Recipe of the month: Veal Scallops Comtoise
The cuisine of Franche-Comté draws upon the region’s varied geography (Western Jura mountains, southern Vosges mountains, Saône plains, Bresse) and is mainly composed of cheese, charcuterie and wine. Favorite ingredients are Comté cheese, vin jaune or “yellow wine,” and morchella mushrooms.
Generally, the traditional recipes from Franche-Comté are quite heavy. During long winters in the mountains, such as the Haut-Doubs mountains, people had to produce almost all of their own food. They raised many cows and pigs, and produced their own charcuterie and dairy products. Their dishes are therefore mainly composed of ham and cheese rather than, say, green beans, which are hard to grow in such cold climes.
Franche-Comté is a region with highly varied landscape. Life in the Haute-Saône plains differs a great deal from life in the Jura mountains. As a result, the people feed themselves in very different ways. For example, much more fruit is grown in the orchards of Northern Haute-Saône than in the rest of the département.
The final peculiarity of cooking from Franche-Comté is the disparity; there is essentially no gastronomic specialty of Besançon or Belfort, which are nevertheless among the largest cities in the region. Additionally, in the area surrounding Belfort, which, for many years was attached to Alsace, and where a large share of the population has Alsacien origins, Comtois recipes are used as much as Alsatian recipes (such as for choucroute, or pickled cabbage, even if the cabbage is often replaced by salted turnips).
Ingredients, serves 4 :
• 4 veal scallops,
• 2 tbs oil
• ¼ lb white button or morchella mushrooms,
• 4 slices of smoked cured ham,
• 1½ cups shredded Comté cheese,
• 1 cup of crème fraîche,
• salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Thinly slice the mushrooms and sauté them in a pan with some oil. Set them aside.
3. Season the veal scallops with salt and pepper. Cook the veal scallops in a large pan, about 10 minutes on each side. Place the veal scallops in an oven-proof dish. Cover each scallop with a slice of ham and some shredded cheese.
4. Spoon the crème fraîche over the veal scallops and cover with the remaining grated cheese.
5. Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted, 10-15 minutes.
I’ll end this recipe with an amusing quote from Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974). I wish you all a bon appétit. Until next time!
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Chef de cuisine