting.  Also, when a small amount of liquid is used and the food is partly submerged, covering the pan prevents the surface of the ingredients from drying.  Steamers have to be covered in order to retain the steam, but some ingredients are steamed in a covered pan.  For example, one method of cooking rice combines steaming with boiling:  once the water boils rapidly, the rice is stirred once, the pan covered tightly, and the heat reduced to the very minimum to reduce evaporation without continued simmering.  The rice cooks by absorbing the water and the condensing steam. 


Sweating and Frying:  Sweating uses the minimum of fat to prevent ingredients such as vegetables from sticking to the pan.  The pan is covered to retain moisture evaporating as the ingredients give up their juices.  This liquid condenses and the ingredients sweat in their own juices.  If the pan isn’t covered the moisture evaporates, the ingredients may become dry and burn.  In general when frying at high temperatures food is not covered.  Moisture evaporating and condensing to fall back into the pan spits as it comes in contact with the hot fat.  This is important when carrying out some deep frying and shallow frying at a high temperature.  However, there are some occasions when covering can assist shallow frying; for example, when frying eggs, covering the pan helps set the whites combing moist and dry cooking methods.  Similarly, items such as chicken breasts filets may be browned on both sides in a little fat, then the pan may be covered to encourage even cooking. 


Roasting and Grilling:  Covering retains heat and moisture in the first stages of roasting to prevent  food from drying out or cooking too quickly near the surface; covering part way through the cooking time prevents over browning.  The cover is removed towards the end of cooking to encourage browning and crisping.  When grilling, foil may be used to cover food for part of the time to prevent burning. 


Baking:  A wide variety of dishes are covered during baking to retain moisture, prevent surface drying, and encourage even cooking.  Pâtés, terrines, casseroles, stews, baked fish, poultry or vegetable dishes, braised and baked fruit are all good examples.  The food may be uncovered towards the end of cooking.  Custards may be covered during baking by laying greased greaseproof (wax) paper directly on the mixture to prevent a skin from forming.  Foods can be wrapped completely in foil or greaseproof paper (en papillote) to retain moisture, flavour and aroma.


Covering food during storage:  Covering or wrapping food during storage prevents it from drying out, discolouring and being tainted with (or tainting other ingredients) odours.  Some foods readily absorb aromas which taint their flavours -butter, milk and cream will quickly take on the flavour of strong ingredients if both are left uncovered in the refrigerator.  Covering food before placing it in the refrigerator also prevents cross contamination by micro-organism fro uncooked to cooked foods.  Food should always be covered when it is set aside on the work surface during preparation or placed on the dining table before a meal to prevent contamination from air-borne micro- organisms and insects.  Food should always be well wrapped before freezing.  Covering also helps to prevent or reduce rancidity promoted by exposure to air.




Knife Skills: Chopping.

Observe the finger position on left hand: tips are retrieved, knuckles against the blade.

The knife is grabbed by the blade not by the handle only.

The tip of the blade stays on the board, chopping happens by sliding the knife up and down, backward to forward









Filet of Idaho Trout Meunière:

For a simple trout recipe that delivers incredible results try Chef David Amar's light and flavorful Idaho trout meunière. Classic and absolutely satisfying, this is one dish for fish that is not only elegant, but easy to make!

Ingredients for 2 people:
- 2 Idaho trout, gutted and fileted, and deboned
- a quarter cup of unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsps. Of capers
- the juice of 2 lemons
- a quarter cup of flour
- salt, pepper.

Butterfly the trout, make an incision with a sharp paring knife all along where the back bone used to be, don’t go all the way through. The two filets of the trout are still attached together, but now they can both stand flat. Repeat this process on the other trout.
Place the butter in a fry pan, on medium heat and let it brown slightly.
Rinse the fish in cold water, and then dry them with paper towel. Place the flour in an entrée plate, and coat the trout with it.
Turn your gas on medium high to high. 
Fry the trout skin side first in the brown butter for 2 minutes, depending on thickness. Flip and fry the other side for a minute.
When both fish are cooked, remove from pan and place on a serving platter with a lip or shallow edges. Notice the cooking juices in the pan; do not discard, no matter what your doctor says, this is where it is getting good.
Lower your heat to medium again then throw in the pan the lemon juice and the capers, pick up all the caramelized stuff with the lemon juice and a whisk or a wooden spoon. This is called deglazing.
Cover the fish with this sauce. It is ready to serve. Enjoy your meal.


This recipe is a French classic usually prepared with Dover sole. To vary the pleasure you can try any of your favorite fish, or even meat like veal or chicken scaloppini.