Summer arrived at last on Friday. Glorious skies, bright sunshine, and wonderfully hot, like summer should be. I left my husband, who just arrived back from a business trip, a note. We had a date at 18:00. By the Loire. He was not to be late.
I packed a basket full of niceties, and had it all on the ready when he arrived; All that was left to do, was for him to carry it down to the Loire. We live right opposite the Loire river, the only wild and uncontrolled river left in France, so the walk to our favorite spot took 5 minutes.
…….A fresh baguette, some fleur de sel(or rock salt), a soft olive oil…nothing like a torn off piece of baguette, dipped into olive oil and then into fresh salt. A cold champagne or rather, sparkling wine, from our region. Fruit. And some quick delights, favorites of my husband.(see below for recipes)
Delights: Peaches, prioscutto, scallops and oranges with a saffron mayonnaise.
I don’t have quantities for these snacks. It just comes down to tasting and preferences.
Peach and prioscutto aperitif: Wash some peaches, nectarines and half them, taking out the seed. Cut each half into 3 or 4 slices, depending on the size of the peach. Roll some prioscutto or other ham of your choice around each slice and place on a baking tin. Drizzle with some olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly milled pepper. Grill until the ham is nicely colored and starts to crisp. Arrange on a platter with a basil leaf and a cocktail/toothpick.
Scallop and orange aperitif: Wash some fresh scallops, dry and saute quickly in a hot pan with some coconut oil until caramelized. Don’t overcook, since they quickly go “leathery”. Cut the peel of an orange or two and cut out slices of orange between the membranes. If you prefer, you can leave the orange unpeeled, in which case you’ll half it and cut slices from each half. Add a slice of orange to each scallop and secure with a cocktail stick or toothpick and a chervil leaf. Sprinkle some “fleur de sel” or Kosher salt or rock salt over the scallop.
Saffron mayonnaise: Make your own, it’ll only take 5 minutes – Two egg yolks, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard. Add olive oil(a softly flavored one) in a thin stream while you continue to whisk until the mixture is nice and thick.(about 1 cup) Don’t overbeat or else your mixture might split. Use a softly flavored olive oil or a mixture or olive oil and Canola oil. You can also use a good store bought mayonnaise.
Mix into a bowl about 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Infuse a pinch of saffron threads in about 2 tablespoons of warm water. Stir into the mayonnaise and mix well. The longer the mayonnaise stand, the better it will infuse. Serve alongside the aperitif.
–>Ronell your recipes are devine! Wouldn’t it be lovely to meet in France some day? (I have yet to vist most parts of France).I’m glad you liked my stories of Holland and that you recalled some wonderful memories of visiting there. That’s what life is about, isn’t it? Creating memories to last. Just like your picnic by the river.
–>The pictures with the basket remind me that I have to ask my mom to bring me one next time she comes. It is probably one of the little things I miss the most about home.
Great spread of dishes!
–>Thanks Bonny..I’m sure the ooportunity will be there on day…keep our eyes and ears open!
Thanks Marinette…wish I could bring you a basket!