Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Specialities of Nice

We have had many visitors over the last three months here in Cassis. And last week, a family member flew in to Nice airport for a brief stay. We thought we would combine the airport pick- up with a short city break in Nice, as it is a city I haven't visited before.

Well, reader, we loved it. Think California meets Rome-  all wrapped up in a French package. Nice had it all.

 Joggers and skaters thronged the Promenade des Anglais, whilst the beach bars played 'California Dreaming'  and 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' and then, as you reach Vieux Nice, suddenly the street signs are in Italian and French, huge marble piazzas open out and fountains sparkle.
The tiny winding streets of the old quarter host hundreds of restaurants- and we made it our mission to seek out some specialites Nicoise to share with you- pan bagnat, salade nicoise, pissaladiere, socca, petits farcis, and panisse.

I ordered an assiettte du coin which had all or most of these delights on one plate:

Clockwise from the top- socca, pissaladiere, petits farcis, panisse, beignets d'aubergine

Socca was new to me- but, if you like savoury pancakes and especially if you are looking for gluten-free, then this is a good recipe for you as these hearty galettes are made from chickpea flour:


100g chick pea flour
100g corn flour (maizena)
2 eggs
400 ml milk
generous pinch of salt

Mix all together and beat well with a balloon whisk.
Heat an ovenproof frying pan until smoking with a very small amount of flavourless oil and fry your pancake on one side only.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Finish the second side under a hot grill.

Serve with more olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper.

Salade nicoise and pan bagnat go hand in hand as the latter is pretty much a sandwich made from the former- so a good leftover idea.

For the salad you need: tuna, black olives, hard boiled eggs, anchovies, salad leaves, sweet white onion (or spring onion) and tomatoes plus a dressing made from olive oil, mustard and white wine vinegar.

Salade nicoise

For the pan bagnat, you need individual crusty rolls or a pain de campagne for a large version.

Cut off the lids, and hollow out the bread inside (blitz this for breadcrumbs to keep in the freezer).
Drizzle in olive oil and then pack the cavities with tuna, olives, tomatoes, salad leaves, anchovies, radishes, peppers, eggs etc
Replace the lids and wrap tightly in cling film and then refrigerate (preferably for several hours) so the filling soaks into the bread and compacts down-  becoming easy to slice and serve.

individual Pan bagnat 

Pan Bagnat goes large!

Everybody knows my penchant for stuffing vegetables and I've featured petits farcis before:

Image for Petits Farcis

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