While the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to restrict international travel, it isn’t stopping people from bringing a flair of France into their homes – through food!
Until it is permitted to hop on board an Air France flight directly to fabulous France, some of South Africa’s greatest culinary maestros share some of their favourite traditional French recipes to help bring the magic of France into your own home.
David Higgs’ Seabass With Lentil Curry And Pickled Cucumber
David Higgs reveals that he is massively influenced by both French cuisine and technique and one of his favourite French recipes is a seabass paired with lentil curry and pickled cucumber. David admits that he loves using Seabass when whipping up French-inspired cusine and admits that the fish has the opportunity to deliver some exquisite flavours. This recipe can also be found in his cookbook ‘Mile 8: A Book About Cooking.’
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
640g seabass – filleted, skin on
salt and pepper
lemon zest – for sprinkling
1 onion – finely chopped
1 carrot – finely grated
2 cloves garlic – grated on a microplane
5g ground cumin
3g mustard seeds
2 tomatoes – skin removed and finely chopped
8g wet seafood masala
5g brown sugar
350g brown lentils – cleaned
200ml tomato juice
250ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper – to season
lemon – for squeezing
200ml rice wine vinegar pickle
2 cucumbers – peeled and seeded
32 sprigs micro coriander – 4 per serving
72 small fennel blossoms – 9 per serving
- Cut the filleted seabass into 80g portions; do not remove the skin. Grill the fish skin side down first and turn when the flesh begins to change from translucent to white. Season with salt and pepper and finish with lemon zest.
- Fry the onions, carrot and garlic until translucent. Add the spices and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the finely chopped tomatoes, seafood masala, brown sugar, lentils, tomato juice and vegetable stock. Cover with a cartouche (paper or silicone lid). Simmer slowly for 1 hour until the curry sauce thickens slightly, but be careful not to overcook the lentils – they should be soft but remain whole. Adjust seasoning if necessary and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Allow to cool, and then refrigerate for a day before serving – curries develop flavour as they stand. Warm the curry gently in a pot as needed.
- Pour the cold pickling liquid into a vacuum bag. Add the cucumber and vacuum seal. Refrigerate and leave for 24–36 hours. Remove the cucumber from the vacuum bag and slice into ribbons on a mandolin or use a peeler.
- To assemble, arrange each plate as you wish, or by following the photo. Spoon 45g warm lentil curry onto each plate. Place the seabass on top of the lentils. Position 2 ribbons of the cold cucumber pickle beside the curry, and garnish with 4 sprigs micro coriander and 9 fennel blossoms.
Chilli Chocolate Chefs’ Creamy Prawn Bisque
Prawns are often used in French cuisine and this delicious recipe from the Chilli Chocolate Chefs is packed with French flavour in an easy and delicious dish that will certainly transport you to the fine dining restaurants Paris is famous for.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
2 tblsp. Butter
1 tblsp. Crushed Garlic
1 tsp. Dried Mixed Herbs
1 Carrot, grated
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs Thyme
250g Prawns, shelled & deveined
30ml Tomato Paste
Crushed Black Pepper
2 tblsp. Butter
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper
2 tsp. Crushed Garlic
- Heat the butter in a pot.
- Add in the carrots, onions & cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, thyme & mixed herbs & cook for a few minutes.
- Add in ¾ of the prawns, tomato paste, water & simmer for 15 minutes.
- Blend the mix in a food processor until smooth & creamy.
- Place back in the pot & add the cream.
- Season with Salt & Black Pepper.
- For the garnish… Heat the oil in a frying pan & fry the remaining prawns with butter, garlic, lemon pepper & parsley.
- Spoon the soup into the bowls & top with the garlic prawns.
Drizzle with cream & ideally serve with pesto puffs.
Chilli Chocolate Chefs’ Steak with Mustard Butter & French Fries
Bread often plays an important role when it comes to French cuisine and the Chilli Chocolate Boys have curated a way which encompasses both the importance of bread and meat and how the two can complement each other in the most French way possible.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
8 pieces Beef Fillet, thinly sliced (2cm thick)
½ tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Chilli Powder
1 tsp. Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
1 loaf Ciabatta Bread
Ingredients: For the Mustard Butter
1 tblsp. Butter
1 tsp. Wholegrain Mustard
1 Loaf Ciabatta Bread
Method: For the Mustard Butter
Mash together the butter with the wholegrain mustard.
- Pat the steaks dry & rub them with salt, black pepper, chilli powder & coriander.
- Toss in olive oil.
- Lightly toast the ciabatta in a light butter & garlic & leave aside.
- Cook the steak on the griddle pan over high heat till well seared on each side.
- Place one piece on the ciabatta bread.
- Top with a blob of mustard butter.
Serve with fries & fresh herbs.
* Recipes sourced by That Food Guy.