Viva La France at Figue Mediterranean

Lisa and I celebrated our tenth anniversary by dining at Figue.  All summer long Figue has been visiting various countries as part of a staycation program.  July is all about France.  Our bar is featuring various hors d’oeuvres typically found in Parisian wine bars that our bartenders have created French inspired cocktails to pair with; Celeste our Sommelier has picked a wide range of great French wines, we have a special Bastille Day celebration planned and all month long we are featuring a Brasserie styled menu loaded with all the classics of French cooking.  That’s what brought me in.  Good old fashioned French food.  Comfort food.

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We started with two flutes of Champagne and a plate of Beausoleil Oysters from Eastern Canada.

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We ordered a bottle of La Fleur Gazin and moved onto to Duck Galantine with Housemade Pickles followed by grilled Onglet (hangar steak) frites with Bearnaise and Short Rib Bourguignonne.

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The steak frites were unbelievable.  I never have understood why people like filets so much.  They have a terrible consistency and almost no flavor in comparison to a rib eye or hangar.  The short rib Bourguinonne melted in my mouth and sang with the wine.

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Next we had the Chocolate Pots de Creme.  Rich, deep chocolate yumminess!

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Next was a trio of mignardises to nibble on with my cappuccino.  All together it was a great meal.  I hate saying that about my own food because I am really not egotistical.  I love French comfort food as it is what I grew up eating.  Please come and visit us this month at http://www.EatFigue.com

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Bourride… Bouillabaisse’s Troubled Cousin

Chicago Social 04

 

Ah, I am going to piss off family members and bouillabaisse purists with this one.  Bourride is bouillabaisse’s troubled cousin.  Try referencing food dictionaries and you’ll see as many different versions as there are books.  Some claim the only true Bourride is made solely with monkfish in a white creamy sauce, possibly flavored with crushed fish liver and others add saffron and orange.  I once had a prominent French Chef taste my bourride and tell me it was good, but not a true bourride.  I started making Bourride at the behest of a lawyer/book dealer friend of mine at ‘le Margaux’ way back in 1993.  He told me it was one of his favorite dishes and asked if I ever made it.  I don’t know why I lied, but I did.  I said with utmost confidence that it was a specialty of mine and of course, I would be delighted to make it for him whenever he could get in, hoping that day would be far off enough for me to make it a few times.  He made a reservation for the next night and was bringing twelve of his closest friends to indulge.  Panic snuck in as I combed through various cook books trying to find at least two books corroborating the recipe.  When I failed in that I figured the oldest book I had probably was the closest to a true Bourride.  I settled on the version written in 1938 in the first edition of the Larousse Gastronomique.  I followed the three paragraph recipe with my mother’s indifference to measurement and impressed the twelve top.  Over the years I have continued to make Bourride and think of my friend every time.  If you want to try my saffron and orange version come on out to Figue Mediterranean in La Quinta, California and I’ll be happy to make it for you!

Bourride 1995

 

Bourride│ Provencal Seafood Stew, St. Pierre, Scallops, Mussels, Clams, Saffron Orange Brodo, Rouille

Chef François de Mélogue

 

Ingredients for four servings:

12                                Cockles

12                                Mussels

4                                  Scallops

1 #                              St. Pierre

½  head                    Fennel

1 large                       Onion

1 large                       Carrot

1 large                       Tomatoes

2 T.                              Pernod

loads of                     Garlic

2 c.                             White Wine

1 quart                      Shellfish Stock

1 c.                             Orange Juice

2 t.                               Saffron threads

1 c.                             Olive Oil

1                                  fresh Bay Leaf

2 T.                              fresh Thyme

1/4 c.                         fresh Basil

2                                  Egg Yolks

to taste                      Sea Salt

to taste                      White Pepper

4 large                       Potatoes

8                                  Garlic Croutons

1 c.                             Rouille

 

Mise en Place

  1. Carefully wash the cockles and mussels to remove any sand or grit. De – beard mussels.  Place all your seafood into a non-reactive pan.  Chop fennel tops and spread over seafood.  Add 3/4 c. olive oil, 1 T. Pernod, pinch of saffron, and lots of chopped garlic.  Marinate for six hours.
  2. Julienne fennel bulb, onion, carrots, and tomato, then sauté in olive oil.
  3. Add remaining Pernod and white wine.
  4. When it starts to simmer, add shellfish stock, more garlic, orange oil, saffron, bay leaf, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.

 

To Order

  1. Add seafood; cook till they are just done.
  2. Put seafood into a serving terrine.  Whisk yolks and one cup of Rouille into cooking liquid, and then pour over fish.
  3. Serve with boiled potatoes, garlic crouton, and Rouille.

Bourride from Chicago Magazine 2004