In my last post, I wrote about my little goat santon, but I didn't include him in the photo. He sits on my mantle year round. He doesn't have to spend the non-Christmas months put away in a box with all the other holiday decorations. I like to admire him. He reminds me of the Provence festival in Arles where I bought him.
In July 2007, Chef Érick and I were invited to be part of Collectif Prouvènço, a celebration of Provençal culture held every other year in the Jardins d'Été in Arles. We put on a cooking demonstration featuring Fricot des barques, a dish that was popular with sailors on the Rhône many years ago. It was served in the local inns. We "aproned" up and while Chef Érick demonstrated how to make the dish and talked into the microphone, I fetched and just generally assisted. We had made the dish in advance and put together another just to show everyone how to do it. I passed out samples to the crowd and Chef Érick answered questions. The only question I remember was the one that brought about the lengthy discussion of which wine one should serve with the dish. I do not remember the consensus of the crowd or Chef Érick's recommendation, but I would go with a nice Côtes du Rhône red, bien sûr.
At this festival, there was music and dance perfomances and vendors selling books about the history and language of Provence and crafts, most notably the traditional santons. It was a typically beautiful summer day in Provence, with Roman soldiers and gladiators roaming around town... nothing out of the ordinary.
Chef Érick's friend Mireille Chérubini who owns Taberna Romana, a restaurant in St. Rémy de Provence overlooking the site of Glanum, a Roman city that is under excavation, had set up a café there also. We would take clients there sometimes for lunch if we were out and about near St. Rémy. Mireille serves only traditional Roman dishes, using ingredients found locally, just as the Romans did.
This is her website:
Chef Érick Vedel's Fricot des barques - Fricot di barco
(Mixture of the barges)
1 kg / 2.2 lbs. beef rear shank cut (you can also use beef ribs, if you wish)
6 salted anchovy fillets, be careful that bones are removed
3 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp capers
6 bay leaves crumbled
1 bunch of parsley
3 Tbsp olive oil
Pepper from a mill
Slice the beef in thin slices. Chop all the rest of the ingredients finely and mix them together.
In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, pour in olive oil to cover the bottom. Lay one layer of the meat slices on the bottom, cover with the chopped mixture, follow with another layer of meat and another layer of the chopped mixture, and so on until all is used up, ending with the chopped layer. Cover and cook for 3 hours over a low flame or in a medium hot over. If steam escapes, then add a bit of water from time to time.
This is very good served with fresh pasta or with rice.
Bon appétit, la Provence!