Delicate Vegetable Pavé

Elegant, delicious and the perfect pairing for any protein, a vegetable pavé is a great side dish to have in your repertoire. The key is to slice the vegetables as thinly as possible, using a mandoline for this task is highly recommended, just watch your fingers! Baked in the same fashion as its cousin 'the dauphinoise', this pavé should be cut in a rectangular shape to show off its colourful thin layers. The vegetables I use in this recipe can be changed for others, just apply the same technique. It is a dish best prepared several hours in advance, even the night before. Cooling it completely prior to cutting helps prevent the layers from slipping. The portions can be reheated simply by placing them on a lined baking tray and baking at 180°C for 5-10 minutes. My favourite pairing is seared scallops, both delicate in flavour, it makes for a beautiful light lunch or even an evening starter. Bon appétit!

Serves 4

1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1-2 firm potatoes, peeled
3 peppers (1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow) , roasted, seeded, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
1 white turnip, peeled
1-2 courgettes
5dl heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of fresh thyme
white pepper and salt, to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 x 3-inch (8cm) piece of fresh Parmesan, finely-grated
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 175°C. Completely butter the inside of a loaf pan, square pyrex or metal dish. Cut out a long piece of baking paper, it needs to hang over one side of the pan by at least 3 inches (8cm). Press the baking paper into the pan and butter the bottom and sides again. Set aside. In a saucepan, gently heat the heavy cream, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Bring to just under a simmer and remove to steep for 10 minutes. Taste.

You want the cream to be slightly salty. Strain. Using a mandoline or a very steady hand, slice as thinly as possible, the sweet potato, potato, courgette and turnip. Place them each in a separate bowl and evenly pour the cream over each one. Gently mix so that each slice of vegetable is coated with the cream.

Now begin to layer, starting with the potato. Be sure to slightly overlap each piece until the base of your dish is covered. Repeat. Crack a little pepper on the top then continue with the sweet potato. Place down two layers then sprinkle with a little parmesan and pepper. Next, add two layers of courgette. Top with a little parmesan and pepper. Now create the centre of the pavé by layering the roasted peppers, one colour at a time with a layer of white turnip in between. To finish the layering, repeat the sequence in reverse. So courgette, sweet potato then finish with potato.

Drizzle any remaining cream from the bowls on top of the pavé and finish with the last of the parmesan. Fold the overlapping parchment  over the top and weigh down with an ovenproof plate or ramekins. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a knife easily cuts through the layers. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into 4 portions. Reheat gently when ready to serve. Enjoy!


Power Bites

makes approximately 35-40 balls

  • 250g peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (any other nut butter can be substituted if desired)
  • 250ml good quality honey
  • 360g old-fashioned oat flakes (fine cut)
  • 60g flax seeds
  • 250g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
  • 250g total mix of your choice any of the following: nuts, seeds and/or soft dried fruit (chopped into small pieces if necessary, don't forget to toast your nuts for extra flavour)

In a large bowl or the stand bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add oats and flax seeds, blending until well combined. Add chocolate bits and your personalised combo mixture and continue to stir until blended. With the help of a tablespoon, scoop out some mixture, enough to make a ball the size of a two franc coin and roll in your hands until smooth and there are no cracks. Repeat with remaining mixture. Place balls in mini muffin cups or on a cookie tray, making sure that there is a little space between each of them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. These will keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.


Vanilla Panna Cotta with Winter Spice-Glazed Fruit

Text: Eileen Gent Photo: Yves Garneau

Serves 8
500 ml local heavy cream (35%)
500 ml local whole milk, if you prefer a richer version use light cream (15-25%)
120 g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
20 g or approximately 12 small gelatine sheets
Winter Spice-Glaze
2.5 dl water
120 g granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 dried chilli
1 star anise
2 x ½ cm thick slices fresh ginger
3 x 1½ cm wide strips of citrus peel (clementine, orange, mandarin)
A selection of seasonal winter fruit, such as pomegranate, any sweet citrus, pears, apples, passion fruit cut into your choice of shape.

Combine cream, milk, vanilla extract and sugar in a saucepan. Heat until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is just simmering gently. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with cold water and slip, one by one, each gelatine sheet into the water (this is very important). Allow to 'bloom' for around 5 minutes. Remove from bowl and squeeze any excess water out. Remove cream mixture from heat and add gelatine to it, whisk until dissolved. Pour equally into 8 ramekins or any desired mould (pre-oiling it if necessary) that can accomodate at least 1.25 dl. Place in fridge and chill for at least 3 hours. To create the glaze, combine all ingredients (excluding the fruit) in a saucepan and place over low-med heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then allow to reduce until it reaches a glaze consistency. Cool with spices. Place prepared fruit in a small bowl, add enough syrup (no spices) to glaze and create a little sauce. When ready to serve, remove panna cottas from the fridge and gently pull the edges free with your fingers. Then dip, one at a time, the moulds ¾ of the way in warm water for a few seconds. Gently pull the sides again then reverse onto your plate. Pressing down against the plate, give it a little shake and it should unmould. Dress with glazed fruit and a little of the juice. Enjoy!


Gambas with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Fresh seafood – in Switzerland? Absolutely…

Some people assume that a restaurant in a country without a coastline can’t possibly serve fresh seafood. The reality is that Swiss restaurants do have delicious fresh seafood dishes on the menu. The chain from the fishing ground to restaurant can be incredibly fast due to air travel. Due of the efficiency of this process, people no longer need wary of seafood options on Alpine menus - fresh tuna, sushi, mahi-mahi, mussels and gambas amongst others, are all mouth watering options alongside the more traditional Swiss cuisine.
Verbier is fortunate to be abundant with innovative restaurants producing cuisine of a high international standard with skilled chef’s don’t shy from serving excellent seafood.
This month’s recipe comes from talented Chef and proprietor, Tierry Corthay of Le Grange.

16 large whole prawns (gambas)

For the coating:
Flour, beaten egg
4 parts breadcrumbs to 1 part grated coconut
olive oil
salt, pepper

Sweet and sour sauce

100g of fresh pineapple or a tin of pineapple
150 g of sugar
3dl of chicken stock
1,25 dl white wine vinegar with herbs
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
½ teaspoon of grated ginger
½ teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of very finely chopped coriander
1 star anis
1 teaspoon of corn flour
½ teaspoon of chilli paste (sambal)
salt, pepper
1 green part of a spring onion or chives, chopped

Garnish
½ a red pepper, yellow and green

Decoration
Twig of dill

Sweet and sour sauce

In a small saucepan, prepare the syrup with 150g of sugar and 2 dl of water. Add the core of the pineapple, simmer and pass through a sieve.
Pour the chicken stock into the saucepan. Add vinegar, tomato puree, ginger, garlic, coriander and star anise. Bring the liquid to a rapid boil for around 12 minutes until reduced. Pass the sauce through a sieve and leave on the side in the saucepan. Mix the cornflour with a little bit of cold water before adding it to the sauce. Whisk whilst bringing it to the boil. Let the sauce thicken then, simmer until it becomes syrupy. Add the sambal and the diced pineapple. Season with salt and pepper. Put to the side. Just before serving, sprinkle in the chopped spring onion or chives.
Decoration: Cut open the peppers. Peel the inside to remove any of the white parts. Cut the pieces into thin strips and then into small cubes. Blanch the pieces of pepper in salted water, then drain. Put to the side.

Gambas

Preheat the oven to 200˚. Remove the head of shrimps and peel off half of the shell off the body, leaving the bottom part and the tail. ‘Butterfly’ the exposed flesh of the prawn by slicing into the flesh (not all the way through) and opening it up exposing a larger surface area. Dip the prawn in the flour, shake off any excess, the dip into the beaten and roll into the mixture of breadcrumbs and coconut. Heat a big frying pan, pour in the olive oil, allow to heat up and then add the prawns; cook on each side for about 20 seconds. Sprinkle with salt and add pepper. Place the gambas in a heatproof dish and place in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve on hot plates, accompanied with the sweet and sour sauce. Add the diced of peppers and decorate with a sprig off dill.