1. Main Dishes

Shrimp & Scallops with Pernod

This is one that Anselm and I dreamed up (with a little help from Julia Child).

1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot   salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped   flour
2 med. tomatoes, seeded & chopped   3 Tbsp. Pernod
1/2 lb raw shrimp, shelled & deveined   2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
1/2 lb scallops, rinsed & patted dry   chopped parsley

Salt and pepper the scallops on all sides. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet; when the oil is hot, dust the scallops with flour and place in the skillet. Sear the scallops on high heat until they are nicely browned on all sides. Add the shrimp, cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and cook for a minute more. Remove the skillet from the heat, pour the Pernod over the seafood and ignite. When the flames have died down, return the skillet to the stove, lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Stir well and simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid.

Sprinkle with a bit of chopped parsley and the grated parmesan.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

Notes: Serve on a bed of rice accompanied with snow peas that have been blanched for two minutes, refreshed, and then re-heated in a little butter. A French sauvignon blanc is a perfect match.

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Saucisses lentilles

The recipe was adapted from an Italian recipe in a cookbook by Nigella Lawson that I found in a house we rented in France.

olive oil   pepper
1 small onion, chopped   6–8 sausages (see notes)
1 small carrot, chopped   1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 stalk celery, chopped   1/4 cup red wine
2 cups green lentils, rinsed   2 whole cloves
3 cups water   1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the onion over low heat until soft. Add carrot and celery and cook a few moments more. Add lentils, water, pepper, and cloves and cook until the lentils are soft. Do not add salt at this point.

In a large lidded frying pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Add the garlic and wine. Braise the sausages, covered, for 20 minutes, adding a little extra water if necessary. Add the cooked lentils to the sausages; stir well; and season to taste with red wine vinegar and salt.

Notes: I use lentilles de puy, green lentils grown on the volcanic soil of the massif central in France. I can get them in Halifax, so they’re not that obscure. The best sausages for this are mild, porky sausages, somewhat coarsely ground; in the absence of saucisse de toulouse, Johnson Brothers mild Italian work well.

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