June 2009 COTM Elizabeth David Classics: Eggs, Cold Foods & Luncheon Dishes
- MMRuth Jun 2, 2009 11:04 AM
Eggs, Cold Foods & Luncheon Dishes
Welcome to Elizabeth David Classics, which includes these three books by Elizabeth David:
A Book of Mediterranean Food [M] - "Eggs & Luncheon Dishes"
Summer Cooking [S] - "Eggs"
French Country Cooking [F] - "Eggs"
Please post your full-length reviews of recipes here for egg dishes, cold dishes, and luncheon dishes contained in the chapters listed above. If such a dish appears in a chapter the title of which is not covered by one of the categories in the master thread, please post it here anyway. Since there are a number of different editions and some posters have the individual books, please post the abbreviations for the books as listed above, and the name of the recipe, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. That way posters can then look up the recipe in the index of whichever book they have.
A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.
Thanks for participating!
A traditional Basque dish of scrambled eggs with onions, peppers and tomatoes which made a lovely brunch.
Simple to make - I sliced a couple of onions and cooked them slowly in pork dripping. When softened but not brown I added a couple of sliced red peppers and cooked until soft. Then season, and add chopped tomatoes (I used a tin) and a bit of marjoram. Put the lid on and simmer until almost a purée (I took this to mean when most of the moisture had gone). Add the eggs and stir slowly as if for scrambled eggs, taking care not to overcook.
We had this for brunch with toasted sourdough and a couple of slices of griddled smoked bacon. Really delicious. Would also make a good light dinner - comfort food with a twist. Not authentic but you could also add a touch of chilli or chilli flakes, I reckon.
Omelette au Brocciu, p. 35 (M)
Well, I didn't have Brocciu, which she describes as a tangy ewe's milk young cheese, but I did have a good sheeps milk feta, which sounded pretty close.
The cheese and eggs are beaten together and then some wild chopped mint is added to make a flat round omelette. I also added a bit of sauteed shallot, and together with an arugula salad and glass of chateauneuf du pape, this was a simple, delicious summer supper.
re: David A. Goldfarb
No, this was when Gertrude was living with her brother still, before Alice, and it really was a French bonne, Hélène. The guest she had taken a dislike to was Matisse. "I will not make an omelette but fry the eggs. It takes the same number of eggs and the same amount of butter but it shows less respect, and he will understand."
p. 33 in my copy of Mediterranean Food. I loved that story too.
This is off-topic, but the mention of the Alice B. Toklas cookbook brought back the memory of a cake I once made from that book. I don't remember much about it except that it was extremely time-consuming and difficult to make and was absolutely delicious. I made a vow never to make that cake again, but now I'm curious. Will have to find my old copy.
Bacon and Lettuce Sandwiches [S]
This is under the "Picnics" section and I hope I'm putting this in the right place. I made this sandwich for our lunch today. I used Romaine Lettuce because I believe that's what cos lettuce is (I may be wrong about that though) and I made a mustard vinaigrette again because I believe that's close to the mustardy French dressing she calls for. I shredded the lettuce and tossed it in the dressing but I used a light hand while doing that. I fried the bacon and I probably used more than she called for unless slices of bacon were larger in her day. She said one large rasher of bacon for each round of sandwiches. I used 3 slices for each sandwich. She also says to fry it lightly but we like our bacon crispy. Unfortunately, the only bread I had was a rather bland Italian Sandwich bread from Publix. Nonetheless, I buttered it and put the lettuce and bacon on. It was good. We enjoyed it. I'd make this again. Easy enough especially if you already have the dressing made.
Shooter's Sandwich (S)
I've always been curious about a version of this I saw in Escoffier called a "Bookmaker's Sandwich," but I've never made it, so COTM was a good excuse to make E. David's version.
I made a couple of sourdough loaves in narrow pans, sliced off the end of one, and hollowed the loaf out with a bread knife and long narrow tongs. Meanwhile I grilled a thick, unseasoned rump steak in a grill pan and when it was about half done, added some crimini mushrooms to the pan and grilled them along with the steak. When the mushrooms were done, I cut them in half and tossed them in some red onion confit, which isn't called for in the recipe, but why make onion confit if not for such occasions?
When the steak was rare or a little more (I should have pulled it a bit sooner actually), I let it rest for about ten minutes and added salt and pepper on both sides. Both E. David and Escoffier say the steak should be "highly seasoned," which I take to mean "seasoned with a lot of salt and black pepper" for this context.
The recipe doesn't say to slice the steak, but I think it would be too tough not to, so I sliced it thinly, tossed with the mushrooms and onions, and packed it into the bread, replacing what the book calls the "deleted" end.
At this point, Escoffier's version is heavy on the office supplies, which I suppose any bookmaker would have had handy. The sandwich should be wrapped it layers of blotting paper, tied, then waxed paper, tied again, and then pressed in a letter press. E. David says it should be pressed under weight.
Not having clean blotting paper handy (I actually use it for drying fiber based photographic prints from the darkroom), I wrapped it in paper towels, then waxed paper, and tied it, put the bread back in the loaf pan, and put another loaf pan on top of it with a heavy weight in it, and let it rest overnight.
The sandwich is then to be sliced as needed for long days at the races, hunts or other journeys. "With this 'sandwich' a man may travel from Land's End to Quaker Oats, and snap his fingers at both," according to T. Earle Welby, _The Dinner Knell_ (1932).
What's not to like?
It's a steak sandwich. As I said, what's not to like? It is indeed a very substantial lunch.
Next time, though, I think I'll try to get more bread out of the loaf. The sourdough was fairly dense, so it felt like more bread than necessary, at least at the far end of the loaf where it was hard to reach with the tongs, and I had leftover steak, so I could have fit more in. The bread is thinner at the open end of the loaf. With a softer bread, it would probably make sense to leave more bread in, so it doesn't fall apart.
Some sauteed sweet red or yellow bell peppers would also be nice in there.
I think it would be easier to eat with a more tender cut of steak, though I'm sure the bookmakers and shooters are fine with a chewy rump steak, and if it gets a little sloppy, they can just wipe their hands on their waistcoats. It was certainly tasty.
I used the removed bread for an improvised raspberry bread pudding. Saute bread in 2 tablespoons of butter, add 12 oz raspberries and put it in an appropriately sized baking dish. Beat together three eggs, a half cup of cream, a cup of milk, two tablespoons sugar, and a splash of vanilla extract, and pour over the bread and raspberries. Preheat oven to 350 F while the bread soaks up the liquid, and bake 45 minutes.
The Savoury Omelette (M)
I hardly ever make omelettes, and am a little scared of them, but I don't have much in apart from eggs, and quite fancied an omelette for lunch. As it's one of Ms David's most celebrated dishes, I thought I'd give it a whirl.
In Mediterranean Food she quotes from "Wyvern's" and it's a lovely bit of writing which tells you all you need to know about making the perfect omelette. Namely, that the eggs must be lightly beaten and the pan very hot. IThe butter is ready when it stops fizzing and starst to turn brown. As soon as the egg starts to set on the edges, you lift it up and let the egg run back to the side of the pan - I'm sure you know all of this.
Anyway, it was just as an omelette should be - light yet substantial, with the egg still very slighly runny and with a pure taste of just eggs and butter. Next time, I'd probably put a little fines herbes in it, or some cheese, or the tomato omelette in Summer Cooking sounds lovely.