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Inspiration : a recipe from my home region

I recently came up with a new caviar recipe that was borrowed from a childhood memory of a dish called “pâté à la pomme de terre ». Unlike the traditional meat preparation, this pâté is vegetarian. It was invented in my region called « Le Bourbonnais » at the end of the 18th century – at a time of great famine – to serve in lieu of fish on Fridays. Indeed, the few lakes and ponds being the property of the « bourgeoisie », thus off limits to the people, the latter were left with a small variety of simple ingredients.

Pâté à la pomme de terre is made of short pastry or puff pastry dough, potatoes, parsley, onions (optional) and crème fraiche. The potatoes are cut in thin layers, then mixed with the other ingredients and snuggled in tight layers in the shape of a pie.

I deconstructed the potato pie because I thought it would complement one of our dishes nicely. The layers of potato and cream serve as a base to caviar, which brings a salty, delicate texture to the simple ingredients. For texture contrast, and to stay with the idea of crust and potatoes, I added a layer of brik dough :

Recipe of the traditional “pâté à la pomme de terre” :

You need :

  • 2 lbs of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • short crust or puff pastry dough : 2 round pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • a few fresh thyme sprigs, and a bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper

You will need parchment paper, a brush, and a baking tray.


  1. Preheat your oven at 325°F,
  2. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the chopped onion, parsley, and thyme,
  3. Lay the parchment paper in the baking tray,
  4. Place the short crust dough on top,
  5. Add the potatoes on top to for a 1 inch mound, leaving ½ inch of space around the potatoes to fold in the top layer of dough. Brush that space lightly with water.
  6. Cover with the second layer of dough, making sure that the two layers are sealed properly.
  7. Cut out a small hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney.
  8. Whisk the egg yolk with a tbsp. of water then brush the mixture on the pie.
  9. Bake it at 350°F  for about 45 minutes or unil till the potato is cooked.
  10. Once the pie is cooked, cut a larger circle on the top crust . Pour in the crème fraîche, cover with the cutout piece and leave in the warm –but switched off- oven until the crème fraiche settles in the pie.

Bon appétit!

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I am sure you have heard of this traditional dish from Provence at least once. You might have found it on the menu of a French restaurant here in the Bay Area, tried it during a trip to South East France, or just seen it on screen – even prepared by a mouse!

Ratatouille comes from Nice -the full name of the dish is “Ratatouille Niçoise”.  It is an Occitan dish and is traditionally prepared with eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. The vegetables are combined either at the end or the beginning of the recipe as its name lets us predict – tatouiller in old French means toss together. Now, there is still a debate as to which vegetables are included in the traditional recipe and how to combine them. Some add bell pepper, some others are even more daring with carrots or even mushrooms. Some dice the vegetables, others cut them in thin slices. As for the cooking process, there is still a fiery debate between advocates of separate cooking of each vegetable then mixing and those who like cooking all the vegetables at once. Even the cooking method (pan frying, baking etc.) is left to individual interpretation.

My personal preference goes to simplicity. In all the different versions we favor at Baumé, I limit the number of ingredients to the most traditional ones and play with cooking techniques. In the one seen below, I only use tomatoes, zucchinis and eggplants, and I complement the charbroiled baby vegetables with a candied tomatoes sauce.

At home, using a flameproof casserole,  you can pan fry (separately) coarsely chopped onions, eggplants, zucchinis then toss them together with herbs and add peeled tomatoes as in the recipe below :

Ingredients :

1 large yellow onion

3 mediumItalian eggplants

4 medium green zucchinis

2 medium yellow zucchini squash

2 bell peppers

6 medium sized tomatoes (peeled)

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley

4 sprigs of fresh thyme,

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

4 bay leaves

olive oil, salt pepper.

Steps :

1. Slice the onion,

2. Chop the rest of the vegetables into 1/2 inch dice.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a flameproof casserole over medium heat and start with frying the onions with the garlic. Stir them for about 5 minutes then remove them from the casserole and reserve.

4. Repeat the same process with the eggplants, the zucchinis and the bell pepper.

5. Toss all the vegetables together, then add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, salt pepper and let them simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.

This recipe can be reheated a few times, it gets better and better each time. Enjoy!

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Wild mushroom fricassée: a deconstructed dish

Wild MushroomsAntoine – a.k.a “mushroom guy” – bring us our daily bounty of fragrant, pristine, earthy fungi. Their refined texture and very specific tastes makes them a very versatile vegetable. They make for an exceptionally versatile vegetable thanks to their refined texture and distinct tastes. They can be used either as a side ingredient or in a sauce. Or they can be the star on the plate.

At Baumé Restaurant we just added a new dish to our tasting menu that is inspired from the French traditional recipe “wild mushroom fricassée”. We studied the recipe and deconstructed  it . Then we revisited it so as to enhance each separate flavor, to preserve each fragrant element of the dish, to delight you with a visually appealing plate, and to render the mushrooms’ full fresh taste intact. We were also looking for a brighter, lighter version of the classic.

A classic fricassée is made of butter “noisette” (melting stage when butter has a hint of hazelnut scent), freshly chopped parsley, shallots occasionally . Our version of the recipe – that we call “Arpège Mushrooms” – adorns the mushrooms with butter meringue, dried parsley oil, cilantro vinegar with shallots, garlic confit purée and other spices and condiments :

At home, make sure to wash the mushrooms delicately and let them dry before cooking.  You Should definitely avoid soaking them in water.

I am adding here a classic French recipe for those of you who are curious to try it before discovering our modern version :

Wild Mushroom Fricassée (serves 4) :

1 1/2 lb. of assorted mushrooms (for example : chanterelles, black trumpets, Hedgehogs, Yellowfoot, Beech, Maitake, etc).
3 to 5 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove
2 minced shallots
freshly chopped parsley
freshly chopped chervil (optional)
salt, pepper to taste

1 – Wash the mushrooms and let them dry.
2- In a  large sauté pan, lightly brown the shallots and garlic in 2 tbsp of melted butter.
3- Sauté the mushrooms in batches, each type individually for a couple of minutes : heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large pan over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts browning and has a light hazelnut scent add the first batch of mushrooms. Repeat the procedure with each type of mushrooms.
4- Once all the mushrooms are sauteed add them to the shallots and garlic, add salt, pepper and mix.
5- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and chervil to taste.

This fricassée can be served over polenta or over asparagus for example.

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