SECRETS by Raymond Blanc
order a copy of Kitchen Secrets <click
Secrets is the long awaited new book from culinary
legend Raymond Blanc, showcasing the recipes from both the
first and the upcoming series of the acclaimed BBC 2 series
Years of experience and a lifelong love of food have given
Raymond a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create
fantastic dishes that work time after time. Here, Raymond
Blanc lets-us in to the many kitchen secrets that he has learned-over
the years. After all, he reminds us, the joy of a secret is
in sharing it. With a range of achievable and inspirational
recipes for cooks of all abilities, Kitchen Secrets is all
about bringing Gallic passion and precision into the home
kitchen. Raymond has done all the hard work, refining recipes
over months and even years until they are quite perfect. Every
recipe includes explanations and hints to ensure that your
results are consistently brilliant.
Dishes that once seemed plain, or impossibly complex, suddenly
become simple and elegant; the book's sixteen chapters include
classics like watercress soup, brioche, chicory and Roquefort
salad, cep ravioli, apricot cassoulet, chicken liver parfait,
confit salmon, moules mariniere, grilled Dover sole, pot au
feu, lamb's liver persillade, roast wild duck, slow roasted
shoulder of lamb, galette des Rois, cherry clafoutis and Maman
Blanc's own chocolate mousse.
Kitchen Secrets is guaranteed to be a must-have for anybody
with a love of French cuisine and finesse.
Totally self-taught, Raymond Blanc is one of Britain's best-respected
chefs. His hotel-restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in
Oxford has been awarded two Michelin stars for the past 26
years and in 2007 he was awarded an OBE for services to culinary
"Only a few great chefs are produced every century.
Raymond Blanc is one of those great chefs" ~
Marco Pierre White
beautiful photography by Jean Cazals and illustrations by
Paul Wearing, the well designed pages make the recipes, with
their detailed explanations and notes, easy to follow making
this a must have book.
by Bloomsbury Publishing - www.bloomsbury.com
SECRETS RECIPES BY RAYMOND BLANC
POLLOCK FILLET GRENOBLOISE, POMME PURÉE
have fished our cod to near extinction and whilst stocks are
hopefully replenishing, it is lovely to have a fish like pollock.
Although not as sumptuous as cod, it has a great texture and
big flavour and is underrated, in my view. After all, it is
a member of the cod family. Cooked in homes all over France,
this recipe is part of the classic French repertoire. The
method of pan-frying lends itself to other round fish, including
salmon, cod, hake and mullet.
4 pollock fillets (skin on), each 180g and 3cm thick
4 pinches of sea salt
2 pinches of freshly ground white pepper
40g unsalted butter
For the pomme purée:
1kg Desirée, Belle de Fontenay or Estima potatoes1
170200ml whole milk, warmed
70g unsalted butter, melted
2 pinches of sea salt
2 pinches of freshly, finely ground white pepper
For the sauce:
½ lemon, peeled and segments cut free from the membrane,
2 tbsp capers, washed and drained
30g shallot, peeled and finely chopped
10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
30g small croûtons2
How to make
The croûtons can be prepared well in advance and reheated
in the oven.
cook the potatoes for the pomme purée Peel and
quarter the potatoes, cutting them into even-sized pieces.
Place in a large saucepan, add enough cold water to cover
and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat
so that the water is gently simmering and cook for 25
until the potatoes are soft.
finish the purée Tip the cooked potatoes into
a colander to drain and leave for 2 3 minutes to
allow excess steam to escape. Pass the potato through a
mouli or fine potato masher and return to the saucepan.
Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in 170ml warm milk and
then stir in the melted butter and seasoning. Taste and
correct the seasoning if necessary. If the purée
is too firm, thin it down with a little more milk. You know
you have the perfect purée when it is fluffy, forms
firm peaks and melts in your mouth. Keep warm over a pan
of simmering water.
cook the fish Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Pat
the pollock fillets dry and season the flesh side with salt
and pepper. In a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium
heat, melt the butter and heat until foaming, then add the
fish fillets flesh side down and colour for 5 6 minutes4.
With the aid of a fish slice, carefully turn the fillets
onto the skin side and cook for a further 1 minute.
place the pan in the hot oven for 4 5 minutes. Take
out the pan and place back on a high heat for 1 minute.
Carefully transfer the fish fillets from the frying pan
to a warm serving dish.
make the sauce Add the water to the hot pan and stir
so that the caramelised juices dissolve and emulsify into
the liquid as it boils5.
Add the lemon segments and juice to the frying pan with
the capers, shallot and parsley. Bring back to the boil,
taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.
serve Spoon the pomme purée onto warmed plates
and place the fish on top. Pour the sauce on and around
scatter over the hot croûtons and serve.
You can replace the water with brown chicken stock to give
more depth of flavour to the sauce. Flavour the potato purée
with crushed garlic, freshly grated nutmeg, olive oil, freshly
grated horseradish, mustard or any chopped herbs you like.
the right potatoes is important: too waxy or too starchy
and they wont purée very well; too watery and
they will be tasteless. Get to know your potatoes and which
varieties are best for different cooking purposes. You also
need to appreciate that storage alters potato characteristics,
so be prepared to change
to a different variety every few months.
make the croûtons, cut crustless white bread into
1cm cubes, toss in melted unsalted butter or olive oil and
scatter on a baking tray. Toast in a preheated oven at 200°C
/ Gas 6 for 5 6 minutes.
Do not boil the potatoes rapidly or they may overcook and
absorb excessive water, making a watery purée.
The success of this dish lies in the understanding of the
simple technique of pan-frying and regulating the temperature
to achieve the right degree of heat. The butter will start
to foam at about 130°C. At about 150° 155°C
it will go hazelnut colour. This is the perfect stage to
caramelise the fish without drying it. If the butter becomes
too hot, it will burn and the fish will dry out. However,
if the butter isnt hot enough, the fish wont
brown and it will stew in its own juices. At this stage,
if the temperature is right, the smells are invading your
kitchen. And while the fish proteins are browning, the juices
are seeping out and collecting at the bottom of the pan
begging for a splash of water to create a heavenly
Simply adding water to the pan the fish has been cooked
in can create a most exciting jus, as it dilutes the caramelised
juices at the bottom of the pan.
Often people discard the skin, but to me this is the best
part, and the most nutritious as it is where the essential
omega fatty acids are concentrated.
is one of the most popular desserts in Brasserie Blanc. Simple,
delicious and easily achievable at home, it is a wonderful
chocolate experience. You can omit the base, if you like (see
variations overleaf), though that would be a shame.
For the praline and cornflake base:
100g cornflakes, slightly crushed
200g hazelnut praline paste1
For the chocolate delice:
2 organic/free-range medium eggs
325ml whipping cream
140ml whole milk
340g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
For the caramel hazelnuts:
50g skinned hazelnuts
150g caster sugar
For the coffee foam (optional):
2 sheets leaf gelatine (27 x 7cm)
100ml freshly made strong coffee
10g caster sugar
To finish (optional):
How to make
ahead The delice needs to be made around 8 hours in
advance to allow time for it to set.
make the base In a large bowl, mix the cornflakes and
hazelnut praline paste together thoroughly with a wooden
spoon, to make a smooth paste that can be easily pressed
into the corners of the mould. Sit the rectangular frame
or tart ring on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
Tip the praline and cornflake paste into the mould and spread
evenly with the back of the spoon to an even 4mm thickness.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
make the chocolate delice Lightly whisk the eggs together
in a bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk
just to the boilz2.
Slowly pour onto the eggs, whisking as you do so. Add the
chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Pour on top
of the cornflake base. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.
prepare the caramel hazelnuts Preheat the oven to 170°C
/ Gas 3. Scatter the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast
them in the oven for 8 10 minutes3.
While the nuts are still warm, carefully push the sharp
end of a cocktail stick into each one. Affix some Blue-tac
pieces under a shelf near to the cooker and place a tray
underneath to collect any excess caramel4.
a small heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, melt the
sugar and then cook to a dark golden caramel5.
Immediately dip the base of the pan in cold water for 2
seconds to stop the cooking process6.
Leave to cool slightly for about a minute, until thickened
to a coating consistency7.
Now, holding the cocktail stick, dip each hazelnut into
the caramel to coat. Press the other end of the stick into
the Blue-tac, to suspend the caramel-coated hazelnut vertically.
After a minute the caramel will have set hard with a beautiful
long tail. Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Repeat with the rest8.
make the coffee foam Soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow
dish of cold water to soften for a few minutes. In a small
pan, heat the coffee and stir in the sugar to dissolve.
Drain the gelatine leaves and squeeze out excess water,
then add to the hot coffee and stir until melted. Now whisk
in a large bowl or pour into a large jug and foam using
a hand blender9.
serve Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, slice
the delice and sprinkle with grated chocolate, if using.
Arrange on serving plates with the coffee foam alongside.
Garnish with the caramel nuts.
To simplify the dish, omit the cornflake and praline base.
Pour the hot chocolate cream into a serving dish and leave
to set; serve with vanilla ice cream.
Or to make chocolate ganache, set the chocolate cream in
a tray, cut into cubes and dust with cocoa powder.
To make a divine chocolate tart, pour the filling into a
pre-cooked pastry case.
- You can buy praline paste from good confectioners or
make your own: in a pan, melt 200g sugar and cook to the
hard-crack caramel stage. Add 200g skinned hazelnuts, stir
and pour onto a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
Cool until set, then blitz to a paste in a blender, adding
a little warm water if needed.
- It is important that the cream and milk mixture is boiling
hot when you add it to the beaten eggs, as this will partially
cook them and help to set the mixture.
- Toasting the hazelnuts releases their natural oils, giving
a more intense flavour.
- Sometimes as a cook you have to improvise. Using Blue-tac
to suspend the hazelnuts on cocktail sticks allows them
to form decorative caramel tails.
- Dont take the caramel off the heat too early. You
need a pronounced caramel flavour; a pale caramel will be
overly sweet and uninteresting.
- Be careful at this point, as the intense heat of the pan
will make the water it is dipped into boil instantly. This
step is necessary to stop the caramel cooking and keep it
at the right colour.
- You need to catch the caramel at just the right stage;
too hot and it will be too thin; too cool and it will begin
to set. Bonne chance!
- Due to the humidity in a kitchen, it is best to prepare
the caramel hazelnuts within a few hours of serving, to
ensure they dont become limp and sticky.
- This magic foam will not last forever, so do this at the
last moment, just before you serve. If you make it too far
in advance it will collapse, but dont worry, to rescue
it simply whisk again.
CHICKEN WITH MORELS AND SHERRY WINE SAUCE
is a great classic of French cuisine and it originates from
my own region. It is quick and easy to prepare and I urge
you to cook it for your friends. To me, morels are the finest
mushrooms in the world and you can now find them dried in
good supermarkets. I even prefer the dried ones to the fresh
ones as their flavour is so much more pronounced. The traditional
Jura wine is the best, if you happen to have some, otherwise
a dry sherry works very well.
30g dried morels1,
soaked in 250ml water for at least 2 hours
4 organic/free-range chicken breasts (180g each), skinned
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g unsalted butter
250g firm button mushrooms, washed quickly, patted dry and
120ml dry sherry or Jura wine
400ml double cream
For the leeks:
2 medium leeks, trimmed, cut into 2cm pieces and washed
200ml boiling water
pinch of sea salt
15g unsalted butter
How to make
The dried morels need to be soaked for at least a couple
of hours. You can prepare the chicken half an hour in advance
and warm it through in the morel sauce to serve.
prepare the morels Drain the morels, reserving the soaking
liquor, and squeeze to extract as much of the liquor as
possible. Rinse the morels, drain and squeeze dry. Cut larger
morels into smaller pieces; set aside. Pass the reserved
liquor through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any sand or
grit and save 100ml.
cook the chicken Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat
until it is foaming2.
Add the chicken breasts and colour lightly for 3 minutes
on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve.
In the fat remaining in the frying pan, soften the soaked
morels and button mushrooms together, for 1 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the sherry or wine in a small pan for 30
seconds. Add the sherry or wine3
to the mushrooms with the reserved morel liquor and a pinch
of salt. Pour in the cream and bring to the boil.
Place the chicken breasts back in the pan, making sure the
cream sauce covers them. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer
and cook for 10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken
breasts, until they are just cooked through4.
cook the leeks While the chicken is cooking, put the
leeks into a saucepan, pour on the boiling water and add
the salt and butter. Cover and cook at a full boil for 5
10 minutes until tender.
finish the dish Using a slotted spoon, lift out the
chicken breasts and place in a warm dish; keep warm. Boil
the sauce rapidly to reduce until it is thick enough to
coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place the chicken breasts back in the sauce to reheat for
serve With a slotted spoon, lift the leeks from their
liquor and arrange on warmed plates. Sit the chicken breasts
on top and pour the morel sauce over and around. By this
time your kitchen will be filled with heavenly smells. Accompany
with a chilled bottle of Jura wine for a perfect moment.
Use dried ceps in place of the morels. Or you can use fresh
wild mushrooms, adding them with the button mushrooms.
Replace the chicken with guinea fowl or pork chops, adjusting
the cooking time accordingly.
morels are highly prized by the gourmet. These mushrooms
grow in many parts of Europe during the spring. Conical-shaped,
with a distinctive honeycomb structure, they hold sand and
grit, so need to be washed a few times in fresh water to
ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.
butter will start to foam at about 130°C. At 150°
155°C it will turn a hazelnut colour. This is
the perfect stage to caramelise the chicken without drying
boil the sherry or wine before adding it to the dish to
remove most of the alcohol, retaining the flavour and character.
is essential to avoid overcooking the chicken, or it will
become dry. The timing here should ensure that your chicken
is tender and succulent.
order a copy of Kitchen Secrets <click
by Bloomsbury Publishing - www.bloomsbury.com
24 February 2011
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