as Long as it is sincere, rooted in a terroir, that it transmits emotion, delights the taste buds without pay in the demonstrative folk – specification not in the scope of the first spoil-sauce come -on, a kitchen can become a manifesto.
Alexander Couillon, 43 years, demonstrates this. Here are two decades with his wife, Celine, he holds the reins of the Marine, Noirmoutier, france. They drooled, the house went to the brink of shipwreck, but, praise God, the talent has triumphed over the creditors. Today, the maturity of the leader and constant movement allows him to send dishes wonderful in suggesting to its customers that there is nothing really complicated in there.
The oyster black “Erika”. The Navy
But let us turn to the manifesto of supernaturalism, signed Couillon. It is read as a whole in one of the dishes that has made it famous. Although it is absurd to reduce a great cook to a single base – without which it would have to be a chef at the little foot – it should be a stop on the oyster black “Erika”. Remember: in 1999, a tanker by this name was puking falling 30,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on the coast of brittany and vendéennes. As some of the recipes from the gastronomic heritage, that of the oyster black is intimately linked to the current events of his time, and due to the blunder of a small hand: a chef in charge of making a broth of squid forgot “désencrer” bugs, where a mini-black tide of pot. The genius of Couillon did the rest.
Rather than the stomach, the head seeks the flavor ultimate, the blue note imperceptible but essential
The oyster, a large specimen, is poached gently in a couple of minutes, in this hot night. It is served with a powder of Colonnata bacon, white as the limestone of the shell and a pellet of sugar, which is the mother-of-pearl. The unusual color is mutine against the instructions of your brain. It makes your senses blown away by the texture and flavor unheard of the ufo, sweet and salty. Then the neurons you and whisper how much she is bold, this is a story of resurrection and resistance told in a restaurant that has an intimate knowledge of the Atlantic.
The signature of Alexandre Couillon? A delicacy ubiquitous, a focus on the truth of each flavor, a science, a little common cooking and marriages between the fish and vegetables from the kitchen garden of the house, the first received at the dawn of the fishermen vor, the latter picked each morning. Rather than the stomach, the head seeks the flavor ultimate, the blue note imperceptible but indispensable. This does not exclude the assemblies tonic, as this truffle mackerel-coffee. It is said that with these two loud-mouthed, and the cocktail is going to wipe out the mouth. But not: presented in a bowl covered with grains of coffee, warm, sweet, hot and melting, you upset a balance of kindness, his strength tranquillisée.
A sole dazzling
We will tell not here lunch February 21 – mist on the port, 6° to 12: 30 p.m. – at the crumb of bread near by, but in the disorder, according to the flashes that come. Hey, this fillet of sole, incredibly thick, perfectly cooked, accompanied by a jerusalem artichoke, the leaves of spreading atriplex and truffle grated. The just cooking fish, this is the precise moment where it is no longer believed – after that, it is damn. The juices can give the best of themselves, the flesh is still pearly, but without the elasticity of the sashimi.
This sole, therefore, sprang from the fog, stunning in its recipe bourgeois and modern, and this is imposed by the memory of the mackerel which had preceded it. It had been cooked on the coals, skin side down, and then hung around in a turnip daikon (made in Noirmoutier, france) in all its states, from the flower to the leaf, with a little sauce to the honey hive home. Already, it is gorgeous. Then, it is very, very good. The rectangles to the door in the form of which has been detailed blue fish are rosy bottom, crispy top. The “root” -orchestra”, of which the flesh has been grated into very fine filaments, while the serrated leaves are playing at the rocket, releases unexpected flavors.
And the “return of fishing”, which is the land ocean what the gargouillou of vegetables and herbs (Home Arm, Aveyron) is the mountain? A walk of historical memory, through the memory of fishing, walking, foreshore and water holes salt in which struggling small crabs. In the plate, this gives, on this day, and a lovely array of abalone, cuttlefish, prawns (famous), knives, lobster, with a backdrop of clarity orange colour of a broth of small crabs. It is a cold plate, a nod to the seafood platters of the breweries, most of the time distressing, alas. Little touches of light mayonnaise are hidden here and there. Each ingredient is enhanced by a cooking measure, the stock of small crabs, alone, and touch to perfection. A composition pointillist casse-gueule, but so successful, that returns to the saint-jacques served just now as an amuse-bouche, the nuts as a ribbon, placed raw on a broth extract of the coral dried: another invention of very-high volume
place yellow. SDS
In another genre, here is the place yellow line. It indulges you in the splendid nudity of a stretch white that nothing covers it. To the side of his majesty, a variation of the cabbages in the garden variously dressed: kale, that is no longer as it is the happiness of the tables mode, romanesco, more rare and it is a shame when you see what he is capable of giving, and cabbage Vaugirard, much less known still, whose green leaves and rounded evoke those of its cousin, Brussels. The greenery brings nervousness and acidity, pointed to the sugar of a juice of onion sprinkled with grains of black grapes. As to the place, the only advice we could give would be to go to any case stopped to discover the potential size of this fish – as long as you understand that it has nothing in common before cooking.
Crumble the millet
If they are perhaps not at the same level in the stratosphere of savoury dishes, the desserts remain exquisite. The ice cream in the milk that was smoked in the chimney with crumble the millet and cigarette crispy flour black bean creates the surprise by bringing the gourmet in a registry of taste that the pastry chefs never address also frankly.
In the aftermath, a re-enactment funny and very greedy of the wood of the Chair, where the trees are swaying in the wind not far from the Navy: an ice cream pine sap, applied on the foam (a biscuit with matcha green tea), which itself has the feet on the ground (chocolate protean). The leaves of burnet announce the spring, the skin of jerusalem artichokes-dried to ensure without fail the crusts with a crumble, cocoa-flavored. Finally – understand: before the assault unreasonable of a flight of mignardises – an assortment of citrus fruits refreshes the end of the meal, accompanied with a sorbet with walnut oil, and touches of honey. To note, hidden under a host meringue, hazelnut cream to the flavor of the devil.
“It took Columbus partît with madmen to discover America,” wrote Breton in the Manifesto of surrealism . In clinging madly to his island, Alexandre Couillon has discovered the taste.
The Navy. 5 rue Marie Lemonnier, 85330 Noirmoutier-en-l’ile. Tel.: 02.51.39.23.09. Menus 88 (lunch), 122 and 178€. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.