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October 07, 2010
To state the obvious, I love food! But I particularly love food that has a story. It can be story of history or of place, but it’s wonderful when it’s a story of people, which is the case with this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie: Gerard Jeannin’s Mustard Tart (page 154 of Around My French Table).
The story starts in one of my favorite cities in France, Beaune, and with Sylvie Rougetet, our guide. I was traveling through Burgundy with Atout France and a group of journalists and as soon as Sylvie met us in the center of town, I felt as though I’d been re-united with a long-lost friend. Sylvie was smart, gentle, in love with the city and passionate – and so knowledgeable – about the glorious wines of the region. I figured anyone who clearly loved wine and fine food so much would cook, but I figured wrong. “It’s my husband, Gerard, who cooks,” she told me, and then said, “It would be lovely if you came and spent a weekend with us. I’m sure the two of you would have a lot to talk about in the kitchen.”
Invitations like this are often idle chatter, but Sylvie wasn’t an idle kind of woman. And so after a few months I hopped on a train to Dijon, where she and her husband met me at the station. First stop, a visit to the city’s marvel of a covered market, where Gerard bought a truffle, a beautiful, fabulously fragrant splurge; second stop a wine bar near the Musee des Beaux Arts; then finally the drive to their welcoming home, which is also a bed and breakfast, Les Charmilles.
Sylvie was right – Gerard and I had a lot to talk about: food, food and cooking. And I loved watching Gerard in his narrow kitchen. He’s an instinctual cook who sniffs and tastes as he goes and who likes to play and try new things. But our main course wasn’t new – it was a tart well known in the area and one flavored with Dijon’s most famous ingredient: mustard. (Never mind that nowadays the vast majority of mustard seeds are imported from Canada, that’s another – and very interesting – story.)
Gerard didn’t have time to make his usual crust, a pate brisee, so he used a round of storebought all-butter puff pastry (always a delicious option). And while he made the tart all summer with tomatoes – that’s the classic version – it was fall and so he steamed carrots and leeks instead.
Of course a cook like Gerard doesn’t measure, but I’d brought American cups and spoons with me – just in case – and so I stopped Gerard each time he did something and I’m glad I did because I’ve been making the tart ever since and I hope that after this week’s French Fridays with Dorie session, you’ll be making it often, too. Here’s the first mustard tart I made at home– with all the tarts I’ve made, none has ever been as dark as Gerard’s.
One little note – play around with the mustard if you’d like. Gerard used a mix of smooth Dijon and grainy old-fashioned mustards, but you can use what you’d like: one mustard, two mustards, an even split, a little more of one than the other, or a lot more of both. Changing the tart to make it your own is something that Gerard would approve of and I do, too.
Tags: Around My French Table
, Atout France
, Gerard Jeannin
, Gerard's Mustard Tart
, Sylvie Rougetet
In the Kitchen
On the Road
| October 7, 2010 10:27 PM
What a great story! You and your books have made me branch out from my comfort zone and I was pleasantly surprised by this tart! Thanks for another winner!
Foodie in Berlin
| October 8, 2010 2:54 AM
I was a terrible student in school, sleeping through history but now..I often go off on historical tangents connected to a recipe. Food makes it interesting.
On a side note, I ordered your book, even though I have plenty on French Cooking but I enjoy your blog style so it stands to reason that I will enjoy your book tremendously as well! It's waiting for me in Berlin!
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| October 8, 2010 10:33 AM
french friday is back ! :) i could not agree more, food simply tastes that much more delicious when you know more about the what, where, how and who - all the fun details behind a dish, product or ingredient. absolutely !
while this story may transport you right back to beaune, for me, one look at that photo above or even just hearing a mention of a mustard tart and i went straight to... connecticut ! in your kitchen to be precise. it was extraordinary then, and now that i've got the recipe, i can't wait to recreate it here. bon weekend !!
| October 8, 2010 10:35 AM
I love hearing the back story on your recipes! :) This one is no exception. The was delicious and even my littlest ate it up and wanted more!
Trevor Sis Boom
| October 8, 2010 10:57 AM
I wrote my FFWD post about the story Gerard's tart reminded me of as I made it and I'm happy to see there was a similar story behind it! Wow. This was so much fun to make for me as it brought back such a great memory of the French cooks I know...who don't measure.
| October 8, 2010 10:58 AM
It's a seriously good tart, also. And thanks for walking an aesthetically challenged girl through some elegant presentation.
| October 8, 2010 11:03 AM
I look forward to meeting you at R J Julia!
I am coming up for your signing and spending time with my BFF and her friends. We are all looking forward to November 11!
Check out Lottie and Doff's latest post adapted from your new cookbook!!
| October 8, 2010 12:52 PM
So fun to see a picture of Gerard after making his delightful tart.
| October 8, 2010 1:53 PM
I love the photo of Gerard with his truffle!
This tart was fabulous. What a perfect mix of classics. I absolutely love leeks with mustard, almost as much as I love a good tarte a la moutarde. But I never would have thought of putting them together. Thank you, Dorie and Gerard, for a wonderful recipe!
| October 8, 2010 1:54 PM
Loved making this tart for FFwD! Thanks for chasing Gerard around with the U.S. measuring cups to document the recipe - it's fabulous!
| October 8, 2010 2:55 PM
Ciao ! I adore recipes with stories, my husband laughs because I read cookbooks before going to sleep ! This recipe was a very nice surprise for me thanks for sharing it !!
| October 8, 2010 4:29 PM
Thanks for a great recipe and a wonderful story to go with it!
My family loved this tart. I was lucky enough to find some Maille moutarde a l'ancienne at World Market, and it gave the tart a wonderful flavor.
| October 8, 2010 5:36 PM
Thank you for sharing both the story behind this recipe and the recipe itself with us! I truely loved this tart!
| October 8, 2010 6:07 PM
That was a great story. I have to go and buy your new book . I have all of your other books which are great. Thanks for the great recipes in all of you books.Bev
| October 9, 2010 1:34 PM
I love hearing the stories behind the recipes - one of the reasons I find your books so compelling (although I've had to postpone trying this tart until next week). I've moved away from the Shoreline, sadly, so I'll miss the RJJulia stop, but I do hope you'll make it to the Philadelphia area sometime!
| October 10, 2010 12:05 AM
Thank you so much for posting a picture of Gerard's tart. I almost didn't post my tart because it came out so dark, but my husband talked me into it. Seeing Gerard's tart makes me feel like mine turned out the way it was supposed to after all!
| October 10, 2010 9:38 AM
I really enjoyed this tart also - thanks for the great back story too! And how fascinating that mustard seeds are imported from Canada!!
| October 12, 2010 6:13 PM
In Holland they make a lovely mustard soup, which I've incorporated into my standards. While I've been more than once to Beaune (we've friends who live nearby) I have never stumbled across a mustard tart. What a lovely discovery. I will try it this weekend. I think it will taste as good eaten in the south of France, this time of year. I even have a fig and pine nut mustard in mind...Thank you!
| October 13, 2010 5:38 PM
What a wonderful story! This tart was a surprise hit with me and my friends - we loved it, and it is a definite keeper.
| October 15, 2010 1:01 AM
Did you like it better dark? I think it looks like a whole different tart that way, and may try to cook it longer next time to get that effect.
Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
| October 16, 2010 2:50 AM
I loved this tart! Thanks for posting the photo of Gerard- it's fun to put a face with a name.
I'm really enjoying your new book and the recipes I've made so far for FFD. I love reading the stories behind the recipes. Thanks!
Maria Desiderata Montana
| October 16, 2010 3:05 AM
I love recipes that are attached to stories. Thank you for the delicious recipe!
| October 21, 2010 8:37 PM
That mustard tart sure looks tempting! I think i need to look for the recipe for this one because I got hungry just by looking at it! LOL
| October 29, 2010 12:43 PM
The recipes that have the stories are the best ones yet. We are connected to them, and I think that connection transfer itself while the dish is made, and that memory continues to stay and get shared thru that particular dish.
I been making my grandmother italian truffle for over 20 years, and every time I make it, no matter how difficult the day has been I smile, because I think of her and when she taught me how to make it in the first place.. I was 10 years old - the best time of my life.
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