Plant Based 411
April in Paris
By Nancy Eisman
While looking for inspiration for this month’s recipe I immediately thought about that 1930’s jazzy, romantic classic song “April in Paris”. So I simply chose one of Melissa’s newest items, pre-cooked Parisienne Potatoes, to anchor a meal inspired by French cuisine. Voila!
Considered by many the pinnacle of quality and presentation, many classic French recipes are often rich and decadent. I began to reminisce about an old-time, i.e., pre-plant-based favorite Coquilles St. Jacques - buttery, creamy, herbal, and very savory cooked scallops. Since scallops are obviously off the table, I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe replacing the mollusks with mushrooms. You could definitely use only mushrooms but I decided to also “scallop” some firm tofu to add another texture to the dish.
The ingredients and instructions are fairly extensive, but the preparation is actually pretty easy and only took over an hour to prep, cook the components on the stovetop, and finish the recipe in the broiler. Staying on the French theme, mise en place (have all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared ahead of time and ready to combine up to the point of cooking) is essential when making this recipe.
Accompany the C St. J with Melissa’s Parisienne Potatoes, using the perfect recipe on the box. Then up the plant-based factor with some tender and simply sautéed haricot vert, aka French green beans. Some julienned carrots added to the green beans would add great flavor, color, and nutrition to this meal. Healthy and decadent? Oui.
“I never knew the charm of spring. I never knew my heart could sing. Till April in Paris.” Merci and bon appétit.
Plant-Based C St. Jacques
(Adapted from The Spoon + Shovel)
1 8 ounce package of mushrooms, minced
6 tablespoons plant-based butter
1 shallot, minced
4 tablespoons parsley, minced
2 tablespoons tarragon, minced
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
½ cup dry vermouth
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, minced
½ sheet of nori
4 large button mushrooms, stem and outer skin removed
4 1 ¼ inch in diameter rounds of firm tofu
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
parsley for garnish
Cook the minced mushrooms and 1 shallot in the 6 tablespoons of butter.
Add the parsley and tarragon and continue cooking about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and then spoon the mixture over the bottom of an 8” oven proof baking dish.
In a large saucepan cook the vegetable stock, vermouth, bay leaf, 1 shallot, and ½ sheet of nori, simmering at least 10 minutes.
Place the mushrooms and tofu “scallops” in the liquid and cook another 5-7 minutes.
Remove the “scallops” from the saucepan and place over the minced mushroom mixture in the baking dish.
Remove the nori and bay leaf from the liquid.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan. Add the flour and cook until smooth, 1 minute, over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the milk and stock and whisk about 3-4 minutes until thickened.
Add the lemon juice and nutritional yeast and continue whisking until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn on your broiler.
Spoon the sauce over the tofu/mushrooms, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and paprika, and place the baking pan under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes until top is browned. Remove from the broiler.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.