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Editor’s Note: Rice for Dummies
If French home cooking traditionally pays little attention to rice, considering it a simple side dish, then this dish is taken much more seriously in other gastronomic cultures, in particular Asian (biryani, bibimbap, nasi goreng, etc.), African (wolof rice, tiep … ) or Southern Europe (risotto, arancini, paella…). In France, some star stars are more interested in it than their fellow citizens: Pascal Barbeau (Astrance, currently closed, but you can see him at the Cèna in Paris) is a fan, as is Nadia Sammut (Auberge La Fenière, in Cadena ). This latest gluten-free kitchen is his establishment, created by his grandmother and then taken over by his mother, Reine Sammut, even the only star-marked establishment that does not offer any dishes containing wheat.
leaf through Hot (ed. Hachette Cuisine and Human Humans, 2021), we stumbled upon a recipe the latter passed along to culinary author Victoire Lou, who reminded us how much rice deserves a closer look. It only takes a few simple gestures and a few extra minutes of prep—but we promise you won’t have to do any more dishes—to perfect your rice dish. Start by rinsing 250 grams of rice to get rid of the starch and prevent it from sticking together. Cut the onion, peel the clove of garlic. Fry the onion in 15 ml of olive oil until transparent, add the rice, mix and heat over low heat for a few minutes without coloring it. Moisten with 35 ml of chicken broth. Salt pepper. Stir again and bring to a boil. Add garlic clove and thyme sprig. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat until the broth is completely absorbed (about fifteen minutes). We eat, we are (by) defeated: never again will we be content with casually throwing grains of rice into a pot of boiling water and waiting (ten to twenty minutes, depending on what is written on the box).
Napkin rings: a whim in Belleville
The headbutt is aptly named. It’s kind of the perfect restaurant, beautiful, good, not too expensive, where you can always find a table for two at the last minute, even at the end of the bar. It’s because you eat well, drink well, and Lorraine, the hostess, is always attentive. The neighbors have a party there: there are often children, big dogs and many actors playing almond trees. There we ate simple and tasty dishes, orecchiette with candied lemon and olives, grilled octopus salads or very simple and so beautiful pollock ceviches. We drank hectolitres of wine there, notably Livia Sous le Végétal by Patrick Buju and Jason Ligas: a fine-grained Muscat from Samos, full of minerality and energy. What a pleasant comforting address in bustling Upper Belleville!
Headshot, 107 Rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris. Metro Pyrenees. Lunch menu 16.50 euros for E+P or P+D, drinks from 6 to 10 euros.
Weekend recipe: smoked fish with apache with rue de Crimee
This week we went to Ivan, an Indian from the city, who, on the side of the Rue Crimet (Paris, 19th century), prepared for us in his small apartment a fish fillet seasoned with a smoke of dried herbs and fried vegetables. We stick our noses in the refrigerator, look at the contents of the cupboards filled with jars of wild garlic pesto, mushroom vinegar, ginger with coarse salt, oranges with honey and vanilla, bottles of fragrant oils with herbs collected in the sunken streets and gardens of Yonne … If Vladimir tried to annex Krim street, I am sure that Ivan could hold an eternal siege. This is because Apaches have always cooked the way some people paint.
We watch him extract water from a small beetroot by placing it in the oven with his shirt on for two hours. Thirty minutes before the end of the boil, he adds a small leek, the roots of which he left, and shallots. Gun in one hand, knife in the other, he cooks while he finishes the pesto, cuts the mint, rubs a small piece of ginger, crushes a few handfuls of walnuts and a little pepper. All this is well mixed with a drop of soy sauce and olive oil if desired. Finally, he removes the skin from a beautiful salmon fillet, which is descaled. And send to the grill, brushing with oil to make it crispy. The vegetables are cooked, he peels them and fries the leek beards in a pan with sesame oil.
Ivan cuts the fish into 5 cm cubes, wraps fresh thyme in an airtight bag, puts the latter in a large salad bowl and pours boiling water over it, it will cook at a low temperature. Shortly before eating, he collects fish cubes, strings them on skewers and prepares them for smoking: he puts dried herbs (sage, thyme, bay leaf, juniper) in a hollow dish. He kindles a fire, covers the container in which he placed the skewers. Mixed with sautéed vegetables, fish chips and pesto, these roasted herb flavored skewers give a wonderful mouthfeel.