FOOD, Recipes, TRAVEL
Leave a comment

Gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies – Monkfish Cheeks in Saffron Sauce

Gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies - Monkfish Cheeks in Saffron Sauce

*Ad in cooperation with Frische Paradies*.

In late September, I was on a gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies and Gourmet Connection. Allow me to take you today to the end of the world, for here earth ends and the endless sea begins. I will show you how diverse and fantastic Finstére in Bretagne is. Brittany in Breton “Breizh” is a perfect destination for nature lovers, foodies, connoisseurs and gourmets. The Bretons are people of coastal fishermen, and fishing nearby the coast is highly rated among them. Here you can find diverse landscapes, the best and most delicious seafood specialties. Fish and seafood from Bretagne are not to beat in taste, due to the strong streams they are constantly in motion, and this makes their meat much more aromatic.

Shellfish such as oysters, scallops, mussels, lobster, and ocean-fresh fish taste incredibly fresh and are of the highest quality. Treat yourself to a glass of sparkling cider, join me on our gourmet journey, and learn how the fish from the sea ends up on our plates. We start in Lesconil and visit the main ports in the Pays Bigouden. We then continue to Guilvenic and finally end the trip in Loctudy. These three ports are famous and the symbol of Breton fishing throughout the whole of France. I am quite charmed by the magic of Bretagne! At the end of the post, you will find my delicious recipe for monkfish cheeks in saffron sauce.

ONE NIGHT IN PARIS

I travel by train from Germany to Paris, Mon Amour. Paris is cloudy and it rains almost all the time. But it does not stop me from spending a wonderful afternoon in the vibrant city, including shopping and sightseeing. After one night in Paris, The following morning I take the TGV from Gare Montparnasse to Rennes, the capital of Brittany. I planned some time to visit Rennes too. From the station in Rennes, I take the metro straight to the gorgeous city.

MEETING POINT IN RENNES

After my walk through the cobbled streets of the old town of Rennes, I head to our meeting point “Pret a Manger” at the main train station. I meet Michael from Salzig, süß und lecker, Alex and Susanne from Gourmet Connection, Susanne Head of Central Purchasing and Stephanie Key Account Manager from Frische Paradies, Isa from Coucoubonheur, Mihnea from 24 Stunden Gastlichkeit and Kiki from Feinschmecker Magazin.

Special guests such as star chefs Nils Henkel from Restaurant Papa Rhein Bingen, Sebastian Prüßmann from Sansibar Sylt, and Guy de Fries from Landhaus Monchenwerth in Meerbusch also join us. We leave in two cars heading for Finistére. While on the highway, I am surprised by the number of cars. Anyone who drives through France knows how empty the highways are, but the Bretons refuse to charge tolls and the highway is free for everyone. The closer we get to the coast, the more tamarisk trees in lush green line the highway.

Foto Credit: Frische Paradies

LESCONIL 

After a drive of about 2 1/2 hours, we finally reach the picturesque harbor town of Lesconil. The idyllic place is located in the southwest of Brittany by the Atlantic coast and is part of the historical landscape Cornouaille in Finistére (Finis-terre = at the end of the world). In the small fishery harbor, we admire the colorful boats gently floating on water beneath a bright blue sky. The climate here is rough and always windy, but Brittany presents itself from its most beautiful side. The nice weather with blue sky, bright sun, and stunning scenery bewitch me.

In Lesconil, freshly caught fish and especially langoustines is sold daily by the fishermen right at the quay. Lesconil is also well known for its seaweed farming, the vegetable of the sea. During a long walk on the hiking trail GR34, you can reach the white sand beaches of the Plage des Sables Blancs, when you turn left in the village. On the right of the village, the dunes and the bizarre rock formations of Les Rochers du Goudoul at the Plage de Kersau impress us. The sea and the wind have shaped the granite rocks into the shape of animals, such as turtles or elephants. The combination of cliffy coast and fine white sand is truly impressive. In addition, there is the most spectacular play of the tides, which uncover endless seeming sandy beaches at low tide. Then there is the sound of the waves, which have been proven to provide positive energy and free the soul.

HOTEL DU PORT

We stay at the Hotel du Port in Lesconil. A small friendly family hotel right on the harbor. The hotel is designed in a Breton country style with French charm and modern simplicity. Most of the 12 rooms have a view of the port. Nice and cozy is the bed nestled between 2 closets. The room also has a small desk, a fancy chair, and a flat-screen TV. A small bathroom with a shower and toilet is also available. The shower is walk-in and has an elegant and classic metro-tiled look.

The hotel also has a restaurant and bar attached. The restaurant serves traditional, regional, and fresh products from both the sea and the land. We only had breakfast and the varied breakfast buffet amazed us with lots of healthy and regional products. Large windows give the room a bright and open atmosphere, along with a beautiful view of the harbor. Sitting outside in the café in the September air, looking over the picturesque harbor, and drinking espresso is just priceless.

ON THE TRAIL OF COMMISSAR DUPIN IN SAINTE MARINE

Sainte Marine is a picturesque harbor town about a half hour from Concarneau, where Inspector Dupin from Jean-Luc Bannalec’s detective novels lives. One can feel the love for Brittany in his crime novels, as many of the towns, people, or festivals that appear there exist, just as the Café du Port in Sainte Marine does. During his investigation in Bretonische Brandung*, Inspector Dupin reflects on his cases at the Café du Port. The author has also published a Travel Guide* and a Breton Cookbook* which features Commissaire Dupin’s favorite recipes from Brittany.

CAFÉ DU PORT IN SAINTE MARINE

The charming Café du Port is a restaurant and a place to be. It has a magnificent location on the idyllic harbor and offers high-quality Breton dishes. Right at the entrance, you can find an aquarium filled with freshly caught lobster, crabs, and other seafood from the coastal fishery. Its ceilings and walls are covered with tropical wood, and its large windows and handrails remind us of the interior of a ship. We start the evening with a glass of Kir Breton, an aperitif made with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and chilled dry Breton cider, bright red in the glass, and simply delicious! Cidre is the equivalent of our Hessian Apfelwein and the have to drink in Brittany. The “Fouesnant of Manoir du Kinkiz” is one of the best ciders in Brittany.

We experience a culinary sailing trip and start with the signature dish of Brittany, “Plateau de fruits de Mer”. We slurp, crack and scoop cooked seafood served cold such as oysters, clams, edible crab, langoustines ( known as “Demoiselles de Loctudy”) and winkles and whelks. Along with a delicious homemade mayonnaise, vinaigrette and crusty fresh Baguette with salted butter. Enjoying the seafood platter with a view of the ocean is a double pleasure. I already once had the pleasure of these fresh delights at FrischeParadies in Frankfurt, read my post here. We finish the evening with a delicious dessert, a crème brulée with tonka beans is my choice.

It is quite dark on our way back to the hotel, the Bretons are already saving energy and the streetlights are all switched off. As a result, we are honored with a breathtaking starry sky. The port looks somehow different until I notice that the water has disappeared and the boats that were previously bobbing in the waves are now lying on the bottom of the sea at low tide.

FROM LESCONIL TO GUILVINEC BY BOAT

In Lesconil we jump on board of “Peche en Mer”, an authentic fishing boat. The sun is shining, and small white sheep clouds wander across the blue sky, delighting us in its most beautiful shades of blue. The sea shimmers in azure blue and astonishes us, how lucky can one be? Our captain Didier cruises with us across the open sea towards Guilvinec. He tells us that you can also do deep-sea fishing and even have fishing parties on his 12-meter boat.

The boat hops on the waves, and with the smell of the sea in our noses and the fresh wind blowing our hair, our mood lifts. From the sea, the unique beauty of the Breton coast is a sight to be seen. I am charmed by the diversity of the picturesque landscape and the intense light, an unforgettable trip. Now I can see the red lighthouse of Guilvinec on the horizon. It has something magical and is essential for the homecoming to the safe harbor for the fishing boats.

WALK TO POINTE DE MEN MEUR

We walk from the port towards Pointe de Men Meuer along the wild coast. This coastal village is stunningly idyllic, framed by beautiful granite stone houses with blue shutters and old bigouden villas. Nils Henkel stops at a rocky wall on the shore, where lots of sea fennel grows. Sea fennel looks a bit like a succulent, and its tiny leaves contain really concentrated aromas. It only grows on rocky coasts in the influence of the sea spray.

Nils tells us that he prepares a salad from the leaves of the sea fennel or uses them as a seasoning. I can imagine a pesto from sea fennel quite tasty. We continue walking, and the Breton coast presents us with its unique landscape. The coast is covered with granite and there are round holes in the rock now and then. These have been broken out a long time ago and used as millstones.

LOBSTER AT AN ATOLL RESTAURANT

As is known, the sea makes you hungry! Fortunately, the Hip An Atoll is not far away. The friendly team awaits us for a Rendez-Vous with the Homard. The table is already set beautifully for us, including bibs, tongs, and cutlery for the lobster. We start with fresh oysters, as it should be otherwise. Nicola, who runs the An Atoll for 17 years, serves us delicious codfish balls. But before we can enjoy the fresh lobster, Nicola presents us the beauty alive. The lobster has a beautiful black body with a slightly bluish shimmer.

We tie the lace around our necks and are ready to eat. It is great to put aside table manners when eating lobster. The lobster is tender, but also firm, and delicious. Sitting in such a beautiful place by the Atlantic with a view of the Pointe Men Meur, and the endless sea and eating delicious lobster is just unforgettable. By the way, it is really easy to prepare lobster, here I have a recipe for you. We end the wonderful lunch in this beach jewel with a homemade vanilla shot. A hip hip on the homard of An Atoll.

COMPTOIR DES GOURMETS 

Well-fed and happy, we walk back to the port and drop in at the Comptoir des Gourmets. The store has a large selection of Breton specialties, such as canned fish, fleur de sel, cider, beer, cookies, or caramel with salted butter. I find the sardine tins with original illustrations quite beautiful. We browse and adore the Breton nautical decorative products such as tableware, textiles or accessories, and typical souvenirs made in Brittany. I pick a kitchen towel which you can see below in my recipe.

HALIOTIKA – LA CITÉ DE LA PECHE

We move on to the Haliotika Fishery Museum in the harbor of Guilvinec. In the virtual exhibition of the city of fishing, we enter the fishing boat “Bara Breizh” and learn everything about the process of hard work of coastal fishermen on the boat, which provides us with fresh fish and seafood every day. We start on deck in the captain’s room, moving on to the kitchen, in the gangway, and finally, take a look at the cabins. In a short film, we watch the fishermen catching the fish under hard physical work at night, against wind and storm. The fish are sorted in the storeroom, cleaned, and prepared for docking. I realize more and more how hard the back-breaking job is.

Foto Credit: Frische Paradies

LANDING OF THE FISHING BOATS IN GUILVINEC

Leaving the virtual exhibition, we head to the panoramic rooftop of the auction hall. From here we see the return of the coastal trawlers and the landing of the fish. The first vessels appear on the horizon, and one after the other comes into the safe harbor. It is almost like the Frankfurt airport. The fishermen are ready to start with the unloading of their catch of the day. Even the squawking seagulls that fly around the ships are eager for a tasty co-catch.

What a hustle and bustle, the fishermen tie their boats with a line by the bow and lift the boxes out of their boats with the wriggling langoustines, monkfish, rays, squid, sardines, and much more. Volunteers are waiting at the quay with trolleys to receive the fresh fish and bring it to the auction hall, where the fish are sorted according to the catch method, quality, and size. The freshly caught fish can be purchased by anyone in the small poissonerie (fish store) right next to the auction hall.

PURCHASING FOR FRISCHE PARADIES AT CRIÉE

It is frosty at the Criée, the fish auction hall, and smells like fresh fish and the sea. The pro purchaser Guy from Moulin Loctudy buys fish for Frische Paradies, and he is well aware of the quality of the products he is looking for. He can spot the best product at first sight when it passes by him in boxes. A digital display board shows him information about the boats and the goods, such as the weight and the starting price.

The auction starts with a high price and goes further down until the first buyer hits. This requires his full concentration and intuition to buy high-quality goods not so expensive or even to lose it as someone else hits since the objects of desire are in high demand. Guy buys the goods in a flash and just as quickly they are loaded into the truck, which is waiting outside the ramp for loading and departure. The quality products are then transported to the nearby Moulin Loctudy Marée for further processing.

THE LOTTE – THE MONKFISH

The monkfish (Lotte in French) and its bizzare look is the eye-catcher of the day. Our guide tells us that a monkfish (sea devil) is a “ground fish”, which lies well camouflaged on the seafloor and that the smallest weigh at least 4 kg. Its body is flat, and it has no scales. The head is exceptionally wide, the eyes are tight, and the enormous mouth is full of sharp teeth. Not surprising that he is called monkfish, due to this creepy look.

The Monkfish lies on the bottom of the ocean and ambush fish attracted to an antenna that’s used as bait. Once fish draw near, the monkfish strikes quickly and can swallow fish that is nearly its size! The flavor of monkfish is compared to lobster, but it often costs a fraction of the amount. This has led to monkfish being called “the poor man’s lobster.” That’s why it is desired in gourmet cuisine, by the way, only the queue du Lotte (the tailpiece) and the joue du Lotte (cheeks) are used in haute cuisine. Its white, firm, and boneless meat is a real treat.

Moules de Cournouaille

GOURMET DINNER AT AC LE LEVIER RESTAURANT

Arnaud and Christine pamper us with a gourmet dinner in their restaurant Ac Le Levier in Loctudy. About ten years ago, Arnaud transformed the restaurant into a temple for gourmets and received the desired Michelin star for his efforts. But after a while, he missed his freedom in cooking, gave up his star, and returned to his roots. Today Arnaud manages the family-run restaurant with his sons Arthur, César, and his wife Christine. He works with local producers and cooks the way he likes, but still stylish and with finesse.

The restaurant has a beautiful terrace with a magnificent view of an inlet. The interior is very cozy with lots of wood and elegant decoration with a maritime look. Some French business partners from Frische Paradies join our group this evening. Together we spend a pleasant evening, using our hands and feet to communicate with one another. We eat like God in France at Arnaud’s.

LOCTUDY 

The next morning we arrive Loctudy, the second most important fishery port in Brittany. The Tourelle des Perdrix, a stunning lighthouse with a pretty black and white chessboard pattern, shines in the moody morning light. On the opposite side, we view the small island of Ile Tudy. A fisherman tells me that the island used to be disconnected from the mainland and could only be reached by boat. After rich Parisians and Bretons moved into their vacation homes there is now a road leading to the island. The port of Loctudy is the capital of langoustines and famous as “Demoiselles de Loctudy”.

Foto Credit: Frische Paradies

PROCESSING IM MOULIN LOCTUDY MARÉE SARL

At Moulin Loctudy Marée, Chef Nicolai and his wife, who had joined us at the table in the restaurant the night before, are waiting for us. One of his key customers is Frische Paradies from Germany. For food safety, the strictest hygienic conditions are required at all stages of the process, so we put on some protective equipment and enter the holy halls. We watch how the freshly caught fish, which Guy purchased in the auction hall, is being processed by hand.

We watch as Guy cuts out the noble filet and the tender cheeks from the Lotte professionally and in a high-precision manner. The large belly flaps are cut out, for Frische Paradies wants them without. Only the tailpiece and the cheeks are used, which belong to the most exclusive and expensive fish specialties. Except for the backbone, the white and firm meat is almost boneless. Fish broth or Soup are made of the fish remains.

Foto Credit: Frische Paradies

TOPSELLER OF FRISCHE PARADIES

One of the top sellers of Frische Paradies is the fished sea bass called “Bar de Ligne”. It is caught by hand in small boats by well-known and trustworthy fishermen. Among the other top sellers of Frische Paradies, which are processed here are Dorade Royal, red mullet, sole, langoustine, mackerel, turbot, sardines, and many more. The cooling chain may not be interrupted during the whole procedure. Whole fish and fillets are then professionally packed with ice in polystyrene boxes and sealed with the special blue Frische Paradies lids and immediately transported to Germany.

QSFP GOODS FROM FRISCHE PARADIES

Frische Paradies has its quality seal, the QSFP, which stands for Quality Seal of Frische Paradies. Products with this label are under the strictest controls and belong to the highest quality. For fish and seafood from Brittany, it is guaranteed that the products arrive at the fish market of Frische Paradies in Germany, Innsbruck, and Mallorca in the shortest time, within 48 hours after the catch. Due to the exact data recording, the products are tracked from the sea to the fish counter without any gaps.

INTERVIEW WITH FISCHER PHILIPP

We meet Philipp, a retired fisherman, in the authentic Café le Neptune at the port of Loctudy while enjoying a café au lait and croissant. Philipp and Nicolai are friends since their school days. His grandfather and father used to work for fishermen, and he says he was born on the quaysides. Philipp is suffering from seasickness, but this does not stop him from being a fisherman. During the strongest winds, he often went out to sea and experienced some dangerous situations. It is up to each fisherman to decide whether to go out, but since only a few go fishing on such days, they receive high prices. All fishermen are registered and must apply for a certain fishing quota (catch), which they may not exceed. They must buy these quotas from the fishing federation and their observation is tightly followed.

He is concerned about climate change and the overwhelming of the oceans. The fishermen are noticing it! In the past, only cold-water fish existed, but now fish from the warmer zones have settled here. Especially the pulpo, first the fishermen were excited to catch the pulpo, meanwhile, it is becoming scary to them. These hungry robbers like to eat expensive lobsters, langoustines, and scallops. Their babies eat shrimp larvae for up to 3 months. Nicolai informed us in the morning in the Moulin, that from 10.000 tons caught in the morning 8000 tons were Pulpo. Philipp wishes more support from the government for the fishermen.

THANKS

I learned a lot about fish and seafood from Brittany during this press trip. Now I carry Brittany in my heart and will certainly come back several more times. Many thanks to Frische Paradies and Gourmet Connection for this culinary journey. It was a lot of fun. Thanks also to all fellow travelers, enthusiastic fishermen, traders, chefs, and people who accompanied, inspired, and pampered us during these days.

INGREDIENTS MONKFISH CHEEKS IN SAFFRON SAUCE

INGREDIENTS FOR HERBAL OIL MARINADE

15 g parsley

5 g basil

200 ml olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR SAFFRON SAUCE

50 g butter

1 tbsp flour

500 ml fish broth*

200 ml white wine*

200 ml cream*

1/2 tsp. saffron threads*

1 msp. chili*

salt, lemon pepper*

MORE INGREDIENTS

500 g Breton monkfish cheeks*

1 tbsp olive oil

8 cherry tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

TOPPING

1 sprig parsley

1 sprig basil

PREPARATION HERBAL OIL

Combine all ingredients for the herbal oil in a blender and mix.

Marinate the monkfish cheeks in the herbal oil.

PREPARATION SAFFRON SAUCE

Meanwhile, prepare the saffron sauce by making a roux with flour and butter and adding the fish broth. Add the remaining ingredients and bring everything to a boil. Lower the temperature and let it simmer gently.

PREPARATION MONKFISH CHEEKS

Heat olive oil, cut cherry tomatoes in half and add, fry for 3 minutes. Peel the garlic and crush it into the pan, fry briefly until the aroma rises. Add the marinated monkfish cheeks and fry for 4 minutes on each side.

ARRANGEMENTS

Pour several spoons of the saffron sauce on a plate and place the monkfish cheeks on top. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil, and herbal oil. Season with ground sea salt and lemon pepper.

BEFARMAYID!

Susan

The items marked with * are affiliate links, referral links. If you buy through this link, I get a small commission. The price stays the same for you and you can easily support my efforts. A big thank you

Gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies - Monkfish Cheeks in Saffron Sauce

Gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies – Monkfish Cheeks in Saffron Sauce

Breton monkfish cheeks an all-time classic for gourmets

Course after work cooking, fish recipe, holiday food, One Pan Recipe
Cuisine cross kitchen, fusion cuisine, Fusion Food
Keyword Gourmet trip to Brittany with Frische Paradies – Monkfish Cheeks in Saffron Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Labsalliebe

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS MONKFISH CHEEKS IN SAFFRON SAUCE

INGREDIENTS FOR HERBAL OIL MARINADE

  • 15 g parsley
  • 5 g basil
  • 200 ml olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR SAFFRON SAUCE

  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 500 ml fish broth
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 msp chili
  • salt, lemon pepper

MORE INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g Breton monkfish cheeks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic

TOPPING

  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 sprig basil

Instructions

PREPARATION HERBAL OIL

  1. Combine all ingredients for the herbal oil in a blender and mix.

  2. Marinate the monkfish cheeks in the herbal oil.

PREPARATION SAFFRON SAUCE

  1. Meanwhile, prepare the saffron sauce by making a roux with flour and butter and adding the fish broth.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring everything to a boil. Lower the temperature and let it simmer gently.

PREPARATION MONKFISH CHEEKS

  1. Heat olive oil, cut cherry tomatoes in half and add, fry for 3 minutes.

  2. Peel the garlic and crush it into the pan, fry briefly until the aroma rises.

  3. Add the marinated monkfish cheeks and fry for 4 minutes on each side.

ARRANGEMENTS

  1. Pour several spoons of the saffron sauce on a plate and place the monkfish cheeks on top.

  2. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil, and herbal oil.

  3. Season with ground sea salt and lemon pepper.

Save the recipe for later on Pinterest!

Have you cooked this or maybe another delicious recipe of mine? Feel free to leave me a comment below. If you tag your picture on Instagram with @labsalliebe  and use the hashtag #labsalliebe, I won’t miss a post and will be happy to leave you a comment as well. Can’t wait to see your creations.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

This website is created by me in my leisure under proper use of coffee 🙂 If you like my posts I would be happy if you donate me one or a few cups of coffee!

Donate an amount of your choice via Paypal.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll email you my latest recipes, travel reports and trends 1 at most 2x a week for free.

 

Be the first one to share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating