Part I – Sunday Chez Parret
Before I went to the U.S., I was renewing my love affair with Jamie Oliver’s magazine and was especially dazzled by one of his featured chefs, Gennaro Contaldo http://cookinginsens.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/doing-jamie-gennaro-contaldos-italian-rack-of-lamb/.
The Dog from Mad Dog TV Dinners http://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/, was caring enough to give me a link to a TV show that featured Contaldo and another chef, Antonio Carluccio. No big fan of cooking shows, I dutifully slogged through the first part of the show. If Mad took the time to send me the link, it was the least I could do! In about the middle of the show, Antonio Carluccio cooked a fish soup that was so real and appetizing that I knew I just had to make it and eat it with my favorite people! Thanks Dog!
Thierry, the bringer of all good things and, today, a new plate and bowl. M. Parret, who is M. Parret, the cat caretaker and the patron of 4 Americans. Antoine, who brought me flowers. We all came together to talk, drink and eat hard. Les experts, quoi ;)
Pacing ourselves, we began with a little charcuterie. Antoine brought the Rully wine and it was very, very good!
To protect their Sunday shirts from the stray dribble, M. Parret and Thierry tucked in napkins, while Antoine wisely went to the kitchen for a bib apron. So sorry I only noticed the apron at the end and missed a memorable shot :)
I couldn’t resist serving my portion of fish soup in Thierry’s soup plate gift. With the soup I served homemade garlic croutons to thicken and enhance the broth’s flavor. Worked :)
We had more wine, only different, fruitier. M. Parret has a wonderful courtyard with an outdoor summer kitchen and a good sized table with umbrella. In good weather you can not beat it for ambiance. That’s why we always eat here :) Unfortunately, his tablecloth and umbrella put paid to white balance. So that’s why.
M. Parret served a lovely lettuce with vinaigrette but, encouraged by the absence of Etienne (the salad/cheese course police), I saved mine to have with cheese.
Of course the cheese was wonderful and it provided an opportunity for the obligatory finger picture, this time two fingers. I am convinced that it has to be some well hidden French superstition about photography, like “finger in, you won’t sin”? Something like that. No need to be ashamed French people! We have stuff like that too :D
M. Parret was very proud of his dessert of vanilla flan. It was good too!
Part II – Fresh Fish
Of course, Carluccio’s soup would have been impossible without a visit to ye ole fishmonger, L’Ambiance des Halles.
I always want to buy everything but limited myself to sea bass, shrimp, scallops, monkfish and a small seabream for the stock.
I wanted rockfish for the stock but there just wasn’t one small enough. So I made do and it was fine. However, it does look as if I need to adjust the temperature in my garage refrigerator :)
Just 12 minutes of poaching and I had a nice rich stock and perfect, flakey fish.
Antonio Carluccio’s Fish Soup
Make the stock
1 large onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red chilli, sliced
1 tsp dried fennel
1 cup red wine
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 quart water
1 small fish, preferably rockfish
1 small bunch parsley leaves
Fry the onion, chilli and garlic in the olive oil until the onion begins to soften. Add the fennel and continue to fry for about a minute. Add the red wine and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and water. Put the fish inside with the parsley, cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the fish is easily removed from the bone. Take the fish from the pot, remove the bones and skin, set aside and reserve the meat.
Make the soup
1 lb monkfish, cut into chunks
1 lb sea bass, cut into chunks
1 lb prawns
1 lb scallops
Salt and pepper
At about 2 minute intervals, add the fish to the simmering broth, 1) monkfish 2) sea bass 3) prawns 4) reserved fish meat 5) scallops.
Season with salt and pepper and cook until the scallops are just done.
Wine suggestion: Rully