A Dinner That Recalls Normandy
- July

Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Lyons & Burford, from
"The Orvis Cookbook" (£19.00). All rights reserved.






Fly fishing on the chalk streams of France and England is a delight in July. The River Risle runs right through the middle of the small village of La Riviere Thibouville in Normandy, much as the Test River runs right through the village of Stockbridge in Hampshire.

On the Risle the rises occur from 7:00 P.M. on through the evening until dark, so there is plenty of time for sightseeing during the day. Nearby is Monet's home in Giverny, and Mont St. Michel is a comfortable morning's drive away.

Two ingredients that recall Normandy most vividly are Calvados, the apple liqueur made in the region, and heavy cream. They are used in the main dish and the dessert here. Of course, there is a tremendous variety of food available. The stalls in the market at Rouen are loaded with every imaginable fruit and vegetable, fish and fowl.

Perhaps because one is fishing, there is a tendency to want to eat something other than fish. Veal sweet-breads were featured on the menu at the Hotel Soleil d'Or one evening and even though it isn't finny, this dish recalls an extremely pleasant angling vacation.

Veal Sweetbreads in
Vermouth-Cream Sauce

Before cooking the sweetbreads, make certain that you have allowed them to soak under cold, running water for at least 1 hour to thoroughly cleanse them —3 or 4 hours is even better. Don't be discouraged by the apparent fussing that is necessary to prepare this. It is really worth it.

As much as 3 days in advance, place the sweetbreads in a pan with the vegetables and water to cover them and bring to the boiling point. Turn the heat off under the pan and let cool. If you're preparing them for that day, continue. If not, refrigerate the sweetbreads in their liquid until the day you want to serve them.

When ready to use the sweetbreads, remove the thin membrane from the outside with a sharp paring knife. Cut lengthwise in half, salt and pepper them, lightly dredge in flour, and set aside.

Sauté the chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms in separate pans until they are soft, not browned. Heat a large frving pan, melt 8 tablespoons of butter with the oil, and add the sweetbread halves. Saute them on each side until they are golden brown, lower the heat, and cook for 7 or 8 minutes. Add the shallots and mush-rooms. Heat the vermouth in a small pan, pour it over the sweetbreads, and light it with a long kitchen match. When the flames have died down, add the cream and simmer on low heat until only heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a heated serving dish and sprinkle the top with the minced parsley. Serve immediately.

Meanwhile, cook your favourite long grain rice ac-cording to package instructions and butter, salt, and pepper it to taste. The sweetbread dish needs a plain white rice, not wild rice. Serve the rice beneath the sweetbreads and their sauce.
Return to Top

  • 6 pairs (1 per person) veal sweetbreads
  • 2 carrots, chopped roughly
  • Top half of 3 celery stalks,including leaves
  • 3 sprigs each of parsley and tarragon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 peppercorns
  • l½ cups uncooked long grain rice


  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • ½ cup vermouth
  • 4 cups cream: 2 heavy, 2 half and-half
  • ½ cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 8 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Braised Leeks,
Red Peppers, and Carrots

  • 3 large leeks
  • 8 carrots
  • 2 large sweet red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons olive
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chicken stock (Canned broth is all right.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Wash the leeks and cut off tops, leave 1 inch of the green part. Cut in half lengthwise and rinse again under cold running water, fanning the leaves with your thumb from each side of the leek. Make sure you wash out all the grit, keeping the halves intact. Place cut side down on paper towels to drain. Julienne finely in a food processor or by hand.

Wash the peppers, and core and julienne them. Dry with paper towels. Clean carrots with a potato peeler, and dry and julienne them. Keep the three vegetables separate and stacked in the same direction. They will make a bigger impact visually if the colors are in separate blocks in the serving dish. They require different cooking times also.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large sauté pan. Place the carrots in carefully, keeping the strips all going in the same direction. Try not to crowd them in the pan. Cook the carrots for 7 minutes, turning once with a spatula. Do not brown them. Remove to a shallow ovenproof baking dish, placing them at one end, stacked neatly and covering a third of the space. Saute the leeks for 4 minutes, adding a little more oil and butter if necessary. Remove them to the baking dish next to the carrots.

Lastly, sauté the julienned peppers for 3 minutes and add to the last third of the baking dish. Pour over all the ½ cup of chicken stock and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. They will hold in a warm oven for 20 to 30 minutes, if necessary. Cover with foil if they seem to be drying out.
Return to Top

Calvados Apple Tart
- serves 6 to 8


Preheat oven to 400°.

Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and run 6 seconds. Through the feed tube, drop in the butter, one pat at a time, then add the yolk and water and run machine until a ball of dough forms. Remove, wrap in plastic wrap, and allow dough to rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

If preparing by hand, cut the butter into the sifted dry ingredients, add the water and yolk, and mix just enough to moisten. Wrap and allow to rest in refrig-erator as above.

Roll out the dough on a floured board to a 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 10- or 11-inch quiche dish or a flan pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork. Put a sheet of foil over the unbaked crust and place pie weights or uncooked beans or rice on top of the foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake 2 to 4 minutes more until lightly golden in color. Remove from the heat and cool.


Melt a 12-ounce jar of apricot jam, strain through a sieve, and add 2 tablespoons Calvados. Brush the cooled tart shell with some of the glaze, reserving the remainder for later.


Mix together 1 cup commercial sour cream and 2 cups heavy cream. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 6 hours.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, sliced into pats
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water


Reset oven to 375°.

To prepare the filling, peel and core 6 of the apples. Cut them into sixths. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over a medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, and lemon peel, and sauté until apples are slightly caramelized. Blend in ¼ cup Calvados, and cook 1 or 2 minutes. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and reduce the liquid to 2 tablespoons by boiling.

Heat together the ½ cup heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to scalding. Lightly beat the egg in a bowl and gradually add the cream mixture, whisking constantly so the egg doesn't curdle. Add the vanilla and the reduced liquid from the apples.

Spread the sautéed apples in the pie shell. Halve the remaining 1 or 2 apples, peel, core, and cut into paper-thin slices. Arrange in a fan pattern over the cooked apples. Pour the custard mixture over the apples to within 1/8 inch of the top.

Position the baking rack to the lower third of the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until top apples are tender. Remove from oven. Heat the broiler. If using a flan pan, remove the outer ring. Sprinkle the 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar on top of the tart. Broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until the top is caramelized. Watch it carefully, you don't want to scorch it now. You're almost through making the best apple pie you ever tasted.

  • 7 to 8 Granny Smith apples
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Peel of ½ lemon, grated
  • ¼ cup Calvados
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Remove from the heat and cool. Brush the surface with the remainder of the apricot glaze and sprinkle the nuts on top. Serve at room temperature with the creme fraîche spooned over it.

No one will ask you what you have been doing all day when they taste this. If someone does, it's a justifiable homicide.

Return to Top

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pistachios or almonds
  • Crème fraîche