Category Archives: FRENCH


fullcamera 298 There are many types of Shrimp sautees usually involving butter, olive oil, garlic and wine.  The most popular of course is the ItalianAmerican favorite, SHRIMP SCAMPI.  Once you have a basic technique or recipe down you can mix/match on it and build up into something new.  When you change even one part of a recipe you’ve created something new.  The rule to follow though, or I should say, the rule I follow is to keep the new ingredients in the same family/cuisine and the end result will turn into a great plate of food.  Case in point, Sauteed Shrimp, or Shrimp Scampi.  By changing one ingredient you create a whole new dish…White Wine has one flavor profile, but if you switch it up to VERMOUTH, now your dish will taste completely different. VERMOUTH is an old school fortified wine, so there we have the common denominator of wine.  Seafood and Vermouth are an old school pairing.  Look through some cookbooks from the late 50’s, early 60’s.  Companies like Martini and Rossi pushed real hard with the food industry to not only use their Vermouth as a drink or a mixer, but as an ingredient for cooking.  It works very well with fish and especially seafood like Shrimp, Clams, Scallops.

Vermouth is a flavorful and interesting type of fortified wine originally made with “WORMWOOD” which in French translates to VERMOUTH. 165994_3211681293308_1441686714_n-1 In Piedmont in Northern Italy various distilleries began to sprout up and Italy along with France because Vermouth country.  As a drink ingredient Vermouth is a main component of the MARTINI which, thanks to JAMES BOND became a signature of the swinging 60’s.  Think MAD MEN and suddenly Vermouth will pop into your head. In fact, that’s what happened when I decided to make this dish.  Mad Men was about to have one of its season premieres and there was a bag of U.S. Wild Caught 16-20 Shrimp in the fridge.  Vermouth in the cabinet.  Lemons in the produce drawer.  It all came together.   Vermouth Garlic Shrimp with Lemon and Parsley.  Vermouth is such a pronounced flavor that I decided a simple addition of Italian Flat leaf parsley would be plenty.  Vermouth is a blend of citrus peels, herbs and other aromatics so there’s the flavoring, no need to add additional green herbs with strong flavors.  And that’s how you take one recipe and create something new.  A few ground rules and you’re golden. So this post will contain 2 for the MadMen inspired Vermouth and Lemon  Garlic Shrimp and then a way to make Pierre Franey’s style of Crevettes au Vermouth…fancy right? Didn’t know I could speak French?  Only when it comes to food. I’m not that good, lol.  The Franey’s French version adds cream to the dish.  Life is all about choices, your recipes and cooking should be the same way.


SERVES: 4                                           TIME: 35 MINUTES, prep and cooking

  • 1 ½ pounds raw  16-20 shrimp peeled and deveined.
  • 1/8 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. Sweet Paprika (use a Hungarian or European brand)
  • tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste 
  • 3 sliced garlic cloves 
  • ¼ cup dry white vermouth
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 lemon slices
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

In a heavy wide skillet/frying pan gently heat the butter and 1/2 the olive oil  Lightly dredge the shrimp in the flour mixed with the paprika and saute’ the shrimp till just golden on both sides, Takes about 5 minutes.  Do this in batches as overcrowding created steaming because of excess water created and the whole dish is ruined.  Keep the shrimp in on a platter lightly tented with foil. When you are all done saute’ the garlic for 2 minutes taking care not to let it brown or burn then add the Vermouth to the pan and deglaze it.  Add the lemon juice, the salt, pepper, parsley and the remaining olive oil.  Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add the shrimp back to the pan and gently heat through for 3 minutes.  Done.  Serve over rice or with potatoes or linguine.  Garnish with Lemon wedges.  Of course, before adding the shrimp taste the sauce and check for seasoning.

to the above recipe…if you want to make it in the style of CREVETTES AU VERMOUTH by Pierre Franey simply omit the lemon.  Omit the olive oil.  Omit the Garlic. Add the following ingredients:

4 tbs. additional unsalted butter

1/4 cup Heavy Cream


When you are ready to saute’ the garlic in the first recipe, instead, saute’ the onion till soft, about 7 minutes, then add the vermouth and deglaze the pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce…add the heavy cream, then the additional butter. Blend well and then add the shrimp and heat thru on a simmer for 5 minutes.  French. nice.

Enjoy either. The Vermouth saute on top..and the Cream Sauce version adapted from Pierre Franey’s recipe.







156142_2992380330921_1304531591_32200242_158577316_nChicken braises are so delicious.  POULET BASQUAISE is one of my favorite chicken braises.  It comes from the border area FRANCE shares with SPAIN and there are many regional dishes which cross over even though Spanish Basques and French Basques can be different in many ways.  Chicken Basque style is the Basque cousin of Italy’s Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore)since it’s a whole cut chicken, browned in Olive Oil, then braised in a “Piperade”, a Basque specialty of slow cooked peppers, tomatoes,onions, garlic, and many times ham.  The ham is really a prosciutto type of ham..cured not smoked and is a specialty of BAYONNE , France.  Bayonne Ham is not readily available so you can use Prosciutto, just not smoked ham.  The ham is sliced, or diced and tossed into the saute’ at the beginning so it imparts some of that porky flavor to the chicken.. VERY NICE!! Today is Februrary 11 and in the French Catholic Calendar it’s the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes which is a small town just outside the PAYS BASQUE but close enough for me to tie in blogging this dish today.  Many vacationers to the PAYS BASQUE will make a close side trip to Lourdes and maybe have a plate of POULET BASQUAISE.  On a trip to Provence a few years ago I saw this dish on the menu and had to order it.  I’ve had it in NYC before and Provence was as close to Pays Basque as I was getting.  I’ve also made the dish in my kitchen so I wanted to see if I was close to the French versions.  I was.  004  I wonder if any of those pilgrims in that engraving of the Shrine of Lourdes fortified their bodies with Poulet Basquaise after fortifying their souls at the shrine?  A Food Obsession wonders these things..just sayin.  A great dish for the middle of the Winter and a great add to your list of dishes, ESPECIALLY when you’re moaning…”CHICKEN AGAIN, I’M SO SICK OF CHICKEN…I DON’T WANT TO MAKE IT THE SAME OLD WAY!” I’ll be your Tired Kitchen 911. Here to keep your kitchen vibrant and happy!!

SERVES: 4-5                                                 TIME: 1 Hour 20 minutes to prep and cook.  3hours to let sit before serving.

1 ORGANIC OR NATURAL CHICKEN, cut into 10 pieces

2 ONIONS, sliced

2 RED PEPPERS , sliced




1 28 oz CAN IMPORTED PLUM TOMATOES (like San Marzanos)






Heat 1/2 the oil in a dutch oven.  Season the chicken pieces with the Espelette or Cayenne pepper (ok, calm down, i’ll give you a nice side note on the bottom about Espelette) and Salt.  Brown the chicken, skin side down first.  About 10 minutes to get the skin rendered and colored nicely.  Flip and cook another 7 minutes.  With tongs, remove the chicken to a bowl.  Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping up all those delicious bits from the bottom . THAT IS PART OF THE FLAVOR OF YOUR SAUCE! Pour this over the chicken in the bowl and cover.  Add the balance of the olive oil to the pan and saute’ the ham until it gets slightly caramelized.  Take about 5 minutes, now add the Peppers and Onions and lightly salt this. Cook for a at least 8 minutes until the peppers and onions are soft. Add the chicken to the pot.162885_1500720160349_5853202_n  Pour the bowl juices over the chicken, then the tomatoes. Stir. Add the herbs.  Cover and let this cook for 20 minutes on medium.  Now uncover and let this cook for another 20 minutes.  The sauce will reduce and concentrate with all those flavors and the chicken will be fork tender.  Taste…TASTE TASTE TASTE!!!! Check for seasoning,  Remove the herbs.  Important step here…close the pot and let it sit on the back of the stove for at least 3 hours.  Then reheat and serve. There’s magic in all those steps.165994_3211681293308_1441686714_n (1)  OH the aroma from these herbs, spices, wine, chicken , and vegetables!  Let’s talk ESPELETTE.  It’s a chile pepper that is grown in the PAYS BASQUE region of France in the town of ESPELETTE, funny how that happens!  It’s sweet and spicy and smoky, sort of like Hot Hungarian Paprika which is why it’s a decent substitute. It’s available at well stocked spice markets or on line.  Cayenne works too.

I was served my Poulet Basquaise with linguine, maybe because I was eating it in Provence?  Closer to Italy?  I think roasted potatoes go nice with this along with a side salad with some goat cheese and pears or apples, frisee or chicory, and a dijon vinaigrette.  Rice is another choice. Up to you.    HAPPY COOKING!!!0041Don’t forget some sliced baguettes to pick up that sauce.  BON APPETIT!!!