The morning session of class started promptly at 10am with a discussion about those amazing Norman cows, why creme fraiche from them is so much richer, and how sea salt is harvested in Brittany. Susan recommends using coarse gray salt for grilling and in pasta water, fluer de sel is a finishing salt, and fine gray salt for all other cooking. She makes flavored salts like cinnamon salt and using it on things like lamb.
Our menu for lunch included:
Braised asparagus with pistachio oil
Rabbit with sorrel and lardons (I butchered the rabbit which was a first for me)
Quinoa with pine nut oil (I bought some of this oil it’s so good)
Fromage assortment with wonderful breads
Garden salad with hazelnut vinaigrette (my new favorite salad dressing!)
During the meal we learned about the 95 year old priest next door who invited Susan and her kids for tripe on their very first night in Louviers, discussed the French school system and how kids are taught never to question authority (what would my outspoken daughter do here?!), and how France is virtually bankrupt but the people still want social programs.
After a short break/nap in the afternoon we returned for the evening lesson and dinner:
Cocoa spice nuts with fleur de sel – really different and tasty
New potatoes with a smoked herring mayo and young salad greens – one of my favorite dishes all week!
Spice rubbed pork loin with onion marmalade
Goat cheeses (see below)
Green salad with peanut vinaigrette
Rhubarb poached in vanilla served over lemon ice cream – my favorite dessert of the week!
During dinner we had Susan’s friend’s with us – Alain is a cheese maker and taught us all about goat cheeses, ashed or not, young (days), medium (weeks), and old hard goat cheese (6 months aging). I found that I really prefer the aged over the type that’s sold in the soft tube in the US and was astonished to find how different each of them tasted. Alain’s partner is a florist in Rouen.