Chef’s Alliance Recipe – Xavier Hamon

When I got to know the Slow Food movement, I realized the impact of our food choices on the ecosystem, as well as the growing destruction of artisanal savoir-faire that is part of the food history of every country. It changed the way I see my work, the way I choose ingredients, the way I cook.

The decision to create an alliance of chefs comes as a result, because you can no longer be on your own. I have joined other French chefs who also want to change things. The choice of particular products, produced with care and sustainably, is extremely important in order to provide alternatives to mass-produced foods. We collaborate on many events, but we shy away from those who want to relegate cooking to nothing more than entertainment and consumerism. We try to encourage people to travel, to get to know the producers of our country in person.

I was taught that in the kitchen, the figure of the chef dominates over all the others. This has led to serious mistakes, like using products that have nothing to do with the local area. Today we have returned to valuing a sense of place, to believing in small-scale, local agriculture.

My food story began with my first experiences with taste, in childhood. The cooking of my family, rural and simple, shaped my culinary philosophy. I mostly use humble ingredients, even if these days it is possible to work with unique products, which should definitely be valued.

My recipe is based on natural oysters from Brittany, a Slow Food Presidium.

 

Natural Breton Oysters with Rice Cream

Serves 4

1 fennel bulb

Guérande fleur de sel

slightly peppery extra-virgin olive oil

grated lemon zest

8 natural Breton oysters 

200 g fermented rice cream  / amazake

a few leaves of bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare“Purpureum”)

 

Method:

Finely slice the fennel and dress with fleur de sel, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon zest.

Open the oysters and remove them from their shell, reserving their liquid.

Strain the oyster liquid and place with the same amount of cold water in a saucepan. Add the oysters. Cook until the first bubbles appear in the bottom of the pan, then remove from the heat.

Remove and set aside four oysters. Puree the remaining four oysters in the cooking liquid with an immersion blender.

Add the fermented rice cream and puree until smooth.

Plate the four remaining oysters, then top with the puree and the fennel salad.

Garnish the plate with the bronze fennel leaves, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some more lemon zest.

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