A ‘yesterday’ recipe, from a period so rich and so pleasant, from the times of Sunday family lunches at my grandmother’s home. A roasted leg of lamb with flageolets beans in sauce, with hot baked potatoes and salad with crunchy garlic croutons. On these days, always a starter of freshly cooked langoustines was served with mayonnaise, country bread from the local baker, that was still hot and served with creamy salted butter balls. Sometimes on special occasions Belon flat oysters, cupped oyster from Cancale, and spider crabs were also offered. I remember, biting the carapace, and discovering that the spider crab’s legs were as big as my child’s thumb, requiring pliers as big as my own wrist ! Although I tried, cracking that shell with my teeth was not an option. The nutcracker would appear and with an enormous amount of pressure, only then could I break the red and white shield. After such effort the flesh was removed easily in one fell swoop and dipped again and again into the yellow mustard and vinegar emulsion of lush Mayonnaise.
It is with these days in mind that I would like to introduce you to a recipe from my culinary library, composed of books from ‘Les Trois Gros’, ‘Paul Bocuse’, ‘Jacques Le Divillec’, and many others. Often, we think there must be secrets hidden within a Chef’s book when in reality often there are none. These old recipes for example, are raw in essence and hide nothing. To transmit knowledge and passion is part of a true Chef ‘s rule of conduct – concealing nothing, omitting nothing. Their writing is authentically there for the transmission of the knowledge and the assurance of the longevity of the art of living and eating because after all cuisine is all about living and living well. No need to try to get a cooking knowledge if you don’t have faith, passion, love and generosity. For the home epicureans, the magic of cooking should also be seen as being linked to creation and the realization of a noble and eternal act of creating for self and others. Do not omit anything, learn, understand then transmit the knowledge to others.
The essence of life is nourishing. As fossil energy reaches it’s end, other energies (the green ones) emerge from all parts of the globe. We must revive the meadows, regenerate the ground, clean the lands with reforestation, as the waterways that bear life. We must stop playing the sorcerer’s apprentices and seek less destructive ways to feed the world, ways that worked so well for hundreds of years. Most of today food is destructive by nature because it does not only standardizes tastebuds and so the thinking. Bio or Eco food is attacked as substandard while agribusiness companies impose their chemical and tasteless gastronomy. The sneaky enemy is hidden, and does not want to show his face because if so, he would loose it forever.
As I think back to my Grandmother’s and the beauty of natural food, served and created with love and honor, with this in mind I present to you the ‘Ceviche’ for your dining pleasure.
The Ceviche, Cebiche, Seviche
Origin: South America, Peru.
600.gr of fish meat, such as sea bass, dorado, hake, see pollack
6 or 7 limes
3 beautiful shallots
¼ green pepper
1 fresh red pepper
6 pitted black olives
Salt and peppers
Cut fish meat into cubes of 1 cm maximum.
Put the fish in a bowl, add the lemon juice.
I advise to make some zests before squeezing lemons, they will serve you for the decoration and bring some whip. Reserve the preparation in the fridge for 3 or 4 hours. An hour in advance can also be enough.
Slice the shallots, in very thin rings that will create some aesthetic effect and give to the dish a little bit of crunch.
Cut the tomatoes into 4 and remove the grains, cut in small cubes, salt, drain in a colander.
Chop green pepper and chili pepper carefully.
Remove the fish, add the rings of onions, the crushed tomato, the minced chili pepper, stir, pepper and garnish with olives and lemon zest and serve very fresh.
In Peru, they add some sweet potato, corn and sometimes the lemon juice is replaced by a bitter orange juice.
It’s simple and it’s divine …
Grandson of a famous French Chef (his grandfather owned the Buffet de la Gare de Rennes, in France at the end of the 19th century), Thierry Guineau has accumulated forty years of culinary experience throughout the world. During his stay in Asia, he was recognized prodigious, draped in his jacket of Executive Chef at the Meridien of Jakarta, at the Holiday Inn Harbin China, at the Meridien of Phuket, the Sheraton Zhongshan in China, or at the Coco Beach Vietnam, to name a few. Today, he leaves in Mui Né, Vietnam and share his free time between consulting and professional training where he passes on his knowledge to the most disadvantaged.