We kicked off our seasonal French Cooking Class series at Chez Nanou on Monday, January 21st, 2013. Students arrived at 5 pm and after introductions and an orientation to the restaurant, class began promptly. An apron, hand towel, and packet of the recipes for the evening were provided to each student. In keeping with our small class size, each student had their own work station in the kitchen.
Dee & Nanou were so perfectly organized in their preparations, class went smoothly and everyone was able to enjoy their time in a relaxed and fun fashion. We started things off by putting together the Salmon & Leek Pie, our main course. Students helped mix together the pastry dough, clean and prep leeks, skin and dice fresh salmon, and make a Béchamel sauce. After the pie was in the oven we got started on the French Onion Soup. Nanou shared her secret for slicing onions without tears! Students sliced onions and got them sautéing. While the soup simmered, we moved on to dessert…Crêpe Suzette! Everyone got to take a turn making crepes. There is definitely a technique to getting it right and the correct pan is a must! Finally, Nanou demonstrated making the Suzette sauce which was then set aside until assembly time.
Now that the work was done, it was time for dinner. The soup bowls were assembled with herbed croutons made at the beginning of class, topped with the delicious onion soup, and finally with grated Swiss cheese. The bowls were place under the broiler to melt the cheese until slightly golden. Wine was poured and it was time to eat! The students, guests, and chefs sat around a convivial table to enjoy the home cooked food and engage in conversation. The way a Slow Food meal is meant to be. The soup was delicious. Savory and warm with some sweetness from the onions. Thick and hearty from the croutons and cheese. I think I could eat this all winter long!
Moving on to our second course, the pie was golden and gorgeous with perfectly flaky crust. Filled with creamy salmon and leeks, it was the definition of comfort food! The fresh salmon had been mixed with smoked salmon to give the pie some depth of flavor. Nanou taught the students how to make an emulsified mustard vinaigrette from scratch. With this dressing, an arugula salad accompanied each slice of pie. It made a beautiful plate.
Last but not least was dessert. We went brief back to the kitchen where each student was able to create their own authentic Crêpe Suzette, complete with flambéed Grand Marnier. There was a lot of excitement in the kitchen! The crêpes were light and tangy. The perfect end to a lovely meal.
Everyone had a nice time cooking, learning, and eating together. We are so excited to offer this series of classes and are working on an April date for the Spring session! We look forward to having you join us. Bon Apetit!