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Posts posted by Wolfert

  1. Mick, I just happen to have the recipe on my computer.

    Pissaladière Niçoise

    MAKES A 9- × 11-INCH PIE, SERVING 6 TO 8


    his unusual pie is often described as a Provençal pizza. True, the bread dough base is the same as is used in pizzas, but the strong-tasting anchovy-sardine paste (pissala) topping is pure Niçoise. You’ll see squares of pissaladière in bakeshop windows and delis throughout eastern Provence, especially in Nice, where it’s often sold right on the street. Accompanied by a green salad, pissaladière makes a great appetizer or lunch dish, and it reheats beautifully.

    My French friends, when describing this pie, always emphasize a point made in Jacques Médicin’s definitive book La Cuisine du Comte de Nice, that before baking, the onion layer must be exactly half as thick as the yeast dough or, if using a pastry base such as a pâte brisée, should be equally thick.

    In the traditional recipe, the pissala is blended with a thick layer of  long-cooked onions and spread generously over the dough. The pie is decorated with local black olives before baking. The pizza is served hot, warm, or best of all, at room temperature.

    Included in this recipe is another tip, which I learned from the late cookbook author Mireille Johnson, who was born in Nice. For extra flavor, some of the reduced cooking liquid from the onions is added to the dough. So please prepare not only the pastry but the onions a day in advance.


    A 3-quart earthenware or flameware casserole with a lid

    If using an electric or ceramic stovetop, be sure to use a heat diffuser with the clay pot.


    Double slabs of pizza stones or food-safe quarry tiles set on the upper and lower oven racks

    3 pounds red onions, thinly sliced (about 9 cups)

    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 garlic clove, peeled

    3 cloves

    2 bay leaves

    1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

    Onion-Flavored Dough (recipe follows)

    2 tablespoons anchovy paste

    1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

    18 oil-cured anchovy fillets

    18 small black Niçoise olives

    ½ cup semolina or whole-wheat flour for dusting

    12 cherry or grape tomatoes

    ½ teaspoon sugar

    1 One day in advance, prepare the onions and the onion-flavored dough. In an earthenware casserole, combine the sliced red onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic stuck with the cloves, the bay leaves, and the herbes de Provence. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours, or until the onions are meltingly soft and reduced in volume by two-thirds. Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Transfer the hot casserole to a wooden surface or folded kitchen towel to prevent cracking. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a storage container. Pick out and discard the garlic, cloves, and bay leaves. Reserve ½ cup of the oily cooking juices to use in the dough. Let the onion topping cool completely; cover and refrigerate until chilled. (The recipe can be made to this point up to a day in advance.)

    2 Turn the chilled dough out onto a wooden board or other work surface and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. At the same time, preheat the stone- or tile-lined oven to 500°F for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, remove the browned onions from the refrigerator and gently press on them to express their liquid into a small bowl. Mix the anchovy paste,

    2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, and pepper into this liquid. Fold in the onions and set aside at room temperature.

    3 Rinse the anchovy fillets, place in a bowl of water, and soak for about 1 hour. Drain and pat dry. Pit the olives and soak them in a bowl of fresh water. Drain and pat dry.

    4 Dust an 11- × 17-inch jelly roll pan with semolina flour. Place the dough in the center, sprinkle with more of the flour, and press out the dough into a rectangle about 6 by 10 inches. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes. Press out the dough again to enlarge the rectangle, lifting and gently stretching it over your hands from time to time, until it fills the pan. Press the edges up into a ¾-inch ridge all around the pan.

    5 Spread the onions over the dough to within ½ inch of the edge. Decorate the top with the anchovies, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Dust the top with the sugar. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the exposed edges of the dough.

    6 Bake the pissaladière for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the dough is crisp and lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

    Onion-Flavored Dough

    This dough is designed especially for pissaladière, with its lush onion topping. It is best made one day before baking.

    2¼ cups unbleached bread flour (11 ounces)

    ½ teaspoon rapid-rise dry yeast

    1 teaspoon fine salt

    ½ cup oily onion juices from step 1 of the pissaladière

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 In a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Pulse briefly

    to mix.

    2 Place the warm onion juices in a glass measuring cup. Add the olive oil and enough warm water to measure 1 cup. With the machine on, slowly add just enough of the liquid to the flour to form a dough. Continue to process for 15 to 20 seconds, or until the dough forms a smooth ball around the blade.

    3 Turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently into a tight, smooth ball. Pack the dough into a plastic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The dough can be held in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

  2. Ok, I have some time now to participate. Forgive me if I begin with this last posting and not move upwards until I have even more time!!! I promise I will get to you all.

    Trout Head:That tagine of fish looks terrific. Actually, I think it looks as good as the one produced on Martha Stewart's show.

    You probably noticed that the carrots were a little undercooked. That's because Moroccans use them as a barrier against overheating which could overcook the fish. If you did want to serve the carrots, then you might want to steam them in a colander over boiling water for 2 minutes before layering

  3. Welcome Trout Hound to Egullet.

    Thanks for bringing those errors to my attention. Actually, I saw them at the MS studio the day we were shooting the dish and was very upset. I thought that those two and a few other dropped words in other recipes had been fixed before the book went to print. Alas, I was wrong. And I am sorry you had to deal with it as well!

    If this should ever happen again, you the cook have a 'second chance'----the ingredients are listed in the order they are to used.

    You are right! the hot pepper goes in the charmoula and the olives go in just before the bay leaves. By the way, I didn't mention cinnamon. I think I just breathe heavily with excitement when I pronounce the words "Moroccan cumin."

    Don't lose faith in the book. There are a lot of wonderful dishes to be prepared in claypots.


  4. In this daube recipe which is made in a true daubiere, the meat and vegetables are packed and never stirred. Once the sheet of parchment is placed directly on the surface of the meat and vegetables, it stays there until the meat is completely cooked and cooled down. At that point when the paper is lifted, almost all of the fat goes up with it.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Not sure. Wolfert says to do it in the SWF book, and I've just always done it. I think it enables irregularly cut parchment to fit neatly into the dutch oven and allows little areas to accommodate the bubbling. Good question.....

    And you answered it!

    That's the reason I use moistened and crumbled parchment paper---it fits over the food with some wiggle room for a gentle circulation and slow evaporation of moisture, ensuring the proper butter-soft consistency one wants when cooking such foods as stuffed grape leaves, chunks of tough meat, or vegetabes such as artichokes.

    I used to fold and cut cartouches, but when Turkish cooks taught me that a moistened and crumbled piece of parchment paper does the same thing in half the prep time, I jumped for the change.

  6. A little bump on this thread, as I'm in the process of confiting 12 lbs. of Moulard legs.

    I have a couple of questions, and the first one concerns this from Paula in response to a poster who was wondering about the amount of salt to use.

    This is how I've worked it out for my upcoming revision of the FSW

    Note the differences in weight between common salts in the marketplace.

    * 1 tablespoon fine table salt equals 21 grams

    *1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt equals 17 grams

    * 1 tablespoon imported  Maldon sea salt equals 14 grams

    * 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal coarse kosher salt and imported Grey Sea Salt from the Ile de Re  equals 12 grams

    In the new CSF, the recipe for traditional confit is a cure of 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt per pound of duck...or 8 grams per pound...is this a number anyone has used?

    Secondly, I was wondering about storage. Can the legs be sealed (say, 2 to a bag) using a Food Saver and then either refrigerated or frozen?

    Yes, 2 teaspoons kosher salt per pound of trimmed duck leg.

    I have made confit of duck in a food saver bag and kept it a few days, but never longer. A home vacuum packing system, such as food saver, rather than a professional chefs' system is not a hundred percent safe. More sophisticated machines allow chefs to keep refrigerated confit in pouches in the refrigerator for months.

    By the way, if, for whatever reason, a refrigerated pouch of recently cooked confit begins to puff up, discard it at once.

    You can bag confit of duck legs using a food saver, but be sure to freeze it for long term storage.

    If you are worried about the lack of salt, then by all means freeze the confit..

  7. I have another question.  I've got two confit legs, buried in fat that I made a year ago. They smell fine, have no greeny-parts, but I'm a bit nervous about eating them.  Should I eat or toss?  And if I eat them, should I steam them for a while not only to remove the fat but to make sure they're okay?

    For safety, all long stored confit should be heated through before serving, even for dishes to be served cold or at room temperature.

    Simply steam the confit for 10 to 15 minutes, then immediately remove any superfluous fat; place the duck, in a skillet to brown and crisp.

    Steaming makes the flesh of confit silkier.

  8. This is going to date me but here's my little vignette on one of the many reasons French Mustards gave up on the awards: Back in 1983, I happened to be involved with the FM folks via a complicated problem. I had noticed that the previous year they'd given their award for Best Community Cookbook to a spiral-bound production put out by some social types in Hartford, at whose homes I had taught several classes. And these dames had included my recipes verbatim (even included pictures from my magazine articles) without giving me any credit. My editor, Fran McCullough, was so enraged, she wrote to French demanding that they revoke the award...which, of course, they wouldn't do, probably fearing they'd be sued. Meantime, Jane Frieman wrote about this plagiarism scandal in the Chicago Trib and New York magazine ran a paragraph entitled "Society Cooks May Be In The Soup!"

    That same year my “The Cooking of South West France” was a French Award winner in the International category, so the company was very attentive to me and also a little scared of me, I guess. When my name was read out at the awards luncheon, the New York food press in attendance cheered loudly. At that same awards luncheon, one of the French executives made a really dumb opening speech in which he referred to "the little woman in the kitchen." Like we were still back in the 1950s! And the New York food press booed and hissed.

    I remember that the PR woman for the event tried to seat me with the French execs, and I refused telling her I had come to eat with my friends, not with a bunch of businessmen I didn't know. So there was a lot of table shifting, etc., and in the end the execs split up, each one sitting at a different table. The guy at my table didn't say a single word. In fact, he looked totally terrified, as we New Yorkers gabbed away at lightning speed. We did not, I assure you, act like "little woman in gingham aprons in the kitchen"!

    After that debacle and some others involving other food writers at the time, the FrenchM company evidently realized that they weren't connecting with the food press and decided to give up the award. And that, I believe, is eventually how the Beard Foundation came in, took it over, renamed it, and made it over into something that had glamour and also meaning.

  9. My persian dinner guest said that there is a similar grape must product available in Iranian stores, much cheaper and in much larger quantities. Will have to go searching.

    You can also buy jars of pekmez from Turkey and petlimezi from Greece in Middle Eastern groceries. Also, Spanish importers such as latienda.com carry arrop. In each of these the flavor is pure, clean, and concentrated.

    Any of the above syrups as well as saba and sapa can be thinned and used as a dip for roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages, or boiled carrots. Or they can be dribbled over mild ricotta or gorgonzola dolce. Also, add a few drops to a boring lamb or beef stew.

  10. Most any recipe can be adapted to clay pot cookery. And, yes, conversely, most of the recipes in my upcoming book can also be cooked in good, heavy porcelainized metal vessels so long as they're the right shape and size and can hold and distribute slow even heat. But for me the whole point is to cook as much as possible in clay... to obtain that special flavor that only clay can convey.

    Though prepared with less liquid, clay pot cooked dishes will emerge especially moist with an unctuous tender texture, and a special "distinctive thumb print taste" of hand-crafted food that writers now fashionably call gout de terroir -- the taste of the earth. There is also the pleasure of "coddling" food in clay, a pleasure both sensual and gustatory.

    Let's call it qi.

    I try to keep to tradition and use the pots which were developed by potters for specific dishes. On the other hand, tagines and cazuelas are almost interchangeable; Italy's Vulcania casseroles, Chinese sandpots, and French daubieres are interchangeablel. I don't think it's really a big problem to switch over.

    And don't forget the nutritious and lowfat qualities that make clay pot cooking so desirable.

  11. A Britta water filter is not expensive and does an excellent job and for anyone who is having difficult with cooking certain thing, it would not hurt to try it. 

    Chemicals in water have an effect on many foods, it just seems to be most evident in these.

    Has anyone tried using the Britta water filter with calcium=rich well water? If it works to get heirloom the beans cooked to perfection in 90 minutes, I'll convert .

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