Thursday, April 28, 2016

Recipes by Jacques Cousteau: Gateau au Citron; Entrecote and Pommes Frites Calypso

Jacques Cousteau's Gateau au Citron

1/2 cup butter
Scant 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1. Cream sugar and butter together. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon juice and rind.

2. Sift together cake flour and baking powder. Add to lemon mixture, beating well. Pour into buttered-floured 9-inch cake pan. Bake in preheated  400 degrees oven until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on wire cake rack. Ice with lemon icing (use 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind and enough water to give icing a spreadable quality). Serves 4.

Thoughts: This classic French sweet is made by weighing the eggs and measuring equal weights of sugar flour and butter. For convenience, approximate American measurements are given. French cooks bake the cake in special quatre quarts molds.

Jacques Cousteau's Entrecote and Pommes Frites Calypso

For the steak:

4 large club (or Delmonico) steaks (cut at least 1-inch thick)
1 tbsp. butter (or chicken fat)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup liquid (beef bouillon, dry red wine or water)
Large pat of sweet butter

1. Trim off excess fat from meat. Cut small gashes around outer edge of steaks (to prevent steaks from curling while cooking). Dry steaks well on paper towels.

2. Put butter and oil in large skillet; heat until butter stops foaming. Pan broil steaks 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove to heated platter; season well with salt and pepper.

3. Deglaze skillet with liquid; cook over medium heat. Add butter and heat until butter is melted. Pour over steak as sauce (or serve with flavored butter--parsley, chives, shallot or anchovy).

For the pommes frites:

1. Peel about 2 lbs. potatoes and cut into julienne strips. Cover with cold water; refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Drain and dry potatoes well between layers of paper toweling.

2. Heat about 2 quarts peanut (or vegetable) oil in deep a saucepan to 375 degrees F. Drop in a few potatoes at a time (make sure fat is hot enough each time before adding more potatoes). Cook until golden. Drain, salt, serve at once. Serves 4-6.

Thoughts: Entrecote, a French beef cut, refers to the rib or rib eye steak from the rib-roast section. Club or Delmonico steak from the rib section of the short loin is a close American equivalent. Traditionally, the French are inclined to pan broil the meat using rendered beef fat rather than oven broiling. The steak can be cut thin or thick, with or without the bone, to taste. Serve with a good Bordeaux or Burgundy wine. 

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