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Posts Tagged ‘Creme fraiche’

Scallops – Coquilles St. Jacques in French – are one of the family specials. In proper form, the ingredients are few: scallops, butter, cream, and parsley…

The night I arrived in my family’s village supper was from 8pm till 12:30am, and even so, we had to pry ourselves away before coffee was offered because I was so tired!

We began with soticot (tiny shrimp that were caught by one of my relatives), escargots, fresh crab… then a soup, a roast chicken, some cheese, dessert…  and so this recipe continues on the seafood theme that we live by here.

Ingredients – serves 4 as an appetizer

-16 – 20 scallops, sliced in half if they are large
-8 sprigs parsley, minced
-2 Tbsp butter
-1/2 cup crême fraiche

Directions

Wash and slice the scallops in half if they are large. Heat butter until it bubbles, over medium heat to sear each side for 3 minutes or so until they are golden-brown, and then simmer for a couple more minutes until they are gently cooked through. Add parsley, and cream. Melt cream over low heat over the scllops (avoid making it boil as it curdles). Serve with baguette crisps or other crisp bread, and a glass of dry white wine.

Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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I had a love/hate relationship with dairy when I lived in France.  The French are very serious about their dairy products: whole aisles in superstores are dedicated to yoghurt, and the cheese section was often larger than the fresh produce section.  While I loved the infinite yogurt choices (Canada really needs to get on producing rhubarb and cappuccino yogurt!) and the tasty cheese (nothing makes a tomato-based pasta shine like freshly grated Parmesan), I avoided their milk like the plague. The “low-fat” milk was often creamier than whole milk and it just tasted slightly funny.  I quickly discovered, however, the beauty of crème fraiche.

Crème fraiche has twice the butterfat as sour cream, without the sourness.  It is a delight to use because it does not curdle and is surprisngly versatile. A spoonful added to any sauce infuses a delicious creaminess, while crème fraiche served with fresh berries and sugar is just divine.

This week, I had a craving for creamy  mushroom pasta.  With crème fraiche sadly unavailable in my local Halifax superstore, I resorted to using full-fat sour cream.  To avoid curdling, I made sure to cool the sauce before adding the sour cream.  This is one of my favourite comfort foods, taking less than 20 minutes to cook.   While the sour cream substitute was almost as good as its French cousin, I am still searching for crème fraiche in Canada!


Creamy Mushroom Linguine

(about 3 dinner-size portions)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound whole-wheat linguine

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

Thyme

1 pound of mushrooms, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

Large splash of cooking sherry

Salt and pepper

Dash of Tobasco

About 1/4 cup crème fraiche (or substitute sour cream)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil.  When transluscent, sprinkle in the thyme.  Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and red pepper and saute until soft.  Add the sherry and cook for two more minutes.  Season with the salt and pepper and tobasco.

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two, before adding the crème fraiche.  Add the drained linguine to the frying pan and stir to coat the pasta evenly. Before serving, sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Delicious with a bitter green salad.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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