Meal of The Week

CHEF JOHN SPEAKS

Version 2

PANDEMIC BASICS

ACRÉME FRAÎCHE IS AS MUCH A STAPLE IN MY KITCHEN AS OLIVE OIL OR LEMONS.  I USE IT AS A THICKENER FOR CREAM SAUCES.  I BLEND IT WITH CHOPPED CHIVES AND STIR IT INTO VICHYSSOISE OR TOMATO SOUP.  ADD SOME TO A SALAD DRESSING WITH SOME PARMESAN FOR A RICHER, CREAMIER DRESSING.  A DOLLOP ON A PLATE OF LEMON TART, CHOCOLATE CAKE OR TART TATIN CUTS THE SWEETNESS.  UNLIKE SOUR CREAM OR YOGURT, IT WON’T BREAK DOWN WHEN YOU COOK IT.  IF OUR DOMESTIC CREAM WAS NOT SO FIERCELY PASTEURIZED, CRÉME FRAÎCHE WOULD BE UBIQUITOUS.  THIS SUMMER I FOUND MYSELF IN MAINE.  NONE OF THE LOCAL MARKETS STOCKED CRÉME FRAÎCHE, BUT I REMEMBERED A RECIPE FROM JOSEF CENTENO’S BACO COOKBOOK — HEAVY CREAM AND BUTTERMILK.  I BLENDED THE TWO IN A MASON JAR, COVERED THE TOP WITH CHEESECLOTH TO ALLOW IT TO BREATHE, ET VOILA, THE NEXT DAY — CRÉME FRAÎCHE.  IT TASTED DELICIOUS, LASTED AS LONG AS COMMERCIAL CRÉME FRAÎCHE AND COST A FRACTION OF THE PRICE TO MAKE.  I’VE SINCE EXPERIMENTED WITH WHOLE MILK YOGURT, WHICH WORKS JUST AS WELL.  TRY BOTH RECIPES AND COMPARE.   YOU’LL NEVER BE WITHOUT CRÉME FRAÎCHE AGAIN!

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