This Summer in Normandy

fish stew

First and foremost, summer classes at On Rue Tatin will be spectacular! The garden is ready to burst into color already; the fruit trees have gotten their winter trim, and I’m testing and re-testing recipes for you to try out in the kitchen.

As you make your plans, you should know this is a BIG summer in Normandy.  Perhaps the most important fete is that to honor the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings which will be focused on the 5th and 6th of June.  On June 5, 250 men and women dressed in vintage uniforms will drop from the sky to parachute points all along the D-Day beaches, in honor of those who went before.

In conjunction with the 75th anniversary is the first Norman Rockwell exhibit ever to be held outside the U.S., Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms.  It will be at the Caen Memorial, a museum for Peace.

The Tall Ships return to Rouen, this year too, meandering along the Seine, their masts sometimes visible above the trees, sometimes in and out of villages as they . head to port, where they are on exhibit and available to visit for several weeks.

In addition to your time at On Rue Tatin, you’ll want to  visit the gorgeous Normandy coastal towns, including Honfleur, Trouville, and Le Havre (a UNESCO site), as well as Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny.  The two latter options are within an hours’ drive of On Rue Tatin.

I so look forward to seeing you. We’ll prepare gorgeous seasonal menus that are tempting and simple to execute, delicious to taste and take home with you.  We’ll sample all the regional products of Normandy, from Calvados to crème fraîche, butter to seafood, shellfish, poultry and inimitable lamb from the pastures along the bay of Mont St. Michel, and more.

Make your plans; the time is right!  And let us know if we can give you a hand. 


To honor Normandy and its gorgeous culinary tradition, I’m offering you a recipe for Marmite Dieppoise, a seafood soup. Every Norman cook has their version and this is one of the best.  If you happen to get to the town of Dieppe, you’ll enjoy the beach, the fish market, and the fishing boats pulled up to port in the center of town, selling their wares.
fish stew
Marmite Dieppoise  fhphoto
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: large, heavy saucepan PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple but requires attention
Servings: 6 servings
  • 1 pound 12 ounces (860g) white fish fillet such as cod lingcod, flounder, tilapia,
  • 1 cup (250 ml) crème fraîche or heavy non ultra-pasteurized heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • pounds (750g) One and a half mussels or clams
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry white wine or brut cider such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • Several branches fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • The white part of 2 large leeks cleaned, trimmed, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 fennel bulb trimmed and diced
  • 1 quart ( 1 liter) fish stock see recipe,
  • 1 in bouquet garni (parsley stems fresh thyme branches, dried bay leaves, wrappedgreen leek leaf and tied together with kitchen string)
  • 9 ounces (270 g) fresh sea scallops with coral if possible or baby squid,
  • For the garnish:
  • 1/2 cup( 5g) flat leaf parsley leaves
  • Zest from one-half lemon cut in very thin (julienne) strips
  1. Cut the fish fillet into 2 x 1-inch (5 x 2.5cm) pieces and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk together the crème fraiche and the egg yolks in a small bowl, cover, and reserve.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels, rinse them well, and transfer them to a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the wine, half of the diced onions and the parsley, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the mussels just until they open wide, shaking the pan regularly so they cook evenly. When the mussels are cooked, remove them from the heat. Transfer the mussels to a large bowl. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid - there should be about 2 cups (500 ml). If there is not quite 2 cups, simply add water to make up the difference. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from the shell. Reserve the meats and discard the shells.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining onions, the leeks, and the fennel. Stir and cook until the onions and fennel are translucent and the leeks are beginning to turn tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the fish stock, the mussel cooking liquid and the bouquet garni to the pan. Increase the heat underneath the pan to bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender through and the liquid has reduced by about one third, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the fish and push it gently down into the liquid, then add the scallops. If necessary to keep the liquid at a simmer, increase the heat under the pan and cook until the seafood is nearly but not quite cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the fish and the scallops to a warm bowl. Remove the bouquet garni from the cooking liquid and discard.
  5. Whisk about ½ cup (125 ml) of the hot seafood cooking liquid into the egg yolks and cream mixture, then stir this mixture back into the seafood cooking liquid in the saucepan. Cook, stirring, until the soup thickens just slightly, being very careful not to let it boil. Return the fish and the scallops to the pan, first draining away any liquid they might have given up. Add the mussels to the soup and cook until all the seafood is hot through, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Mince the parsley leaves and stir it, with the lemon zest, into the soup. Let cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then serve immediately into warmed, shallow bowls.
I always have fish stock in my freezer, for making a quick soup or adding to a sauce. I freeze about 2 cups in ice cube trays, then pop the cubes in ice cube trays, then pop the cubes out of the trays and put them in freezer bags or containers. (Each cube is approximately 1 ½ tablespoons of stock). ASTUCES: freeze whatever fish stock you don’t use in 1 cup (250ml) increments. Then it’s at your fingertips for other recipes. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: heavy saucepan PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple
  • 2 pounds (2 kg) of bones from white fish such as snapper, sole, or rockfish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • Leaves of 2 celery ribs
  • 1 bay leaf (laurus nobilis)
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Rinse the fish bones well under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with butter. Add 10 cups (2.5liters) of water, the herbs, spices, and fish bones; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the stock for 18 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
  3. Remove the stock from the heat. Strain, discarding solids. When the stock is cool, either refrigerate or freeze it.

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