Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream
The movie looked promising despite the bad critics it had so far received. We opened my MacBook to watch the preview of Breaking and Entering in which Juliette Binoche played along with Jude Law. The story seemed good. IMDB talked about “a landscape architect’s dealings with a young thief causing him to re-evaluate his life” to describe the plot, motivating us to go to see the movie. Yet we hesitated, as we sometimes do for no particular reason but the sake to hesitate. Within a few minutes, we changed our mind and decided to stay home, both preferring a cozy night in. In fact, I was happy to cook us something nice for dinner. During most of the day on this past Sunday, we had both been feeling in a snuggly mood. The run I took in the morning to the nearby park had really been the extent of my time spent outside. I did not even have the weather as the excuse. It had been gorgeously sunny. We simply felt homey.
Since the initial plan was actually to attend a friend’s birthday party who happened to be sick, I had not really planned dinner. No choice, my improvisational skills had to come into play. By 6:30 pm, I went downstairs to look at the fridge situation. I fumbled around, from one cabinet to another and a few minutes later, still not exactly knowing how this actually happened, I was left with a bag of chestnut flour in my hands. I looked at it and started to scan ideas in my head. I had almost forgotten about this flour bought at the store a few months back.
I have a fairly large collection of varieties of flour, between spelt, buckwheat, whole grain, chickpea to name a few. Buying chestnut flour, however, was a first time. I initially thought that I would use it in a sweet cake, but following what seemed to have been the tone of our day, I changed my mind. Instead, I thought to prepare something savory to complement dinner. I was going to make un cake salé.
You might be surprised by this but the French language borrows English words, pronounced in the French way — you would be expected to laugh here if you were to hear some of these French Englished words because of the distorted pronunciation. These words, however, do not bear the meaning of the original English word. The word cake is one of these words. In French, un cake is commonly used although it does not mean a cake per se. Instead, it is a particular type of cake. Are you still with me? Un cake is in fact a fruit cake. From initially referring to a sweet food, the word however has stretched to other uses. Un cake salé (savory cake) follows the same idea but in place of the fruit, savory fillings are added: cheese, vegetables, meat, fish are a few possible choices.
With the bag of chestnut flour in my hands, I scanned my fridge and found a box of fresh crab purchased for another experiment, I had fresh herbs, pine nuts, scallions and a Coeur du Berry, an excellent heart-shaped goat cheese (Valentine’s day already playing tricks). I had in mind to make a savory cake that would be eaten as finger food, to go along with the leftover of vegetable soup made the day before, and to be used as the basis of sandwiches for our lunch the next day. Organizational thinking, you hear it well! It seemed perfect and it was. The best ideas always seem to come when you expect them the least. The cake turned out excellent, and as planned, I used it for sandwiches the days that followed: sliced, sandwiched with horseradish cream and smoked salmon, bringing an air of Scandinavia in our plate.
And so, what about the movie? The food needs covered, we thought of revisiting the idea and considered seeing it before it would no longer be playing locally. Worst case, wait until it shows up on Netflix. Staying cozily in.
- 3 eggs
- 3.5 oz all-purpose flour
- 2 3/4 oz chestnut flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
- 3.5 oz crab meat
- 2 oz pine nuts
- 2 oz fresh goat cheese (Coeur du Berry)
- 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven at 350 F.
- Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
- Add the baking powder.
- Make a hole in the middle and break the eggs. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the olive oil while mixing and when everything is absorbed, add the buttermilk. Mix until your batter is homogeneous. It should be thick.
- Crumble the cheese.
- Add the herbs, scallions, crab, pine nuts and cheese to the batter. Mix delicately to combine all ingredients.
- Place in a greased rectangular cake mold (or lined with parchment paper) and cook for about 45 to 50 mns.
- Check whether the cake is cooked by inserting the blade of a knife in it (it should come out clean) and let completely cool before unmolding. The cake is fragile.
- 3 oeufs
- 100 g de farine blanche
- 80 g de farine de châtaigne
- 1 sachet de levure chimique
- 2 oignons tige, hachés
- 3 càs de persil haché
- 1 càs de ciboulette hachée
- 100 g de chair de crabe
- 60 g de pignons de pin
- 60 g de fromage de chèvre (Coeur du Berry)
- 10 cl de lait fermenté (lait ribot)
- 10 cl d’huile d’olive
- Sel et poivre
- Préchauffez le four à 180 C.
- Mélangez les 2 farines dans un saladier.
- Ajoutez la levure chimique.
- Faites un puits au milieu et cassez les oeufs, un à un. Mélangez bien.
- Ajoutez ensuite l’huile d’olive, mélangez bien avec une cuiller en bois avant d’ajouter le lait fermenté. Vous obtenez une pâte épaisse.
- Émiettez le fromage.
- Ajoutez les herbes, les oignons, le crabe, les pignons de pin et le fromage.
- Répartissez dans un moule à cake bien beurré (ou recouvert de papier sulfurisé) et enfournez pendant 45 à 50 mns. Vérifiez la cuisson en enfonçant la lame d’un couteau dans le cake (elle doit en ressortir sèche).
- Sortez du four et laissez refroidir avant de démouler. Le cake est fragile.