This weekend was the opening for the movie Julie & Julia. It was a great show. Brought back lots of wonderful memories from cooking school. The movie made you laugh, sniffle a bit, and leave the theater with a smile on your face. I had read the book last month and was really torn about seeing the actual movie. The book to me was a bit over done, but the movie writer was Nora Ephron who wrote When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, so knew I was in good hands..and she didn’t disappoint. What better way to pay tribute to Julia Child after seeing that movie, than cooking up a few dishes from her cookbook (which had to include BUTTER).
On the menu:
Grouper with Beurre au Citron (Lemon Butter Sauce)
Concombres au Beurre (Baked Cucumbers)
Spring Mixed Salad with Raspberry Vinigeratte
For the grouper I got 13″ X 9″ piece of parchment paper and placed a 3 oz. piece of fish on it. Seasoned with salt & pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and topped off with green peppercorns and a pinch of dill. Fold the parchment paper over the fish and crimp the edges to seal all the way around. Place on a baking sheet into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes.
Then top with the Beuree au Citron. (pg. 98 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
1 stick of butter
2-3 tablespoons of hot water
Boil down the lemon juice with salt and pepper until it has reduced to 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat and immediately beat in 2 pieces of chilled butter with a whisk. Set over very low heat and beat in with a whisk the rest of the butter, one piece at a time to make a thick, creamy sauce. Immediately remove from the heat. Just before serving, beat in hot liquid by driblets to warm the sauce. Correct seasoning and serve.
In the movie, Julie made baked cucumbers and it sounded so strange that it had to be on the menu. Mom and I did a comparison taste between the “regular” cucumber and the longer “English-type” cucumber. The regular cucumber seemed to retain most of the cucumber taste. Julia said to use either dill or basil and we went with dill. The baked cucumbers were good and seems like a funky side dish to make for a dinner party because it is so unexpected (pg. 499 of Mastering The Art of French Cooking).
2 Tb wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tb melted butter
1/2 tsp dill or basil
3 Tb minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper
Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 3/8″ wide. Cut the strips into 2″ pieces. Toss the cucumbers in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Drain. Pat dry.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the cucumbers in a baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions, and pepper. Set uncovered in the middle level of preheated oven for about 1 hour, tossing 2 or 3 times, until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture.
And in a typical Julia closing…Bon appe’tit!