Arctic char infiltrates Tabata’s kitchen. This noble freshwater fish meets the most prized of spices: saffron. The opportunity to discover the culture of this red gold is very close to home.
For his recipe of the week, Tabata chooses a fish that looks good: arctic char. Descended from the salmon family, this cousin of trout and salmon can be found in many French lakes, especially in the three large alpine lakes: Leman, Bourges and Annecy. In Isère, Charles Murgat fell in love with this fish. So he decided to raise it in Beaufort. Founded in 1898, the fish farm is located at the foot of the Alpine foothills, on the natural springs of the fountains of Orona. Charles offers Arctic char all year round, as well as brown trout, river trout and rainbow trout.
Thanks to thin meat and a delicate taste close to trout, arctic char has gained popularity among cooks. Simply roasted, with a splash of lemon or in a Meniere style, he knows how to please all gourmets. With its recipe, Tabata decided to pay homage to Paul Bocuse’s recipe: red mullet in potato skins. This creation of Monsieur Paul consists of laying thin slices of potatoes on a fish fillet. So the Brazilian chef replaces red mullet with local fish and reimagines this great classic of French cuisine. And there will be no mess with this recipe, as the chef uses the bones and the head to make a delicious broth.
Native to Crete, saffron has been refining its coppery hues into dishes for thousands of years. It is present in many dishes from the Levant to Asia, and is also a must in Italian cuisine. But saffron also has a rich history within our borders. If its French culture is very private today, France has nonetheless been a country of saffron for over 500 years. Quercy and Gatinay, in particular, were the central areas of its production. So, in 1789, the city of Boyne (Loiret) produced 30 tons.
For his dish, Tabata receives supplies from Mazaye in the Puy-de-Dome, from Michel Baur. Saffron feels great in the Volcano Park. And it is not for nothing that the climate is especially favorable for domestic colchicum, a flower on which stigmas of red gold grow. Contrary to what is often thought, saffron does not need heat, but light, and loves altitudes between 600 and 1200 meters above sea level. Located 800 meters away, the city of Mazaye combines all the favorable conditions for the production of this spice. After careful harvesting, saffron can be added to regional dishes, as happens at La Guinguette in Isère or at En But in Puy de Dome. In the Tabata dish, saffron boldly reveals its spicy bitterness and is perfectly combined with such an ally as arctic char.
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“Aux Goûts du Jour”, the food magazine France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, is presented every Saturday at 11:30 am by Chef Tabata Mey and is available on repeat below until 22 January 2023.