We had such a fun-filled week entertaining guests (à bientôt Jodie, Sophie & co.!). We were at least twelve at the table for dinner, so I proposed crowd pleasing succulent dishes to satisfy everybody’s appetite. Parmesan soup (those croutons were a hit), duck confit parmentier (duck cottage pie), an enormous chocolate tart with mascarpone and vanilla bean whipped cream. My husband took over the kitchen from time to time and fixed a smashing ratatouille, sausages and eggs lunch the next day. Just what everybody wanted in our rustic home. We also had the chance to sample some bright spring and summer weather, what a treat that was.
After our guests departed, I was left with a lot of extra ingredients in my pantry, especially Serrano ham, tomatoes, mascarpone and fromage blanc. It got me inspired to create a little family lunch yesterday. What was I in a the mood for? Fish, strawberries and something with a Basque touch. Basque cuisine is so tasty, highly influenced by seafood, cured hams, tomatoes, paprikas, peppers. It’s my kind of rustic cuisine. I bought a few slices of dos de cabillaud (codfish) and strawberries at the market then rushed home to start cooking. On my way home, I got tempted and decided to pop by the local brocante store (small antique and curiosity store), as if I knew something was waiting for me. I found a few delightful plates to add to our collection. It’s really one of my favourite hobbies, browsing through all the dishes, forks, glasses, paintings, furniture. There’s a suspense-like atmosphere in the air, as if I am looking for that one discovery that will scream ‘buy me’. There are sometimes such beautiful pieces, inspiring me to believe it comes from one of the local chateaux in ruins. There are certainly a lot of gems to be found around Médoc.
Back in the kitchen, I started chopping the tomatoes, onion, garlic and piquillo peppers to make the sauce. I prepared a celeriac and potato mash for the side dish, then wrapped the Serrano ham around the fish. For dessert, I completely improvised last-minute. With all the ingredients I had, I just closed my eyes and imagined what I would like to have. I painted in my mind a strawberry tartlet with whipped mascarpone, fromage blanc and vanilla bean. All shaped like a small dome. I ususally have all sorts of dough I prepare in advance in the freezer, so I picked the pâte sablée (shortcrust pastry), lined the smallest tartlets pans and blind-baked them approximately for 10 minutes.
We had such a lovely lunch, the kids finished everything on their plate, and loved the combination of the fish with the Serrano ham. It perfumes the fish in all the right way, and when you add a bite of the ‘very-red’ ratatouille (that’s what the kids call it), well it’s simply delicious. The strawberry dome tartlets were scrumptuous, we got all so excited that one fell on the floor (I won’t mention any names!).
Ingredients: (serves 6 – to be exact 2 adults, 3 kids and one toddler!)
Cod wrapped in Serrano ham on a bed of Basque sauce
For the Basque sauce:
225 g/ 1/2 pound piquillo peppers (if you can’t find fresh peppers you can use canned ones)
2 onions (sliced)
3 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 tbsp tomato concentrate paste
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp piment d’espelette/ mild chilli powder (or a bit more if you like it more spicy)
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Place the tomatoes in a pan of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove and peel tomatoes. Chop tomatoes coarsely. Set aside. Slice onions and garlic, coarsely chop piquillo peppers. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat olive oil (on a medium heat), add the onions and garlic – fry for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, fry for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sprig of thyme , tomato concentrate, piment d’espelette and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
For the fish:
6 small filets of fresh cod (900 g/ up to 2 pounds. You can use any of your favourite fish – filets are easier to roll – they should fit on the slices of ham)
6 medium slices Serrano ham
A large handful of finely chopped chives to garnish dish
Salt & pepper
Roll out a piece of parchment paper on your table. Place the Serrano ham on the paper, place one filet per piece of ham and roll. When the potato/ celeriac mash and basque sauce are ready, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the rolled fish/ham 3-4 minutes on each side. Salt lightly as the ham is quite salty and season with pepper. Place Basque sauce on a serving plate, place fish on top, garnish with finely chopped chives and serve with mashed potatoes/celeriac on the side.
For the mash:
6 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 small celeriac (peeled and cubed)
A pinch of nutmeg
25 g/ 1-2 tbsp butter
60 ml/ 1/4 cup milk
A few tbsp of crème fraîche or heavy cream (to your liking)
Place potatoes and celeriac (chopped/cubed) in a big pot of boiling salted water for approx 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher. Add milk, butter, a pinch of nutmeg and crème fraîche. Heat the mash on a medium heat for a couple of minutes before serving (stirring constantly).
For the strawberries dome tartlets:
150 ml/ 2/3 cup mascarpone
100 ml/ 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp fromage blanc
60 ml/ 1/4 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
1 vanilla pod (cut a slit on the entire length and scrape off the beans with the tip of your knife)
5 tbsp icing confectioner’s sugar – sifted (you can add more or less according to your taste)
When the pastry is cool, place mascarpone, heavy cream, fromage blanc, vanilla beans and sifted icing sugar in a large bowl. Whisk for 4-5 minutes (I use electric whisks) until stiff. Place cream mixture in a piping bag and pipe a smooth ‘dome-shaped’ meringue on the tartlets. Slice strawberries (see photos) and decorate tartlets.
Note: I used small individual tartlet pans to blind bake the pastry.
For the shortcrust pastry:
125 g/ 1 cup plain flour
75 g/ 1/3 cup butter (softened at room temperature)
15 g/ 1 tbsp sugar
30 g icing/ 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
40 g/ 1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 pinch of salt
1) In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture forms a homogenous dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2) On a floured parchment covered surface, roll out the dough to fit your small
tart pan. Line your tart pans. Gently press the edges of pastry against the interior of the tart pan rings and prick the base with a fork. Use a piece of leftover dough to press down the edges (this trick will prevent any over-stretching or finger marks).
3) Cover with cling film and place in the freezer for a least 30 minutes (the longer the better). This is a good trick to prevent shrinking.
4) Cut out a piece of parchment paper and line the bottom of the tarts. Place beans/marbles/any oven proof weight and blind bake in a preheated oven 180°C/ 350°F for 6-7 minutes. Remove weight and parchment paper and bake for a further 2 minutes, or until slightly golden. Set aside and leave to cool before unmoulding.
49 thoughts on “A little Saturday lunch in Médoc”
I’m crying as I read this…….so delicious. Serrano and cod!! The puppies and the children make my heart sing. Thank you.
Oh thank you, Mary! I hope you will get a chance to try this recipe – it’s very simple and I am sure you will enjoy it. Mimix
What a delightful post! I just found some beautiful plates at a second-hand store last week! Love going in there. It’s like an treasure hunt. It’s an addiction for me, which I’m trying (not too hard) to control. I smile just thinking about it 🙂 And the puppies are adorable! Are they new? Have a lovely Sunday evening! ~Rebecca
Good morning Rebecca! Nice to hear from a fellow brocante-addict 🙂 I love browsing and discovering hidden gems. There are so many small brocante stores in every little village – it’s a dream come true for me. Now you know where to go for your next holidays. The puppies are 6 weeks old – Plum is the mother and harry is the father (our 2 furry JRussells). Have a lovely week! Mimix
The photography is gorgeous, the food like a dream…perhaps you should start renting rooms!!!
Bonsoir from Médoc! Oh thank you so much! Perhaps one day I shall be la ‘maîtresse de maison’ and open a bed & breakfast – my guests will be eating all of the time! I like that idea:) Thank you for inspiring me! Mimix
Will you be terribly offended if I admit that I couldn’t focus beyond the puppies?
Bonsoir Heather! Oh I so agree with you, these little puppies are like Steiff toys! They are completely irresistible!!! We are totally in love:) Mimixx
Hi Mimi. I’ve just found your site and have read thru almost all the posts. My heart completely melted at your fox terriers. My grandmother always had one or two and one was my very first pet. When we left Prague we had to leave him behind with friends. Now my life is so all-over-the-place in two countries that I cannot have a dog, but hopefully soon. 🙂
I am sure you will find a way to get a Fox Terrier very soon – to quote Adam Gopnik “How does anyone live without a dog? I can’t imagine.” Warm wishes from Médoc, Mimix
Today I had people over and served Bacalao a la Biscaya, another extraordinary dish from the Basque Country!
I discovered you blog a couple of weeks ago, and have tried a few of your delicious recipes. They’re all so gorgeous, helped of course by the visual feast of stunning photography, and willing models!
Can’t wait to feast on more…
Hi Mimi. Your blog is such a work of art – I absolutely love seeing it arrive in my mailbox. And your beautiful recipes have inspired me to embrace cooking instead of seeing it as an interruption to my time in the garden! Can’t wait to return one day to your beautiful Médoc region. So wild and lovely. And hopefully by then you WILL have started a B&B so we can share in your paradise for a day or two. Meantime warm greetings from Sydney’s Southern Highlands. How many dogs do you now have … where do they all sleep??
Bonjour Maureen. Thank you so much for your kind words – what a lovely way to start a day. I am just imagining how beautiful it must be in Sydney’s Southern Highlands! I hope you will get a chance to try a few recipes – the little strawberry tartlets were so delicious. We have 14 dogs (+ the current litter). They sleep in various places, some in the poolhouse, some in a room we call the ‘Dog Room’ … some in the kitchen. It is tailored to everyone’s needs. In summer we often let them sleep outside in their little huts. All in good harmony! Mimix
Oh no, poor tartlet, did you let the puppies lick it up? I have a Jack/Patterdale cross and would have a devils job trying to pull her off it. Terriers, so food driven!
Bonjour! The puppies certainly tried, but mascarpone and strawberries don’t go down so well with their little bellies:) Mimix
As always, the food looks and sounds amazing, the kids are adorable and the pups are cute as ever. Well done Mimi!
Thank you so much Patricia! Have a great week, Mimi
We are dog lovers also and in our house, something always “falls on the floor” and one of our sweeties gets a treat. 🙂
I have so many questions for you, but I think I will need to email them.
Those puppies!!! Oh my GOD!!!!!!
Your love for food, inspiring!
Thank you Arline! Please don’t hesitate to send me an email! Bonne journée, Mimi
Bonjour Mimi! J’ adore ton blog! Merci pour tes très féérique photos (de ton mari) et tes délicieuses recettes! Bonne journée! Bisou
Bonjour! Merci beaucoup. J’espère que vous aurez le temps d’essayer une de mes recettes. Je vous souhaite une bonne semaine! Mimi
The puppies are simply the cutest ever! I’ll have to show your photos to husband and try to sell the idea of getting one!
Although there are a lot of beautiful things in this post, I am most entranced by the gorgeous flowers on the table! They are exquisite.
These posts are my very favorite. The ones where you share a bit of life in Medoc and we get to imagine, for a moment, sharing your Sunday. Simply divine~
Have a lovely week,
Bonjour Kimberly! Thank you. It always makes me so happy to share a lovely moment at home with the kids, puppies and good food. We had such a good time shooting, and finding those plates (the ones in the photo) at the brocante made my day! Have a wonderful week. Mimix
I love Basque cuisine, and this menu looks so simple and delicious that I might just have to cook this tonight. Pups and kids are adorable, too!
thank you for all you lovely posts, pictures and inspirations! It is a great joy to read through your blog. I have quite a lot of questions but the thing I was really wondering about… how many dogs to you have by now? And are you officially breeding? The dogs are so gorgeous !
All the best
I am smitten with the beauty here; the mix I love. It stirs my soul. Especially lovely with the added sweetness of your pups!!! I could stare at them against the background of your world all day. Yours are lovely and always bring a smile. Nineteen years ago my life changed forever. I discovered the depth of soul and devotion of the Russells. My every day since, they have filled with joy. Bless you and your family. Now, on to pouring over these fantastic recipes…am making the lamb chops tonight! Blessings, bountiful blessings.
Oh, so beautiful! Children, puppies, brocante, delicious food, France – the best of all!
I’m so happy that I found your blog!
Your posts are PERFECT.
Such a bliss in my everyday life.
All the best from sunny cold Portugal
Beautiful, as always.
I was wondering, do you think you could give us a peek into your spice cabinet? What do you regard as essentials? Which are reserved for a little unexpected kick?
I just adore that last little photo of the smashed tartlet. Darling!!
Hello, Mimi ! A really great blog, beautiful pictures and inspiring atmosphere with delicious food… Thank you so much !
Hello. Your blog is so inspiring. You cultivate beauty in everything you do from your food to your family and it truly shows in your blog. Thanks for giving me something delicious to look forward to!
these are wonderful pictures–especially puppies! AND–i have a question–about parmesan soup–is it really 2 quarts cream and 1 quart milk with a half pound of cheese?
Your blog never disappoints. I’ve made it my “Blog Envy” post this week. Great work, keep it up. http://ramblinggallivantinggirl.blogspot.com/2013/03/blog-envy-mimi-thorissons-manger.html
Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos, food, and writing with everyone.
Such a beautiful family. We live in Paris when our children were founder, too. an my husband elbows his way (I’m happy to let him) into the kitchen, too. Here from the Enchanted Home. Best wishes.
Hello dear Mimi!
I haven’t visited in a while and I’m simply WOW’ed by the bounty of gorgeous posts!! The scenery, the food, the stunning dinnerware, the pups(!) all take my breath away, time and time again. 😉
Thank you, especially, for sharing your canele recipe – it is one of my favorite treats of all time!
Hope you and your beautiful family are all well! 🙂 xo, Hana
Hi Hana! Thank you! You are always making me hungry for Asian food (Your IG feed is very inspiring). As a matter of fact, I made a salmon terriyaki thanks to you, it was so delicious! Thanks for inspiring me! Hope you are well too! Mimix
I would like to make the strawberries dome tartlets but the recipe doesn’t say what to do with the whipping cream? When do you add this? is this the same as heavy cream? I would love to do this today for my French husband’s birthday. Thank you!!!
Bonjour Lucia! I just updated the recipe the whipping cream is to be added with the mascarpone and the rest of the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe. Whipping cream is basically heavy cream for whipping. Make sure all the ingredients are very cold before whipping! Enjoy the recipe, Mimi x
hola Mimi, soy una seguidora de tu arte, me encanta todo!!! tus recetas, tu produccion, tu vajilla, tus flores!!! todo tan creativo y que transmitis de lo mejor!! te felicito desde La Argentina!!!