Grilled sea bass

Sea bass is becoming more and more affordable, mainly because it has become a farmed fish, which is good news for those of us who think it is a fish worth eating. Continue reading


Chicken basquaise with rice

This is one of those basic French dishes involving chicken and a tomato-based sauce that you see all over the Midi.

They are useful things to cook and, really, pretty similar. They are also very much like the Italian Pollo alla Cacciatore.

The thing that makes this “Basque” is Piment d’Espelette, a spicy but not fiery red chilli pepper from the Pays Basque and which has its own AOC.

Anyway, the recipe calls for chicken pieces, which are fried in olive oil until the skin starts to become crisp and a sauce made in the same pan.

I use chopped onions, crushed garlic, lardons, white wine, thyme, the piment d’Espelette, salt, pepper and chopped tomatoes.

Once the chicken pieces have been fried, I cook the lardons in the same oil and then add int onion and garlic, softening these before adding the wine to deglaze the pan and then the chopped peppers and the remainder of the ingredients.

The sauce is cooked for about five to ten minutes and then the chicken goes back into the pan and it is covered and simmers for about half an hour, until the chicken is cooked.

Poulet basquaise

It is a pretty standard French chicken sauté dish really. The thing that makes it Basque is the addition of Piment d’Espelette, a Basque type of chilli that is not that hot but is essential in the cooking of the region.

There are lots of recipes for this, mine uses onions, garlic, red and yellow peppers, a decent splash of white wine, chopped tomatoes (plus some tomato puree if you have pallid tomatoes), chicken pieces (legs are good but we had breasts tonight), the piment and some dried herbs (I like herbes de Provence).

It is a pretty simple dish, you sauté the chicken in olive oil and then cook the vegetables down in the same oil and put the chicken back and simmer the dish covered until the chicken is done.

I like to add in some olives too, towards the end of the cooking time.

We ate this with plain rice and drank a nice rich Côtes du Rhône with it, but any southern French red would be excellent.