All sorts of tender, colourful, flavoursome Spring vegetables are appearing in shops and on market stalls. You must seize the opportunity now, they will soon lose their tenderness, and their attraction. When we come out of Winter, we are hungry for something different and fresh.
Printanier, adjective (printanier (m.), printanière (f.), printaniers (m.pl.), printanières (f.pl.) = springlike, Spring seasonal (pronounced prah-n-tan-yeah, prah-n-tan-yair).
Le printemps = Spring (literally a sort of prime time (prin-temps)). Summer = l’été (estival = summerlike). Autumn= l’automne (automnal = autumnlike). Winter=l’hiver (hivernal=wintery).
Une printanière is a dish made with Spring vegetables.
My recipe is for a printanière de légumes au blanc de poulet, which uses a small quantity of several different vegetables together to accompany a chicken breast cut into strips.
For two people you will need:
- 1 good sized chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1tbs cornflour
- 6 small mushrooms cut into quarters
- 6 small broad beans cut into one inch pieces with their pod (better to use organic)
- a tender inside stick of celery
- a couple of spring carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 new onions (the bulb of a largish spring onion
- and anything else you find that you fancy
- 1tsp fond de veau (veal stock, failing that, concentrated chicken stock)
- 100ml water or white wine
- oil for frying
- fleur de sel
- Slice the chicken breast into thin strips, put into a bowl with a good tbs cornflour to coat and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Wash, prepare and chop the vegetables: chop the broad beans into one inch pieces, with their pods; peel the carrots and slice into four lengthwise; take the outer skin off the onion leaving a couple of inches of stem and slice into four lengthwise; chop the celery into long pieces; crush the garlic with a cleaver and chop roughly; cut the mushrooms into four.
- Put a little oil into a non stick pan and fry the chicken pieces quickly, turning, for about 2 minutes.
- Add all the vegetables (and a little more oil if necessary) and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring.
- Dilute a tsp of fond de veau in 100ml water or white wine and pour over the vegetables and chicken. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
- Serve in soup plates, seasoned with a little fleur de sel.
A word about fond de veau: this is a rich stock which you can make from scratch with pieces of veal, veal bones and vegetables. You can also buy it in powder form, made by Maggi, which is very good. It’s a bit like a powdered stock cube. If you can’t find any, use a crumbled chicken or vegetable stock cube. Together with the cornflour from the chicken, this makes a rich sauce, slightly thick and shiny. If you are using a stock cube, be careful about resalting.
And a word about fleur de sel: the very cream of salt, not to be used for cooking but sparingly, as it’s expensive, to season dishes on your plate. I shall be doing a whole post about it one of these days.
Savour every mouthful, eat each vegetable separately, taste the flavours: Springtime in your plate.