Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 105th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday here on Taste With The Eyes for the past 10 years.
Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948. I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it every year in August, with some minor changes, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including her recipe for Sole Meunière.
The text is as she describes her meal to us inMy Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006. The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place almost 70 years ago.
Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…
Julia Child’s First Meal in France and Sole Meunière
Grilled Oysters with BBQ Sauce, Bacon, and Bleu Cheese
Are you ready for this? Grilled Oysters with BBQ Sauce and Bacon and Bleu Cheese? Crassostrea Gigas (Pacific Oysters) from Oregon’s Netarts Bay have plump tender meats with a clean-salty pronounced flavor, and a lingering finish.
Their deep cups makes them great for grilling. So fire up the grill and cook the oysters with the cup side down to retain the juices until they snap, crackle, and pop!
Carefully shuck these chubby bivalves then sprinkle with a generous mouthwatering portion of crumbled bacon and bleu cheese. A drizzle of smoky sweet tangy spicy BBQ Sauce will pull it all together for one big bold amazing mouthful. Let’s do it.
There is beauty and simplicity in this raw dish. It is a balancing act of sweet and savory, fiery chili and chilly fluke, white fish and colorful accompaniments, rich buttery oil and sour lemon juice, crunchy cucumber and chewy candied orange.
A member of the flounder family – fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw with olive oil and citrus juice. Candied orange slices bring a sweet-tart unexpected counterbalance to the dish.
Our fluke crudo with Korean picked radish, nasturtium, and gochugaru vinaigrette was such a hit, we had to share another. A member of the flounder family, fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw (known as hirame sushi). While dragon fruit also has a mild flavor, it has unique visual appeal, esoteric charm, and a cool name. The taste is enhanced by the delightful Meyer lemon sweet-tart vinaigrette. Together, fluke and dragon fruit make a stunning raw dish.
Borage, my favorite edible flower, is very versatile as a garnish due to the light cucumbery flavor that can be paired with either sweet or savory dishes. And the striking blue color and star shape make every dish pop. Borage grows like a weed in my Southern California garden. I simply sprinkle seeds in a sunny spot, water regularly, et voilà!
Meyer lemon rinds are soft and edible. This lemon’s texture and lemony-orange flavor pairs wonderfully with the fresh fish. Cold fish and warm weather – an uncomplicated dish with fresh ingredients is simple, harmonious, and spring-pretty.
Gochugaru Vinaigrette, Korean Pickled Radish, Bird’s Eye Chili
Luxardo Cherry, Scallion, Nasturtium
Its texture is firm and smooth and the taste is mild, fluke is an excellent fish to serve raw, Italian style – with oil, acid, and salt.
An intensely flavorful vinaigrette of olive oil and toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and mirin, is enhanced with gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder. The coarsely ground powder is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers.
Korean yellow pickled radish, danmuji, brings sweet, sour and crispy notes while dark Italian Luxardo cherries add a dense, chewy sweet-tart unexpected counterbalance to the fish.
Finished with whimsical scallion curls and petite peppery-green nasturtium leaves, this Korean-Italian raw fish dish has delightful visual appeal and complementary global flavors.
Gefilte Fish made with love…for Passover, for our beloved family, for our cherished friends. While the gefilte fish doesn’t appeal to everyone at the Seder (to put it mildly) it does have a time-honored place on the Passover menu.
It could have something to do with nostalgia and the memory of my Nana’s gefilte fish from Passovers long ago…but I love those fishy balls poached with carrots and onion now served with chrain, matzohs, and a delicious beet salad with citrus and walnuts. Especially when they’re made by Geri!
Several guests at our Seder adore the perennially controversial appetizer, while others politely refrain, due to its “ahem, fishiness” – but we all have to appreciate that it is made in respect for age-old customs and tradition, and ultimately made with love.
This year, I asked my dear Cousin Geri, who has been making our gefilte fish for decades, if she would share her recipe. It simply rocks. What took me so long to ask?