Francine Restaurant chef travels to French Provence inspires new dishes
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Francine Restaurant introduces several new dishes for the fall season — all of which have been inspired by Executive Chef Connor Harmon and Owner Laurent Halasz’s recent trip to France.
Known for its diverse landscapes, from the Southern Alps to Camargue plains, the Provence region is found in southeastern France bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, the area offers an abundance of olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields.
“At Francine we want our dishes and our cuisine of the sun to truly be influenced from this beautiful region and to do that properly you must visit this area often to get new inspiration,” Mr. Halasz said in a prepared statement. “This is where all the beautiful and seasonal ingredients thrive and we wanted to get fully immersed in the olive oils, the wild herbs, tomatoes, garlic and the other flavors of the sun.”
Mr. Halasz, who grew up in the region still gets his inspiration from the dishes his mother would serve around the table. This past summer the restaurateur took Chef Harmon on a 10-day retreat where they traveled the region, tasting various cuisine at restaurants and markets, and speaking with the purveyors, farmers and chefs.
“This was an incredible hands-on opportunity to really get up close with some of the greatest chefs in the region and to taste the flavor profiles that would help us really develop our dishes this season,” said Chef Harmon. “These dishes are meant to showcase the Provencal flavors of the season and transport our guests to a region that incorporates lavender, and fresh vegetables into almost every dish.”
Francine Restaurant chef travel to French Provence region inspires new dishes
The first of Mr. Halasz and Chef Harmon’s fall dishes is Soupe Au Pistou.
A light, vegetable-based soup that is considered France’s version of Minestrone; however, Francine’s version will omit the pasta to keep it gluten free and vegan and it will be seasoned with an herb pistou.
The next dish is the Daube Provencal.
Traditionally a beef stew from Provence, Francine’s version has been refined with offering braised short ribs and served over potato gnocchi with carrots and other seasonal vegetables.
Also included on among new fall dishes are two other dishes that highlight’s Francine’s twist on French Classics.
The third dish is the Escargot, which is served with garlic parsley butter, and Francine’s version adds a Parmesan tuile that adds a salty, crunchy bite to the dish.
For a new dessert option for fall, crème brûlée is served.
Chef Harmon steeps lavender into the crème brûlée and adds an apricot gel, which adds acidity and lightens what would be an otherwise heavy dessert.
The new fall menu will remain on the menu of the upscale bistro, through the winter months.