Tête à tête with François Pasteau
Last week, we gave tips on how to eat fish in a sustainable way. This week, we asked specialists to provide advice and recipes.
Let's start with the first one - François Pasteau - chef of the restaurant l'Epi du Pin, in the sixth district of Paris. François Pasteau works in collaboration with SeaWeb in order to propose a sustainable cuisine on a daily basis. He explains how overfishing modified his cooking habits and how much still needs to be done in terms of awareness.
KENZINE: What are the things you check when you buy fish?
François Pasteau: I usually pay attention to three different things. First, I make sure the fish have sustainable stocks. Second, I verify the techniques that are used to catch the fish to make sure that they do not have a negative impact on the environment, especially that they avert unnecessary catch. Third, the size of the species you buy are a crucial issue. You need to be responsible and buy fish that have reached their sexual maturity size.
K: How has overfishing modified your cooking habits over the past 20 years?
F. P.: s soon as I heard about the overfishing of Mediterranean Bluefin tuna, I took it off my menus, even though it was a fish my customers loved. I then realized that a lot of marine species were endangered and I became interested in the issue as I wanted to make sure that I would serve sustainable species to my customers. I also stopped serving other species such as European skate and I started cooking other species that I had not served before but that were sustainable: black sea brim, pollock, mullet…
K: What species of fish would you never buy?
F. P.: I gave up buying and cooking bluefin tuna and skate for instance.
K: Name certain species of fish that are ok to buy.
F. P.: It is ok to buy Atlantic sardines, mackerels, pollock, coalfish…
K: Same questions for other types of seafood?
F. P.: You can buy scallops, oysters and mussels.
K: Do you think diversity might be one key to the problem?
F. P.: Diversity is of course an important aspect. We have to eat different species and diversify the kind of fish that the consumers can buy to reduce the pressure on overfished and overeaten species (such as cod). The more diverse the fish consumers eat, the more diverse the species that are fished. That is why our actions as chefs are important, because they can impact the entire industry, in particular as far as the fishermen and the consumers are concerned. We have a pedagogical role to play, as we can make our customers aware of overfishing. We can make them discover less known species by putting them on our menus, so that the next time they go to their fishmonger, they can ask for new species they have sampled and loved after having eaten in our restaurant.
K: Do you consider that overfishing has already damaged French culinary heritage?
F. P.: I don’t think that our cooking traditions and practices have been hampered, quite the opposite actually. Emphasis on overfishing has contributed to having the chefs who felt concerned about sustainability turn to new fish species. Some fish have been discovered or rediscovered. In this respect, our cooking traditions have been broadened since we had to create new recipes for the new species! Yet it is sure that our marine heritage, its diversity and its biological treasures are being damaged. It is urgent to reverse the tendency.
K: What are the classical recipes of French cuisine you cannot cook anymore if you want to advocate sustainable fishing?
F. P.: Certain recipes that are often taught in cooking schools should be avoided, such as skate with capers and brown butter.
K: On a long term perspective, what could be the effects of overfishing on cuisine or gastronomy in France?
F. P.: Overfishing does represent a risk for our gastronomic heritage. Indeed, if we do not protect endangered fish today, they might disappear completely, and that would be a terrible loss since we would not be able to cook recipes that are the treasures of our cooking traditions and practices.
K: Do you feel like the French community of fishermen is concerned by the problem?
F. P.: Fishermen are starting to become aware of the problem, but there is still a lot to be done. Awareness needs to be stronger and habits have to change fast.
K: Same question for the fishmongers?
F. P.: Fishmongers are starting to become aware of the importance of sustainable fishing. They could be more involved if the customers, by refusing to buy fish whose stocks are endangered, would drive them to mainly sell sustainable fish.
K: How do you think you can impact consumers habits at your level, first on your menu and then in your restaurants?
F. P.: I think it is important to raise awareness by communicating on the issue: I tell my customers about the species I have on my menu and those I have taken off it, I have them discover new species that they are not used to eating… I want to see their mouths water! I have them taste species that the public no longer knows about or has forgotten. Ultimately, the goal is to have them feel like doing these recipes at home again and to have them making sustainable individual choices.
K: Do you think that public awareness could be easily educated with food being so popular on tv, on Instagram, blogs, etc.?
F. P.: Everything would indeed be much easier if the people responsible for these programs and their content would take seafood sustainability seriously. That is not the case unfortunately. The media do however have a huge role to play and they have done so before with other products. Yet it seems to me that the consumers are not enough aware of the problems of overfishing as the topic is not tackled enough in the press. Too many popular shows are still suggesting recipes that use species known as endangered.
Interview done in collaboration with SeaWeb Europe.
Slices of scallops and raw porcini mushrooms
8 large raw scallops without their coral
8 large fresh porcini mushrooms
4 tsp. hazelnut oil
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. elderberry syrup
Fine sea salt
4 slices of farmhouse bread
Ask your fish merchant to extract the scallops from their shells, remove the coral and clean them. Then pass the scallops under running water, wipe them and set them aside in a cool place in an airtight container.
Brush the mushrooms (but without washing them) and cut off the earthy parts of the feet. Store the feet in a cool place for later use
(in an omelet or a soup, for example).
On a work surface, cut the mushrooms into thin slices approx. 3mm thick.
Bring out the scallops and cut them into slices of the same thickness.
On the plates, alternate slices of scallops and of mushrooms in decreasing rows, add a little salt.
Mix the oils and the elderberry syrup in a bowl.
Pour the mixture generously over the scallop and mushroom preparation and sprinkle with chives. Add pepper.
Serve straight away with a slice of freshly-toasted farmhouse bread.
THE X FACTOR
Curry kimonos filled with chicken, Shimeji mushroom and grape
2 chicken escalopes
30 white grapes, halved
200 g Shimeji mushrooms or small chanterelles
4 sheets of warka (brik) pastry
20 g butter
Thai green curry:
2 tbsp green curry
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 kaffir lime leaf (fresh or dried)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch of salt
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
Prepare the curry: combine all curry ingredients and set aside.
Wipe or quickly rinse the mushrooms. Heat the butter in a saucepan or frying pan and add the mushrooms. Sweat for 5-6 mins, stirring gently at regular intervals. Set aside.
In the same pan, sauté the grapes until just golden. Set aside.
Again using the same pan, add the curry paste, half of the mushrooms and half of the grapes. Combine and heat the mixture for 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat a little oil in a pan, sauté the chicken escalopes for 3 mins on each side until golden and add a little salt.
Remove from the heat and slice the chicken into thin strips (the meat should be pink). Combine with the curry, grape and mushroom mixture.
Preheat the oven to 180° (Thermostat 6).
Roll out the sheets of warka pastry on a dry surface, dot with the mixture and follow the diagram to fold into kimonos.
Use the oil to grease the bottom of a baking pan and glaze each kimono parcel all over. Bake in the center of the oven for 8-10 mins, taking care not to overcook.
Remove the kimonos from the oven as soon as they turn golden in color.
Arrange on the center of each plate surrounded by the remaining mushrooms and grapes (the mixture should be kept warm).
Combine the curry powder and brown sugar in a bowl.
Use a sieve to dust over the kimonos as a finishing touch.
Sushi rice with seared salmon and broiled fish skin
1 skinless fillet of salmon weighing 200g
1 whole salmon skin with scales (ask your fishmonger)
4 tsp sesame seeds
300g round rice
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Rinse the rice in a sieve with cold water, moving around until the water runs out clear. Leave to sit for 30 minutes.
Place the rice in a pot and cover with 20 cl of water. Seal tightly with a lid and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Boil for 5 mins.
Reduce heat and simmer for another 10 mins. Remove the lid and leave to sit.
Heat the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Leave to cool once the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the rice to a bowl to let it cool and gently incorporate the vinegar mixture. Cover with a wet cloth until ready to serve.
Preheat a little oil in a pan. Add the salmon, cover and sear for 5-6 mins. Make sure it is rare in the middle.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Line a baking pan with a greased sheet of aluminum foil. Rub the salmon skin with sesame oil and broil in the pan for around 10 mins. Watch for the skin to turn crispy and golden.
Gently flip the skin and broil the other side for 3-4 mins.
Remove the skin from the broiler, flip again and leave to cool.
Once the skin has cooled, cut into strips 3(4?) centimeters thick using kitchen scissors. Set aside.
Break up the salmon in a bowl.
Cut the broiled skin into 12 evenly sized strips (approx. 10 cm by 2 cm).
On each plate arrange three small mounds of vinegar rice (approx. 8 cm by 2 cm). Crumble on the salmon and top with a strip of skin.
Garnish with sesame seeds or edible gold glitter (found in Japanese stores).
Add soy sauce to taste.
Once again inspired by India, our recipe of the week is a fish curry colored black with squid ink. Enjoy!
Black curry cod loin fillets with squid ink rice
For four people
4 cod loin fillet slices of about 200g each
3 packets of squid ink (available in Italian food stores)
6 tbsp black curry
1 cup coconut milk
4 cups Basmati rice
4 gray shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 liters court bouillon (or if not, prick a peeled onion with a clove and add it to a pot with a branch of thyme, a bay leaf, a few stalks of parsley, the juice of half a lemon, a pinch of sea salt and four black peppercorns. Pour in the same amount of water and boil)
Neutral vegetable oil
1 small bunch of fresh dill, to garnish
4 naan breads (available in Indian food stores)
Place the cod fillet slices in a medium-sized bowl and coat them well with coconut milk.
Leave them to marinate.
Heat the court bouillon in a medium pot.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pot and sauté the shallots until lightly browned.
Add the rice and stir over medium heat.
Pour half of the bouillon into the rice mixture gradually, adding a little more each time the liquid is absorbed as you would for a risotto. Pour the second half of the bouillon in all at once. Turn the heat down to low and cook for approximately fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. The rice should become creamy. Check the seasoning. Cover and maintain at room temperature.
Drain the cod fillet slices, reserving the coconut milk.
Put the cod fillet slices into a steam cooker or steamer basket and steam at medium heat for eight to ten minutes. To make sure the fillets are done, pierce the center of one with a toothpick: it should be tender.
Keep the cod fillet slices warm.
Warm two of the squid ink packets in a water bath and incorporate their contents into the rice.
Add the contents of the third packet to the coconut milk and heat the mixture over low heat, stirring regularly.
Reheat the rice separately over low heat, stirring regularly.
Coat the cod fillet slices with black curry.
To serve, arrange the rice and cod fillet slices on each plate and garnish with a streak of the black coconut mixture. Add a small stalk of dill for a finishing touch.
Serve immediately with a side of warm naan bread.
This week KENZINE shares with you its recipe of a refreshing cocktail, the Blue Goa, an ode to the blue waters beaches of this Indian state that inspired the Fall/Winter 2013 collection.
For four thirsty guests
1 liter water
250g fine granulated sugar
Zest of two organic oranges
2 dl blue Curaçao
15 green cardamom seeds (available in Indian food stores and delicatessens)
Juice of 1 lime
Rinse the oranges, remove the zest, and chop the zest into very thin strips. You may keep the pulp of the fruit for another use.
Place the orange zest in a pot and add the water, sugar, and cardamom seeds.
Gently heat the mixture to fully dissolve the sugar and maintain it at a low heat for eight to ten minutes.
Filter the mixture through a fine sieve to obtain a clear liquid.
Chill for at least two hours in the refrigerator.
Pour the mixture into a pitcher, add the blue Curaçao and lime juice, and stir.
To garnish, mix two tablespoons of sugar with a few drops of Curaçao, and rim chilled glasses in this mixture before serving.
Drink with moderation.
In continuation of our recipes inspired by Indian cuisine, we share with you the Golden Dahl, a rich nourishing lentil stew.
Appetizer / Entree
For four people
500g cleaned, peeled butternut squash
150g yellow lentils
30g golden raisins
2 bunches of small spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 small branch of thyme
1 bay leaf
25cl coconut milk
3 tbsp Sambar spices or Thali curry (available in Indian food stores)
1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
1 1/2 liters chicken or vegetable stock
Neutral vegetable oil such as colza or sunflower oil
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Cut the squash into regular cubes of approximately 2cm each.
Peel the onions and, if they are large, cut them in half. You may reserve the stems for another use.
Crush the cloves of garlic.
Rinse the lentils and drain them well.
Heat the chicken or vegetable stock.
Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with a ladleful of hot stock. Leave them to soften for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pot that you will be able to cover in the next steps.
Sweat the onions in the pot over medium heat and add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Stir the mixture and then immediately add the squash, thyme, and bay leaf. Add a pinch of salt. You may have to add a little more oil to keep the vegetables from sticking.
When the vegetables are sautéed, add the lentils. Stir the mixture and immediately add the hot stock. Cover and boil gently for 30 minutes.
Add the strained raisins and coconut milk and heat gently to bring the mixture up to temperature. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediately in large bowls, sprinkled with chopped coriander.
Petit Comité imagined for you recipes inspired by the Fall/Winter women's collection. This week we pay tribute to India, one of the biggest influence in the collection, with a traditional yet twisted duck recipe, red like one of the main colors at KENZO this season.
Tandoori duck carpaccio
Appetiser / Entree
For four people
2 large duck breasts
3 tsp Tandoori paste (available in Indian food stores)
3 tsp honey
2 handfuls of red chicory and/or red leaf lettuce
25g dried cranberries
25g slivered almonds
3 tsp sherry vinegar
Neutral flavour vegetable oil such as colza or sunflower oil
Freshly ground Malabar peppercorns (available in Indian food stores and delicatessens)
Sear the duck breasts, skin side down, in a hot pan without adding any additional fat. At regular intervals (at least three or four times as the meat cooks), pour off the fat emitted from the searing process. When the skin is golden brown and has finished giving off fat, turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking on low heat for four to six minutes. Lightly salt both sides. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
Mix the honey, Tandoori paste and two tablespoons of the vinegar in a medium-sized bowl.
Thinly slice the duck breasts, removing any remaining fat but leaving the crispy skin attached.
Add the slices to the marinade and blend to cover them completely. Marinate the slices at room temperature for an hour to an hour and a half, turning them occasionally.
Remove the slices of duck breast from the marinade and place them on paper towels, blotting them lightly. Set the rest of the marinade aside.
Wash and dry the lettuce.
Finely slice the cranberries and the almonds.
Prepare the vinaigrette by combining a bit of oil and the remaining tablespoon of vinegar with four tablespoons of the marinade and a pinch of salt, then adding half of the almonds and cranberries to this mixture.
Arrange the lettuce and slices of duck breast on each plate. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and garnish the plates with the remaining almonds and cranberries. Add a bit of freshly ground pepper and serve.
Discover our last recipe if you are curious or angry.
Petit Comité imagined recipes inspired by the Fall/Winter women's collection for you. Here's our appetizer of the week, a tribute to our warriors from the East : The Warrior helmet.
THE WARRIOR HELMET
Chervil chowder with sea urchin roe
12 good-sized sea urchins (in season from late October to mid-April)
500g chervil root or parsnip
1 chicken stock cube
10cl full-fat crème fraîche
Small bunch of chervil
Carefully split open the sea urchins using small pointed scissors. Discard the top part.
Pour the fluid out into a container, extract the roe and set aside. Keep all parts chilled.
Clean out the shells, rinse and place upside down on kitchen roll.
Peel and rinse the chervil root.
Dissolve the stock cube in a pot of boiling water. Add the chervil root and a little salt.
Boil on a medium heat for around 15 mins.
Purée the chervil root with a blender, gradually adding the cooking broth until creamy.
Add the crème fraîche quickly while the mixture is still hot.
Strain the fluid which was extracted from the sea urchins and kept chilled.
Pour the chowder into the sea urchin shells to 2/3 full. Arrange the tongues of roe and drizzle over the strained fluid.
Season with a little pepper and garnish with strands of chervil.
We asked Tim Lahan to play with some idioms of the English language involving our icon of the season: the eye. Time for his fourth illustration!