Last Sunday I had the extreme pleasure of attending the French Picnic, a cooking class and picnic, put on by Chef Christian Masse of ALLEZ! – Good Food on the Go, a small restaurant in the town of El Dorado.
Watching a talented French chef like Christian Masse is inspiring as he makes everything so easy to follow, showing you that you too can easily prepare outstanding French dishes.
The event was held on the beautiful shaded patio at Miraflores Winery, off Sly Park Road in Pleasant Valley, and it was fantastic. Like his previous French Picnics, this one was sold out way in advance and for good reason.
While we were sitting and enjoying a plate of appetizers and sipping glasses of chilled Miraflores viognier, Chef Masse started the class by preparing one our outstanding dishes, Coulibiac, Salmon en Croute with Basil Mayonnaise.
It is fresh salmon sealed in a puff pastry crust with fennel root, baby spinach, hard boiled egg and parsley. It can be served either hot or cold with the basil mayonnaise, which he made fresh, with a whip, not a blender.
The second dish Chef Masse prepared for us was Tomate Farçle avec Salade de Poulet Citroné, which is a tomato stuffed with lemon chicken salad.
The salad included potatoes, onion, heavy whipping cream, onion and more, and it was stuffed into hollowed out tomatoes. He used the Roma variety, since they are more solid and with a small cut to the end can be made to stand up.
Finally, Chef Masse, with help from his wife, Jennifer, showed the class how to prepare our dessert, Parfait Aux Pêches or Peach Parfait, starting with the making of the Craquants, the delicious decorative cookies.
The peaches were layered with Sauce Sabayon, a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, white wine and Miraflores Botricelli, a dessert wine, and then topped with a Craquant.
Following the class, those attending were treated to a buffet of these dishes, along with others, including a cold lentil salad and potato salad, both in the French style, sliced baguette and a variety of cheeses. The wine selection for the buffet was a Miraflores zinfandel and, with the dessert, Miraflores Botricelli.
The classes and Pairings (through the first two weeks of October) at Miraflores are wonderful events, far beyond my expectation (although I am beginning to expect more, each time I attend one).
Everyone should get a copy of their quarterly newsletter (downloadable at www.mirafloreswinery.com) and make it a point to attend one or more of them. All food is exquisitely prepared by top class chefs and often a guest sommelier is there to explain the wines, while you enjoy the delightful dishes.
For more information visit www.mirafloreswinery.com or call 530 647-8505.
ALLEZ! – Good Food on the Go, is located at 6180 Pleasant Valley Road in the historic town of El Dorado and can be reached at 530-621-1160, You can also visit their website at www.allezeldorado.com.