The March Menu, by Diane ANTHONISSEN
This month I wanted to present a vegetarian menu because although we live in the southwest of France, aka “duck country”, Eric and I regularly enjoy meatless meals. For the March menu, I liked the idea of serving a healthy main course (meaning no cream or butter in the dish). The side benefit is it gives us some wiggle room to indulge a bit in the other two courses! The photo of the main course is red snapper but while in France I would instead use “dorade royale” (sea bream), bar de ligne (line caught sea bass) or turbot (flounder). For the entrée (1st course), I wanted a vegetable with some substance because the main course is ‘only’ fish and rice, without a heavy sauce. Corn and scallion cakes fit the bill! Although it used to be difficult to buy fresh, sweet corn in France during the summer, that has luckily changed. I can buy it fresh, cut it off the ear and stock it in our freezer, making it easily available year round. Corn in France is relatively expensive compared to other vegetables, at about 1,20€/ear, or 8€/kg based on the weight of the kernels removed from the cob. (Just for comparison, the last time I bought fresh corn in Appleton, WI in 2019, it cost a dollar for 4 ears!). I certainly don’t mind paying the price here to support local organic farming, with non-GMO corn to boot. One final story on the subject of corn – I recall the odd looks I got 15 years ago when I would ask people where I could find fresh corn in France. I know they thought I was crazy and the usual response was: “what do you mean - corn is for animals” ! Did anyone else have that experience?! I’m glad that is changing. Anyway, moving on to dessert, why not bananes flambées? It’s a great excuse to get some fruit in the diet and it tastes much more decadent than it is to prepare. Plus, once you get confident at making this dessert, the “flambée factor” is fun to do in front of guests! Just be sure to announce “flambée” with great drama as it gently ignites to everyone’s delight!