The summer season has begun at Gretchen’s Cooking School, so we’re back in the kitchen doing our usual chopping, serving and washing. In honor of Bastille Day, our friend Peter Belknap put together a menu of Parisian delights.
The first course was a composed salad of lettuce, endive, julienned vegetables, sweetened walnuts, apples and marinated sausage, topped with fresh gougères. It made the customers swoon, which isn’t bad for a salad. Someone even said it was the best salad she’d ever had!
For the second course Peter had me help him put together little mushroom galettes. Each one started as a round of pie dough with a spoonful of cream cheese mashed with comte and parmesan set in the middle, then topped with a savory mushroom mixture. Then we pleated up the sides so they made little open-topped globes on the baking sheet, and baked them at high heat. Oh my, these were good, especially with a sprinkle of chopped herbs and a squeeze of lemon (he had been going to serve these with herbed whipped cream, but the lemon was a wise choice).
It was hard to think about more food after the galette, but there was a third course: pork tenderloin steaks cooked with tons of black pepper (crushed by J with much difficulty and pounding with a meat tenderizer), and combined with port-soaked prunes, flambéed cognac and cream, served with appallingly buttery mashed potatoes with a hint of nutmeg. Whoo-ee!
I actually don’t think we ate anything this good in Paris. Can’t wait for his Riviera class!