& COOKING ARTICLE
de Crustacés à la Crème d'Echalotes
been eating sausages of all types for as long as I can
remember. Whether as luncheon meats between slices of
bread or main courses during winter dinners, my German
mother made sure that sausages were a part of my life.
When I grew up, I didnt reject my upbringing.
On the contrary, I embraced it by eating sausages from
many countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland,
Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, and even China. (But,
I still havent acquired the taste for British
fondly remember one meal in particular. When I was 15,
I was traveling in Europe as part of a troop of Boy
Scouts. One day, when I was in Luzern, Switzerland,
my older brother, who was serving in the U.S. Army in
Southern Germany at the time, came to visit me. We jumped
on the first milk train leaving the station and got
off about an hour later in a village called Goshen.
It was about lunch time so we climbed a small hill to
a restaurant. There we sat outside, in the garden, in
the shadow of the Alps eating Swiss-style bratwurst
covered with a brown sauce and accompanied by fried
potatoes. We washed this down with a Swiss pilsner while
a chicken pecked in the gravel near our feet. It was
a meal that was over much too quickly, and one that
I still remember well, 37 years later.
then, Ive even learned how to make my own sausages
at home - stuffing combinations of beef, pork, chicken,
veal, and duck into the former intestines of hogs or
sheep. Sometimes the forcemeat is ground, sometimes
it is puréed. Some sausages are served fresh
and some are poached as part of the preparation. But,
Ive never learned how to make smoked sausages
and I dont have the facility for preparing dried
May, my sausage experience took a sharp turn - a turn
to the sea - or should I say seafood. Now this wasnt
the first time I had been exposed to seafood sausage.
Years ago, I learned how to make seafood sausage at
a course at the California Culinary Academy. Unfortunately,
these were barely edible at the course and not any better
when I attempted them at home. Ive seen similar
recipes in various sausage cook books. It seems that
each book has one token seafood sausage recipe.
problem with seafood sausages is that usually they are
dry. In meat sausage, the fat content is usually between
25% and 50%. The fat provides both flavor and mouth
feel to the sausage. Eating lean sausages is usually
like eating cooked, flavored cardboard. In the past,
the seafood sausage I had eaten tasted like overcooked
fish stuffed into a piece of hog intestine. That changed
I first tasted the Cervelas de Crustacés à
la Crème dEchalotes from Charles Barrier
in Tours, I knew that I had to figure out how to prepare
this dish at home. I obtained a copy of the recipe from
the sous chef at Le Château dAmondans.
It looked something similar to the following:
kg filet de merlan
1.00 kg langoustines
1.00 kg St. Jacques
3.60 kg crème
0.36 kg blancs doeufs
0.15 kg pistaches
0.15 kg truffes
0.40 kg crabe
0.08 kg sel
remainder of the recipe - the bread crumbs, the sauce
and the garnish was transmitted verbally in a couple
of sentences. One problem with this recipe is that merlan,
a fish similar to whiting, and langoustines,
a crustacean similar to Dublin Bay prawns, are
generally not available in California. Another problem
with this recipe is that it produces more than 23 pounds
of forcemeat - enough for 150 portions! Since my return
from Amondans, Ive spent considerable time developing
a version of the recipe that can be prepared for four
guests. The following is the result of my efforts.
is not a recipe that can be thrown together at the last
minute. The bread is baked three or four days in advance
so it has a chance to dry. The sausages, except for
the final preparation for service, are prepared one
day in advance. The shallots for the sauce may be prepared
a day in advance to simplify the work required at the
last minute. Because of all the preliminary work required,
the recipe has been broken into a number of parts which
can be reached by clicking on the appropriate links.
recipe may appear to be a lot of work for four or five
bites of sausage served during an appetizer (entrée)
course, but your guests will appreciate the effort.
Youll like it, too.
Traditionally, cervelas in France were sausages
made from pigs brains, or cervelle - thus
the name. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find versions
of cervelas made from other parts of the pig.
The term cervelas in this recipe refers to the
shape of the sausage - not the forcemeat. In fact, the
forcemeat is really a seafood mousseline shaped like
grams (about 2" x 4" x 4") pain
1 egg, beaten
1 order cervelas
1 order crème
1 order oignons
1 order garniture
on individual items to see Peter's recipe instructions]
the crust from the pain de mie and process the bread
in a food processor until uniform crumbs are produced.
The bread needs to be dry, but not rock hard. I usually
will cut the bread into 2-1/2 cm (1") cubes before
processing. If the bread is too soft, I let it sit
out on the counter for a few hours before I make the
the crumbs in a shallow dish and the beaten egg in
another. Carefully unwrap the chilled sausages and
dry, if necessary, on absorbent paper. Dip each sausage,
in order, in the beaten egg. Allow the excess to drain
off, and then generously coat each sausage with bread
crumbs. Shake off any excess crumbs. Set the sausages
aside on a plate until the oil is ready. The sausage
can be coated an hour or so in advance and kept in
the refrigerator until needed.
a large, non-stick sauté pan with oil to a
depth of 3 mm (1/8") deep and place the pan over
medium heat. Gently sauté sausages until golden
on all sides. Drain each sausage on absorbent paper.
They may be keep warm in a 75°C (170°F, thermostat
2-3) oven for up to an hour. The serving plates can
be warmed in the same oven.
2 tablespoons of sauce in the center of each serving
plate and spread it into a 10 cm (4") circle.
Cut each sausage into two, with a serrated knife,
on the diagonal. Arrange two sausage halves on top
of sauce. Garnish each pair with a few fried onions
and four or five pieces of chive.
matter how you arrange the sausages, be sure to serve
them immediately. This recipe will produce 4 or 5 servings.
article comes from the web site of Peter Hertzmann,
la carte. This is one of the finest web sites I have
most of us are keen amateurs who love to dabble, Peter
is truly dedicated to the pursuit of his interest
in and love of cooking. If his web site was to be
published as a book I would be first in line to buy
is à la carte about? This is best described
in Peter's own words:
obsessive. All my life, when something interested
me, I became obsessed with it. I learned all I could
about it. I lived it! .
. . Ive been obsessive about food as long as
I can remember. I am now obsessive with French cookery
- its preparation, materials, history, politics, and
learn more why not visit the à la carte web
site - click
Peter Hertzmann Inc, 2001
All rights reserved
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