How to enhance spring produce according to chef Christophe Scheller

At the La Rotonde table with a view of the ocean, the chef puts spring on the menu. The opportunity to ask him for his advice and easy techniques for highlighting pretty seasonal fruits and vegetables.

SHE at the table. – How to cook asparagus?

Christopher Scheller. When you bundle the white asparagus, the string marks the asparagus after cooking. I prefer to cook them in a good broth, a large volume of well-seasoned water for even cooking. Like all vegetables, there is no need to cook them in boiling water, but in just simmering water, it's like an egg, 90°C. When it smokes well, you can immerse it, it will cook.

SHE at the table. – Is it a good idea to undercook vegetables?

CS It all depends on the guests and the freshness of the asparagus. If they are amateurs, white asparagus, slightly crunchy, makes sense. White asparagus is still a product that stands out from the crowd. I remember, when I was young, my cousin didn't like the head and only ate the body, I enjoyed eating the heads.
The artichoke in general, if it is undercooked, it will turn black and oxidize because it is not cooked the right way. The artichokes, you just have to cook them very slowly as well.
For example, if you take large potatoes and cook them in a big boil, they will totally explode, and they're raw at heart!

SHE at the table. – How to prepare peas?

CS I always taste raw peas and often large ones to check if they are floury or not.
The technique for peas? When we shell them, it is to cook them immediately. You can cook them like a risotto, it will require a little more know-how and patience, you have to stay in front of the frying pan whereas if you put them in boiling water, you set the timer, in 5 minutes it It's cooked.

The pods are a bit technical, but you put them in the centrifuge, and you get juice. This juice, you make it “smack dry”. “Clearing” means that you pour this juice into a large dry-heated saucepan, there will be something happening, it will sing in all directions, and you pass this juice which you recover. When you then prepare peas, you use this juice from the very green pea pods instead of adding a spoonful of water, white stock or broth.

You can have chives flowers on the balcony

SHE at the table. – How to prepare strawberries?

CS I put fruit everywhere, I love it. The strawberries, I just brown them a little bit. We are in the middle of elderflowers at the moment so I put elderflowers at the end, and we have a smell of spring coming. And you can serve this preparation with peas, a small rack of lamb or even just plain. Nature is great!

SHE at the table. – How to prepare zucchini flowers?

CS I love working with zucchini flowers and stuffing them with a good little ratatouille when you want to stand out from the crowd. When the ratatouille is cold, we garnish the flower like candy, we put it in a dish that goes in the oven and then we just re-cook it a little bit.
You can fry them too. I like to use them as a wrapper by stuffing the flowers with crab mayonnaise, it adds a lot of aesthetics. I love using a product as it is.

SHE at the table. – How to prepare chives flowers?

CS I'm lucky to have a small garden and chives flowers grow like weeds. That's great ! When they are very open, very purple, it is much more seasoning than simply chopped chives. You can have chives flowers on the balcony.
You integrate them into a green salad, a beautiful heart of lettuce and chives flowers or on a goat cheese, there is the visual and gustatory side, we are in the middle of spring.

Palace Hotel
1 avenue de l’Impératrice
64200 Biarritz

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