Pan Bagnat


A specialty of the Cote d’Azure, particularly around the Nice area, it was originally a dinner for the poor fishermen. Made from available ingredients (tuna, capers, anchovies, tomatoes, onions, olives, eggs and stale bread), it was quick and easy to make.

The version today, which is close to the original, was made by the good people of „America’s Test Kitchen“, which I only discovered a few months ago and have come to respect for their accuracy and love of authenticity. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Q_6yJeWMk&t=471s

I stayed close to the recipe, but had to make it smaller to not have to eat it 3 days in a row. I did, however, make the herb/onion mix for a full recipe – now I have some left over 🙂 .

To make this best ever tuna sandwich, first buy a really good (authentic) baguette or ciabatta. If you get a baguette (18 inches long), cut it apart lengthwise and remove most of the soft bread from the bottom part. Give it a quick brush of olive oil and toast it for a couple of minutes in the broiler unit of your oven.

Next, prepare the „Nicoise salad“: 1 medium red onion, finely sliced, 3 tbs red wine vinegar added, a garlic clove grated into the mix to marinate for a while to soften the onion. In a food processor, use half a cup of parsley, 2 tbs fresh marjoram, 3 tbs capers, 3 anchovies, half a cup of pitted olives (Calamata, in my case), a twist of black pepper and 1/3 cup of olive oil and give the processor enough pulses to chop into small pieces without making a paste. Mix with the red onion and garlic, add 2 tbs of dijon mustard, then combine everything. Place a good amount into the bottom piece of bread.

Then the tuna is added to the bread. I had bought some high class albacore in olive oil just to try it out. It was very white and very good. One even more exclusive idea would be to take some fresh tuna and to fry it until barely done and use that instead.

The next step is to add the tomato(es). I needed just one. I cored it and cut it into fine slices. To reduce the amount of liquids, I used a paper towel to dry the tomato slices.

Eggs are also necessary for this sandwich. I cooked 2 eggs for 10 minutes, peeled them and let them cool off a bit before slicing them.

To make sure the flavors meld well, put some more of the Nicoise mixture on top.

Add the top and you’re done!

Well, actually the folks at America’s test kitchen recommend wrapping it with Saran wrap and compressing it with something heavy (a dutch oven, in their case) for am hour.

I didn’t do that, but I did slice it to expose the inside view.

This tuna sandwich was without a doubt the most delicious one I’ve ever had!

Guinea Fowl Roast Potatoes Brussels Sprouts Red Wine Sauce Blue Berries Cranberries


I went shopping at my Go to Butcher in Pforzheim, Mr. Zorn, who has built a 4 pronged business around the original butchery he inherited from his father. He now has a gourmet shop, a place to serve hungry workers in the area with fast snacks and warm daily specials at an affordable price (main courses typically go for €6.50, about $7.00), a restaurant supplier and a wholesale outlet for larger entities.

The Guinea fowl came from a chicken and fowl farm in Alsace, France, that is only about 30 miles away from where we are. This farm also produces Label Rouge produce, which is the highest standard for chicken and other feathered animals worldwide.

Anyway, I separated the parts of the Guinea fowl and sautéed it in butter, browning it in the process. Taking it out of the pan and resting it on a plate, I added a soffrito of celery (stalks), red pepper, and onion (and a clove of garlic), and browned it before adding half a bottle of red Burgundy. After it had cooked a bit, I added a cup of water and kept reducing it, adding salt, pepper, a bay leaf and some thyme.

In the meantime, the brussels sprouts were cooked in salt water until slightly underdone, then removed and splashed with cold water to preserve the color, and potatoes were peeled, quartered, cooked and roasted in butter with the brussels sprouts when everything was ready to be served.

Some dried blueberries as well as some cranberries were added to the sauce, which had been reduced and strained to remove all the solids. These berries sweetened and thickened the sauce a bit.

Guinea fowl is more gamey than chicken, the meat looks more like duck (in terms of redness), but tastes different. The sides are very standard, but tasty, owing the sauce the star quality. It was very good, tasted like Christmas or Thanksgiving and was easy to make. Since I had a whole bird, I didn’t need any stock, I just cooked the carcass (in smaller pieces, with the soffrito, wine and water, about 25 minutes).

So, if you want to try something slightly different and can lay your hands on a guinea fowl, give it a try – its worth it 🙂

Acquacotta


This wonderful soup from Tuscany caught my attention when I was watching a video on youtube by the very competent folks from America’s Test Kitchen. These people know what they are doing! Here is the link if you want to avoid my droning 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPMxxuzJJNw&t=3s

The soup, which is vegetarian and could probably be vegan, is a great example of Italian or Tuscan ingenuity when using products available to the citizens there.

First, one needs to make a sofrito: In my case (and I halved the recipe on America’s Test Kitchen) I used three short stalks about 4 inches long of celery, 1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic. I pulsed these vegetables in a food processor until they were very small and slowly fried them and 1/2 tsp chili flakes in some olive oil until they produced an aromatic fond on the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. I pulsed a can of tomatoes without their skins until they were also very small, but not smooth. This tomato puree was added to the pot next and stirred from time to time until reduced enough to show a line when going through the pot with a wooden spoon.

Next, I added a jar (450 ml) of chicken broth and some rind from a piece of Pecorino Romano. I understand the original recipe used water, and I’m sure it would also work 🙂 Right after the chicken broth was added, I cut fennel fronds from a bulb and set them aside. Then I diced the bulb in 1/2 inch pieces and added that to the pot for 10 minutes.

After that, I chopped parsley to make a quarter cup and added it to the fennel fronds. The last herb to be added was oregano. The video recommends fresh oregano, but I came up empty today and used some Mexican oregano I recently purchased. It worked very well.

After that, I added half a head of escarole (Endiviensalat in German). It is slightly bitter and is usually served as a salad in Germany, with a mustard based dressing as a favorite. I chopped this salad into 1 inch squares, washed it well and added it to the pot. Along with the escarole, I added the canellini beans (from a can), reserving the liquid and mixing an egg yolk with it, to thicken the soup later on. After another 10 minutes, the escarole was done and I added the egg mixture, turned off the heat and added the herbs.

To finish the dish, I toasted a piece of rye bread and placed it at the bottom of the soup plate. The original recipe uses stale bread and olive oil, but this was the best I could do.

Then, I ladled some soup over the bread and topped it with some grated Pecorino. Wow!

This soup was one of the best soups I have ever eaten, I couldn’t stop at one and ate another plate right after the first one. With the second plate, I remembered the video recommended some lemon juice and I added some. It made the dish even better.

This soup is easy to make, inexpensive and quick (40 minutes).

You will need:

  • 1 stalk of celery, in half inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • some fennel fronds
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 escarole
  • 1 can of canellini beans
  • egg yolk/bean fluid
  • 1 rind of Pecorino
  • some grated Pecorino
  • stale bread/olive oil

Gulasch Knödelscheiben Grüne Bohnen Steinpilze


Das Fleisch für das Gulasch kam wieder von Zorn und war ein Stück aus der hohen Rippe (Rib roast). Das hatte ich vorher noch nicht. Es war ein ausgezeichnetes Fleisch, teilweise durchwachsen, mit einem 1 cm dicken Fettstrang der durch die Mitte lief und natürlich herausgeschnitten werden musste.

Das Fleisch wurde in 3x3x3cm Stücke geschnitten, scharf angebraten, es wurden 2 Zwiebeln in Würfel geschnitten und mit angebraten, dann einen guten El Tomatenmark dazu, angeschwitzt und mit 1/4l Rotwein abgelöscht. Ich habe den Wein eingekocht und etwa 200 ml Kalbsfond dazu gegeben. Danach liess ich das Gulasch ganz langsam köchelnd 2 Stunden auf dem Herd.

Die grünen Bohnen bereitete ich vor und gab sie in einen Topf mit gesalzenem Wasser und kochte sie auf. Ich probierte ein paar Mal, um den perfekten Gargrad nicht zu verpassen (etwa 10 Minuten), schreckte sie dann mit kaltem Wasser ab, um die schöne Farbe zu fixieren und schwenkte sie später in heisser Butter, um sie wieder aufzuwärmen.

Die Semmelknödelscheiben hab ich aus Semmelknödeln geschnitten, die ich gestern machte. Die waren zwar leider nicht so schön, aber ich hab sie aus Grundzutaten hergestellt. Das Rezept hatte ich von der Verpackung:

  • 250g Semmelknödelbrot
  • 1/4l warme Milch
  • Prise Salz
  • Prise Pfeffer
  • 30g geschmolzene Butter
  • 1 Zwiebel
  • 3 Eier
  • Petersilie

Zuerst werden Brotwürfel mit der lauwarmen Milch verrührt, dann 10 Minuten stehen gelassen. Danach Zwiebel schälen und klein würfeln und weich dünsten und mit der Petersilie unterheben. Salzen und pfeffern und mit 3 Eiern verrühren (ich hatte Größe L, ich glaube Größe M wäre besser gewesen). Weitere 10 Minuten warten, dann mit nassen Händen 6 Kugeln formen und in kochendes Wasser geben. Die Hitze sofort herunter drehen und 15 Minuten ziehen lassen.

Ich hatte ein paar Scheiben aus den Kugeln herausgeschnitten und in Butter schön angebraten.

In einer weiteren Pfanne briet ich die frisch vom Markt geholten Steinpilze an, die übrigens sehr aromatisch waren.

Heute war das ein gutes Gericht – aromatisches Fleisch, tolle Sauce, knackiges Gemüse, schöne Semmelknödelscheiben und leckere Pilze. Herbst/Winter pur!