It will soon be Easter and I’m sure many of you will be thinking of going away for a well earned break. You may already have booked your holiday but if not, you may be tempted to a holiday in France as it is just the place to be at this time of year.
The weather is now milder with the temperature being slightly more in the south of France than the north but wherever you go you will not be disappointed as France is truly a romantic and wonderful place to be.
Easter or Pâques is later this year, Good Friday is on April 18th and Easter Sunday on April 20th –so you still have time to book a wonderful holiday and a good place to start is with French Connections as they have something to offer everyone.
The French celebrate Easter in style throughout the regions and families get together and celebrate the religious festival with Easter traditions and of course lots of French food.
A child born at Easter may be given the name Pascal or Pascale as this is said to mean ‘belonging to Easter’ so if you know anyone by that name maybe they were born around Easter time too.
It is a time when the fasting time of Lent or Le Carême (the forty days before Easter) has come to an end and everyone celebrates the resurrection of Jesus with Easter eggs – they have a tradition whereby the children hunt the Easter eggs, hidden in their gardens and is called ‘La Chasse aux oeufs’. If you are in France for your holiday you will be able to buy your chocolate eggs from ‘le confiseries’ or ‘la chocolaterie’ and maybe you too will hide the eggs in your garden or house and join in the fun and festivities .
Food is most important at this time of year and of course it is always so good, as all French food is! For Easter however it is a little different in that on Good Friday no meat is eaten and most people will have fish and vegetables, breads or anything without meat content.
Fish and shell fish is plentiful in France with its borders on the Atlantique and Mediterranean coasts along with fish from its rivers which provide the most beautiful tasting fish dishes that are so popular with everyone. From the most simple fish dishes to the more extravagant, you will have no problem finding the perfect fish dish to whet your appetite.
On Easter Sunday a fantastic roast of spring lamb or roast pork is usually on the menu in most households served with a good selection of fresh vegetables. The Sunday meal is very much a big family tradition where everyone gets together for a celebration. Even though in many towns and cities today, fast food is becoming more and more acceptable, for traditions such as this, French food is very much on the menu.
So, for our recipe this month, whether you are in France enjoying a wonderful holiday or at home wishing you were - you may like to try this Fish recipe as it is such a pleasant change; it is served cold with a beautiful green sauce.
You can choose from a whole salmon or salmon steaks and you will need either a fish kettle – a long fish pan especially used for cooking fish or any large heavy bottomed pan with a lid.
Cold Salmon Served With a Green Herb Sauce
This is a very tasty fish dish and whether you are cooking a whole salmon or salmon steaks,
they will need to be cooked in a court-bouillon and allowed to cool before serving. This
ensures a wonderful moist fish and it has a good taste due to being poached in the flavours
of the court-bouillon. If you are using salmon steaks they can be rather dry if you fry them
so this is a good alternative and you can be sure of making a good impression with this
- Place a layer of sliced carrots and sliced onion or shallots with a sliced lemon into the
bottom of a fish-kettle (if you don’t have a fish kettle you can use a large heavy
bottomed pan with a lid).
- Season with a few sprigs of parsley, thyme, a bay-leaf, six whole black peppers, and
three or four whole cloves.
- Lay the fish on top of this and cover with equal parts of cold water and white wine,
or with water and a little lemon juice or vinegar.
- Place your fish kettle over a medium heat and let it heat slowly and continue to
simmer until the fish is cooked.
- The fish must always be put into it while cold and after poaching allowed to cool in
Sauce Verte or Green Sauce
This will make about a pint of sauce
- 1 pint of mayonnaise
- 1 sprig of tarragon
- 1 bunch of chervil
- 1 small bunch of water cress
- A few leaves of spinach
- Blanch the cress and spinach in a little salted boiling water for a few minutes then
add the chervil and tarragon for the last two minutes.
- Drain and allow to cool before passing it through a fine sieve.
- Alternatively simply blitz the herbs together in a processor and add to the
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve your cold salmon along with the sauce verte and a fresh green salad.
Have a Happy Easter, Bonnes Pâques .