Stuffed chicken thighs and Japanese pearls

Sometimes I just make up a dish based on the ingredients I happen to have at hand. So it was here when I had planned to make a chicken broth of leftover bones and carcasses I had kept in the freezer. I had bought some chicken thighs to add to the stock but the broth went well enough without the fresh meat.

In the fridge, I had a jar of Sicilian citrus jelly – cédrat – brought by a friend, while in the larder I still had a broken package of “Japanese pearls”, tiny beads of manioc and some Piment d’Espelette – Basque peppers. That brought me to the following very nice and delicate dish.

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Goatfish filets with lime

From September to the end of the year, French market fishmongers  offer a brightly coloured red/orange fish called “Rouget’ (the red one), which is in fact a name for various types of fish.

The larger ones are the red mullet that are fished in the ocean in big nets. There are also smaller sized fishes, “rouget barbet” (the red bearded one), the size of a goldfish, which are rockfish such as the surmullet.

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Pan-roasted burbot tails with smoked ham

Yes, burbot. Aka Mariah, freshwater ling, coney-fish.

It is a very old species with a kind of spine instead of bones, as well as a rather large mouth, and does not win beauty prizes.

On French market stalls you find it already skinned, gutted and beheaded in appetising white parts.

The burbot lives in fresh or brackish water, such as river estuaries, and it looks like the salt-water monkfish, than lives further out in sea from the river mouth. The tails of the monkfish are also sold in France as “lotte”, just for confusion. Continue reading Pan-roasted burbot tails with smoked ham

Pasta with snails

Here in France we eat snails. Not alive, but pre-cooked. You can buy them in jars and on a recent journey in the Creuse I had bought one from a local producer.

The jar sat in the fridge for several weeks and I needed to come up with a plan to use them.

The classic way to eat snails is to cook them and put them back in their shells with a garlic-and-parsley butter. I did not want to use butter, as it is fat, and did not have shells. Continue reading Pasta with snails

Because food is more than fuel for the body