Teaching history, regions and cooking, the cookbook French Comfort Food written by Hillary Davis covers many of my favorite topics, including economical dishes common to French households. Beautifully illustrated with photographs by Steven Rothfeld, the book is more than just a cookbook. Reading, I learned why different regions of France enjoy different delicacies, often dependent upon the goods that the area can produce. I discovered how the location of places influences the style of cooking. Whether a place is closer to Germany or Spain highly influences the types of foods that people prefer. While learning more about a country that has always intrigued me, I tried a recipe for a flambéed chocolate omelet. In the photo gallery, you can see play by play coverage of how I cooked the dish.
French Comfort Food
Too Good to Resist
With Valentine’s day on the horizon, I tried a romantic, festive dish to inspire readers. The dish was simple. To make the omelet, I used 3/4 a cup of semisweet chocolate, 3/4 a cup of heavy cream, nine eggs, six tablespoons of powdered sugar with some extra sprinkled on top, half a teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of unsalted, European-style butter. The recipe only called for six eggs, so I increased the amount of each ingredient by roughly 150%.
As I cooked, I put the chocolate in a smaller cooking pot that I placed in a larger cooking pot that contained heating water. Previously, I used this method in high school to create truffles for my French language class. Since the chocolate didn’t touch the bottom of the pan, it didn’t become overheated and burn at all. Instead, the chocolate became an ooey, gooey delicious mixture that I put in a bowl with the eggs, cream, powdered sugar and salt. I put the butter in a saucepan, let it heat and added the mixture.
Flambéing was the exciting part of the meal. Watching the omelet catch fire, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure whether the omelet could burn or whether I would need to blow the fire out. Within 30 seconds, the fire went out by itself. The next day, since I had some practice, I tried the meal a second time when I was much more comfortable flambéing the omelet. I much enjoyed the visual aspect of the dish.
To a family accustomed to traditional cheesy eggs, a side of bacon and a chocolate pancake, the dish initially sounded eclectic. I imagined that it could taste too eggy, but I was wrong. I ate every bit without a second thought. The taste was divine. All of the ingredients balanced each other nicely.
While I didn’t flambé the kids’ meals, I did make them small dishes as part of their breakfast. Obviously, eggs smothered with chocolate and powdered sugar became a household favorite to my kids. The meal wasn’t healthy, but I rationalized the meal because by skipping pancakes, we avoided some flour and carbs.
Since I’ve only tried cooking with the book out for a week, I wanted to introduce the book by showing the first recipe I attempted. I am launching a giveaway that will last for a month, through February 11th, so you can win the cookbook for free. As I try more recipes, I hope to continue to post about the successes I have in learning to cook French comfort food.
Published by Gibbs Smith, the book is an absolute delight.