Last night I returned to le Bouchon et l'Assiette, a little unpretentious Basque-oriented bistro in the 17th arrondissement, not very near to anything. We had discovered this place earlier in the summer, and I wanted to find out whether that excellent experience was a fluke. It wasn't. Last night I had the three-course menu (33 euros), consisting of
-- Tartlet of crunchy vegetables atop anchovies from Getaria (on the Spanish Basque coast). Perfectly cooked, but the anchovies stole the show. A veritable burst of pungent umami (the fifth taste sense, best described as savouriness) without hardly any taste of salt. Now I'm on the hunt for these anchovies.
-- Roasted Challans chicken breast stuffed under the skin with mushroom and hazelnut duxelles, with glazed turnips. Fine chicken, but the turnips were a marvel. I was told that the turnip disks were slowly poached in reduced chicken broth, or confited. They must then have been browned in butter with a tiny bit of sugar because they had a slightly crunchy sweet exterior that was a great contrast to the almost disappearing interior. I plan to spend some time trying to approximate this truly amazing vegetable dish.
-- Salad of white peaches in mint syrup and financiers. Not a success because the peaches were underripe and the financiers, while good, had nothing to do with the peaches. The way to go here would be to use very ripe peaches (or lightly poach them) and soak a baba with the mint syrup.
Definitely worth a visit.