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
Bleu Waldorf Petrale Sole with Apple, Celery, Walnut
Wishing You a Sweet New Year
My Rosh Hashanah main dish was inspired by the classic Waldorf Salad, a combination of apples, celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise. The salad was first created in the late 1800s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. This modern twist uses the mayonnaise as sauce for the fish and includes bleu cheese for a punch of flavor.
To observe Rosh Hashanah, symbolic foods such as honey, apples, and carrots are served. They represent blessings, abundance, and the hope for a sweet year ahead. Fish is a part of the Rosh Hashanah meal, for it is an ancient symbol of fertility and prosperity and also represents knowledge since its eyes are always open. As we reflect on our lives, values, and relationships – the festive symbolic meal is an integral component of the Rosh Hashanah celebration.
1 c. white wine (I like inexpensive, yet still tasty Pinot Grigio for cooking)
1 c. fish stock or bottled clam juice
6 T. butter
Toasted sesame oil
Heat the wine, stock and butter on high to cook off the alcohol, turn down to simmer and add halved baby bok choy. Cover. Cook about 5 minutes until the bok choy is tender. Remove boy choy to a platter. Turn up the heat and further reduce the sauce. Finish with a splash of soy sauce and a splash of toasted sesame oil.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, dust with flour and dip in egg. While the braising liquid is reducing, sauté the fish fillets in miso butter. I am showing this bird’s-eye view of my stovetop because I am the proud recipient of a 5 pc. set of SCANPAN Ceramic Titanium Professional Cookware made in Denmark. It is elegant and awesome, the improved non-stick surface allows for the use of any utensil, including metal utensils. A big thank you to Heather and the folks at SCANPAN!
Left: 10 1/4″ Fry Pan – sautéing fish
Front right: 6 1/2 qt. Dutch Oven (comes with cover) – reducing braising liquid
Back right: 3 qt. saucepan (with cover) – steaming white rice
Cast stainless steel handles stay cool longer. The set came with these nifty handle covers, but I found that the handles were fine on their own. Robin and Jimmy over at Caviar and Codfish blog are hosting a Scanpan giveaway. I highly recommend participating! Now, my first foray with the new Scanpan was with scrambled eggs.
The scrambled eggs were extraordinarily creamy. They cooked differently than in my usual non-stick pan. I wish I could explain the difference… the pan seems to me to be slipperier? Anyway, I was very impressed. They soon will have another line available for induction cooktops, can’t wait for that! My favorite way to serve scrambled eggs, I enjoyed it this way at a hotel in Mexico City many years ago. With all things green: cilantro, salsa verde, sliced avocado with lime. Tortillas and coffee too.
Back to bok choy: Alternate the bok choy up and down on a platter. Ladle hot braising liquid on top. Then place the fish on top of the bok choy and serve with steamed white rice on the side.
I am sending this dish over to my blogger friend Simona of Briciole blog as she is hosting Fresh Produce of the Month Event and this month, it’s cabbage! And to my other friend Lore of Culinarty, for her Original Recipe Round-Up. Do check out these fun monthly events.
1 stick butter (softened)
2 – 3 T. white miso
1 1/2 t. garlic minced
1 1/2 t. fresh ginger minced
Mix all ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor. Miso butter has a complex and intriguing flavor. I used it to sauté this fish, also on vegetables, noodles (great on soba noodles), in corn ramen soup (more on that later), or try a pat of miso butter on your grilled steak.
I am such a fan of this miso butter, I gave it as a Christmas gift. What? You gave butter as a gift? I did, and it was totally appreciated (so I was told), especially in this little pot with lid.