Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 113 - Monaco - Langoustine a la Provencale - Up Next, Mongolia

This was one of the most interesting dishes I've made thus far because it used cocoa nibs, something I'd never heard of. Once I found the recipe, I had to Google "cocoa nibs" to find out what the mystery ingredient was. Turns out they're simply roasted cocoa bean pieces that have a very slightly chocolaty (not sweet) nutty flavor and crunchy texture and can be used in lieu of nuts, in baking, on ice cream or yogurt...basically anywhere you want crunch and rich flavor.  And, as so often happens with hard to locate items, Whole Foods hooked me up once again.

Original Painting
Joelle Feldman
The Mediterranean flavors of this meal: lemons, oranges, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, tomatoes, onions and olive oil which made a "ragout", all heaped atop langoustinos, a much smaller version of what we know as lobsters, made for a light, delicious and beautiful dish. This is the kind of eating that satisfies all the senses and is kind to the waistline. Dare I say, "winning"?

The other coolsweet thing that happened today is that I picked up the first batch of my spring salad CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) greens from Hopestill Farm - beautiful baby spinach and kale that were the backbone of tonight's meal. Shout out to Richard Robinson for including me in this opportunity to benefit from and support local agriculture.

Officially the principality of Monaco, the country of Monaco is a micro-state located in south western Europe on the northern central coast of the Mediterranean Sea, neighboring France and Italy. Monaco is a constitutional monarchy, headed by Prince Albert II. Although the country is independent, it's national defense is France's responsibility.

Because of Monaco's subtropical climate and mountains, it is a country tourists are naturally drawn to. Seafood, especially cod, is a staple of the country's cuisine. And, due to it's proximity to France and Italy, the cuisine reflects the exquisite pastry and lovely pasta both countries are known for. Vegetables, fruit and grains are all enjoyed in this beautiful country.

Langoustines a la Procencale Recipe (Adapted from Celtnet.org.uk)

1 lb. langoustine meat
10 Tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup onions, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
flat leaf parsley for garnish
4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and diced (I didn't blanche or peel them)
cocoa nibs, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mixed young salad greens

Saute langoustine in olive oil for about 3 minutes until heated through. Remove to keep warm.
Heat remaining oil and saute garlic, orange and lemon zest gently for about 5 minutes. Add carrots, onions, celery and herbs and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove the bay leaves and thyme then season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the diced tomato and cocoa nibs and allow to heat through. Divide the langoustines between 4 plates, spoon the ragout over and around the langoustine and salad and serve.

Final Assessment: I think I need to go to Monaco to sample more of their cuisine. I love to eat like this - simple, clean food, fresh ingredients, easy to prepare, satisfying and beautiful to look at. A+


Karen said...

this looks so yummy !! and believe it or not I actually have cocoa nibs in my pantry as we speak...actually I bet that doesn't surprise you ;)

sadie said...

Thanks, Karen - no, it doesn't surprise me in the least!

Clay said...

Looking gooooood!!!

sadie said...

Thanks, Clay!!!!! xoxo