In France it is difficult to talk about French cuisine as a unified whole. There are different cooking styles and many regional traditions. Cheese, wine and meats occupy an exceptional place in French cuisine. Many products carry a quality label such as "organic farming" or "appellation of origin."
Cecile and Fancois Attard's menus are from the south-west region of France. Both were born and raised in Pergueux (click English) in the Perigord district near Bordeaux (click for pictures), where Cecile was a hairdresser and Francois a policeman.
They came to the USA several times for vacation between 2008 and 2012 staying with friends in Belmont, and they soon fell in love with New England.
A few years ago they sold all their possessions in France and started MA France, a French delicatessen store, on Massachusetts Avenue across from Berman's Fine Wines.
Francois became a specialist in French cheeses - there are just as many varieties as there are French wines - and Francois and Cecile know the French products very well. Francois grew up on a farm and loves all the French foods. (You may have tasted their products at the "A French A Faire" auction at the Depot in February.)
Why did they choose Lexington? According to Francois, Lexington is a very Francophile town writhe many French companies. Let's not forget the longstanding sister city relationship with the town of Antony near Paris and the coming of the future "Antony Park French garden" in Tower Park in Lexington.
In addition according to Cecile unlike Italians and Asians living in Lexington it is very difficult for French people to find native French products.
Salade geziers au Cabécou
Confit duck legs with potatoes sarladaise
Cheese board selection
1 Cabécou (goat cheese)
1 Batavia lettuce (leafy)
1 pound duck gizzards
1/4 pound sliced bacon
1/2 cup walnuts
4 slices of French baguette
Wash the lettuce, cut into strips and set aside.
Cut the Cabécou in slices and put on a slice of bread.
Heat in microwave for one minute.
Sauté the bacon and gizzards separately to eliminate excess fat.
Place ingredients in a bowl, season with a classic vinaigrette dressing (or use oil and vinegar)
Eat the salad, topped with walnuts, while the bacon and gizzards are still warm.
4 duck legs confit
2 pounds of potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 jar of ceps or porcini (mushrooms)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and slice the potatoes into medium-sized slices.
Peel and finely chop the garlic.
Cook the potatoes and garlic in a pan. Place the duck legs in the pan skin side down. Brown for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.
Place a sheet of parchment paper in a baking dish.
Once the legs are golden, drain them over the pan and put them in the baking dish. The parchment paper absorbs the fat.
Leave a little of the duck fat in the pan. Set the garlic and potatoes aside (it will be a side dish)
Salt and pepper lightly.
Cook for the legs for 20-25 min. Check and turn them regularly.
In the meantime rinse and drain the mushrooms. Wash, dry and finely chop the parsley.
Add the mushrooms and parsley to the legs 5 minutes before finished cooking the legs. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Then preheat oven to 350 F.
Put the duck legs in the oven with the potatoes and garlic.
Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot. (In France they sometimes divide the "potatoes sarladaises" in mini casserole dishes)
The French often have cheese in between the main meal and dessert. The picture shows a selection of the most popular ones, such as Brie (cow's milk), Rocquefort (sheep's milk, Pont L'Eveque (cow's milk), Comte (cow's milk), Picandou (goat's milk), Picolin (goat's milk) and Brique du Nord (cow's milk).
Ingredients: (for 12 "cabbages")
For the choux pastry (profiteroles)
3 oz unsalted butter
4 oz flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400F
Heat butter, water and sugar in a saucepan.
When everything is melted add the flour and salt and mix well with a wooden spoon (dough should not stick to spoon or pan)
Take off the heat.
Add eggs one at a time. Stir until smooth each time.
Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
Lightly grease the baking sheet.
Place dough in small piles (Use pastry bag or two spoons)
Bake 20 - 25 minutes.
For the chocolate sauce
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken in pieces
1/4 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of butter
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler pan.
Remove from heat. Add the butter and whisk.
For the filling cream - do ahead
1 pint of cream
1/4 of a cup of powdered sugar
1 packet of vanilla sugar (or use vanilla)
Whip the cream with the sugar, refrigerate.
(Or use zest fromn one orange instead of sugar. Others also use ice cream or custard for the filling)
When the profiteroles are cold prick the base of each with a skewer.
Place them back onto baking sheet with the hole in the base facing upwards. Return to oven for 5 minutes (Warm air of the oven helps to dry out the middle of the profiteroles)
Then use a piping bag to pipe the cream into the profiteroles.
Place the stuffed profiteroles in a large serving dish and pour over the chocolate sauce. Serve hot or cold.