Lunch for six

February 23, 2021

With all the restaurants still closed in France and a six pm curfew enforced, our only option to dine with others is lunch at home, which is limited to six people by the regulations. So we invited two other couples on January 30, 2021.

Linda set the table.

She took our photo with the Champagne apéritif.

I had bought dos de cabillaud at our supermarket. I frequently buy these pieces of cod as they are firm and have a light fishy flavor which can easily be enhanced.

I topped them with anise seed, anchovy filets, tomato sauce and parsley leaves..

Then I folded a sheet of brick around each one. Brick is of Tunisian origin and can be found in any supermarket in France. It is similar to the filo sheets used in the US, but is dry, easier to store and easier to work with. I brushed the brick with oil as I folded. Each packet was oiled on top and decorated with black sesame seeds.

Ten minutes before serving I put the pan in a hot oven.

I also steamed some little Asian dumplings to add interest alongside the cod packets.

We enjoyed a bottle of Condrieu with the first course. No one was in a hurry and we were having a good time.

For the main course I had started early, braising in the oven some purple artichoke quarters in olive oil with garlic and a star anise. (These artichokes are available most of the year at our vegetable stand, but are unknown in the US; this seems like a good available market opportunity.)

I also sautéed pieces of a sweet red pepper.

When entertaining one other couple, I like to roast a chicken on the electric spit in our oven. But that does not work when we are six. I figured that a version of arroz con pollo could be prepared in advance and just served from the oven. So I bought six chicken thighs. I tossed them in a bag with flour and a fennel rub and sautéed them in olive oil in two batches. The skin was nice and crisp.

In the same pan I then sautéed sausage chunks, lardons and garlic.

I added rice and sprinkled on saffron threads.

I stirred in the artichokes and peppers. The chicken was arranged on top. When the first course cod packets came out of the oven, I put in the pan.

With the pan full, serving was a little more awkward that I thought it would be so I just put the chicken on the plates and scooped the rest on top, making sort of a pollo sorpresa. The flavors worked well together.

With this course and the cheese we had two bottles of 1997 Les Pagodes de Cos, the second wine of Château Cos D’Estournel.

For the cheese Linda had bought fresh fig bread.

There was a firm sheeps milk cheese, a Saint Marcellin and a Saint Félicien.

In France there is a custom for Epiphany, much promoted by the patisseries, of the Gâteau des Rois, or Three Kings cake. The period for it extends through January. The tradition in our area is for a sweet brioche ring topped with candied fruits. But we prefer the northern frangipane version. A sweet almond-flavored custard is baked in puff pastry. Inside the cake is a fève, originally a dried bean, but now a little ornament. Whoever finds the fève is crowned king or queen with the gold paper crown that always comes with the cake.

Michèle cut the cake. Linda found the fève, but I did not get a photo of her with the crown.

And so we enjoyed a lovely afternoon with our friends. I hope that you enjoyed my sharing it with you.


3 Responses to “Lunch for six”

  1. Jerry Vance Says:

    Great meal as good as any 5 star!

  2. Lowspark Says:

    King’s Cake hurrah! I enjoy it from Eclair on E.52nd St. near 2nd Ave. Thank you for sharing this very lovely dinner.

  3. shirleyfmccoy Says:

    Looks like your’re both doing well. We missed getting a King Cake this year, we like the New Orleans pastry version of finding the baby, no crown. Would have loved to see Linda in the crown The meal looks delicious, nice center decor for the farm girl😉.

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