Tales from

the Loir

A Weekly Column

 December 19, 2001 - Relais d’Antan


When a Michelin starred chef calls you a gourmand, should you be flattered? When Aprille and I bought a copy of Paul van Gessel’s book, La Cuisine au Naturel, he signed it with the comment, Amities Gourmands. Most English dictionaries define gourmand as some one who is gluttonous or greedy and who eats excessively. But French dictionaries define the term as someone who likes to eat good things. Since we often eat at Chef Gessel’s Relais d’Antan restaurant in Lavardin, I assume he meant that we are people who like to eat well. Certainly everyone who eats at the Relais d’Antan eats well because Paul has worked under the stars for many years. He was chef de partie of the three star Michelin restaurant Charles Barrier in Tours which is an impressive accomplishment. Even more impressive is the two stars that he obtained for the Petit Nice restaurant in Marseilles in 1979 and the one star that he obtained for the La Couronne restaurant in Paris in 1985. He decided to open his own restaurant here in Lavardin in order to lead a less stressful life. Life along the Loir River is generally relaxed but I am not sure a French restaurant would ever be easy.

I asked Paul for one of his stress-less recipes to translate and prepare. It is a little more complicated than spinning a large haunch of meat in front of a fireplace but well worth the effort. There are three white wines of the Loire Valley that go well with this dish, Sancerre, Quincy and Mennetou-Salon. Sancerre is relatively easy to find in the States but the other two are small regions in the Loire Valley that are rarely exported. Suffer with the Sancerre and bon appetit.

La Cuisine au Naturel
Par Paul Van Gessel
Le Relais d’Antan
Lavardin, France

Lobster Lasagna in a chive cream sauce

Ingredients for 6 people

2 kilograms of Lobsters
200 grams of pasta noodles
1 kilogram of leeks
1 bunch of chives
100g of grated gruyere(Swiss) cheese
cumin (caraway)

Ingredients for pasta noodles

200 grams of flour
2 eggs

Ingredients for the lobster sauce

2 carrots
1 onion
1 shallot
1 branch of thyme
2 tomatoes
3 branches of tarragon
2 bulbs of garlic
8 branches of parsley
Cayenne pepper
3 grams of salt
1/2 liter of cream
1 deciliter of a dry white wine

Directions for lobster and leeks

Peel and sauté the lobster tails in butter.
Set aside the heads, legs and shells of the lobster for future use.
Cut the white parts of the leeks in quarters, then wash and cut them in cubes. Put them in a bowl and season with salt and cumin. Add and pat of butter and a little water. Cover with saran wrap plastic and cook for 4 minutes 30 seconds in a microwave oven.

Directions for pasta noodles

Put the flour in a bowl and add the eggs one by one while mixing thoroughly. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for one hour. Roll the dough very then and cook in salty water for 7 or 8 minutes. Drain and cut the pasta in pieces 8 centimeter by 5 centimeters.

Directions for the lobster sauce

Crush the heads, legs and shell of the lobsters.
Cut the carrots, onions and shallots into small cubes.
Crush the tomatoes, garlic, tarragon and parsley.
Put the carrots, onions, shallots, some thyme and rock salt in peanut oil. Add the crushed lobster parts and cook for 2 minutes together. Moisten it with 1 deciliter of dry white wine and for 2 minutes in order to evaporate the acidity of the wine. Add the cream then the crushed tomatoes, garlic, tarragon and Cayenne pepper.
Bring it to a boil and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, then let it soak for 1/2 hour.
Strain it through a strainer and check for seasoning.
In a soup bowl, put a layer of leeks, a layer of noodle, another layer of leeks, then the lobster tails. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Brown lightly.
Cover with the rest of the noodles, then the rest of the cheese. Brown again.
Pour the lobster sauce to which you have already added the chopped chives.

Lasagna de langoustines à la crème de ciboulette
Par Paul Van Gessel
Le Relais d’Antan

Un authentique régal qui inspire bien des grands chefs, à commencer par Paul Van Gessel, grande toque étoilée parisienne, ayant fuit le vacarme de la capitale pour installer ses fourneaux à Lavardin, l’un de nos plus beaux villages de France. Un écrin à la mesure du talent de ce chef qui, en son charmant « Relais d’Antan », nous offre une bien belle cuisine inspirée, aussi goûteuse, qu’élégant et légère.

6 personnes

2 kg de langoustines
200 g de pâte à nouilles
1 kg de poireaux
1 botte de ciboulette
100 g de gruyère râpé
cumin

Pâte à nouilles

200 g de farine
2 œufs

Crème de langoustines

2 carottes
1 oignon
1 échalote
1 branche de thym
2 tomates
3 branches, d’estragon
2 gousses d’ail
8 brins de persil
poivre de Cayenne
3 g de sel
1/2 l de crème fleurette
1 dl de vin blanc sec


Décortiquer et poêler les queues de langoustines au beurre. Conserver les têtes, les pattes et les carapaces. Couper les blancs de poireaux en quatre, les laver et les couper en dés. Les mettre dans un saladier et assaisonner avec le sel et le cumin. Ajouter une noix de beurre et un peu d’eau. Couvrir d’un film et cuire 4 minutes 30 au four à micro-ondes.

Pour la pâte à nouilles

Mettre dans un saladier la farine et ajouter les œufs un à un en mélangeant bien. Laisser reposer 1 heure au réfrigérateur. Abaisser la pâte au plus fine et cuire dans l’eau salée 7 à 8 minutes.
Égoutter et couper en morceaux de 8 cm sur 5 cm.

Pour la crème

Concasser les têtes, pattes, et carapaces.
Couper en petits dés les carottes, les oignons et les échalotes. Concasser les tomates, les gousses d’ail, l’estragon et le persil. Faire revenir dans l’huile d’arachide les carottes, l’oignon, l’échalote, le thym et le gros sel.
Ajoutez les concassés de langoustines et faire cuire 2 minutes ensemble. Mouiller avec 1 dl de vin blanc sec et faire cuire 2 minutes pour enlever l’acidité du vin.
Rajouter la crème fleurette puis les concasses de tomates, gousses d’ail, estragon et poivre de Cayenne.
Porter à ébullition, laisser cuire 2 minutes et infuser 1/2 heure. Passer ensuite au chinois. Vérifier l’assaisonnement. Dans une assiette creuse, disposer un lit de poireaux, une chouche de pâte a nouilles, de nouveau un lit de poireaux, puis les langoustines, saupoudrer avec la moitié des fromages. Gratiner légèrement.
Couvrir avec le reste de la pâte a nouilles puis le reste du formage.
Gratiner légèrement.
Couvrir avec le reste de la pâte a nouilles puis le reste du fromage.
Gratiner de nouveau. Verser la crème de langoustines a laquelle vous avez ajoute la ciboulette, hachée.


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December 12, 2001 - Winter Foods
 December 5, 2001 - Steak and Kidney Pudding
 November 28, 2001 - Pigs III
 November 21, 2001 - Pigs II
 November 14, 2001 - Pigs
 October 31, 2001 - The Ghost of Chateau Chevre
 October 25 - Battle of Poitiers
 August 22, 2001 - Confrerie
 August 15, 2001 - Liberation
 August 8, 2001 - Le Cyclop
 August 1, 2001 - The Finger
July 25, 2001 - La Resistance
July 18, 2001 - System D
July 11, 2001 - The Accident
July 4, 2001 - Ange Pitou
June 27, 2001 - Feu de Saint Jean
June 20, 2001 - Geoffroy Martel
June 13, 2001 - Saint of the Day
June 6, 2001 - Escapade dans le Berry
May 30, 2001 - Learning French
May 23, 2001 - Pete and Manny
May 16, 2001 - Les Journees des Aubepines
May 8, 2001 - Armistice Day
May 2, 2001 - May Day
April 25, 2001 - Les Manouches
April 18, 2001 - Trôo
April 11, 2001 - Le P'tit Jules
April 4, 2001 - Men and Their Caves 
Archive of Weekly Columns Jan-Apr 2001
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000
 

       

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