One of my favourite things to do when I'm in Paris is to take a cooking class at Atelier des Chefs.
I'm a big fan of their most affordable option - a 15 euro lunch class where you learn to make a beautiful meal and sit down to enjoy it afterwards.
The class is completely in French, but even if you're a bit rusty, you work in teams and share the workload so it's possible to get by. Classmates are usually Parisians who want to learn how to improve their cooking skills so it's a great way to get to know some locals.
On our trip last week Marisa and I did a 'Formule Dejeuner' where we made cod poached in milk and herbs mixed into a luxurious buttery potato puree and topped with freshly shaved parmesan.
Our group was included a Parisian couple and woman who took over most of the grunt work. Marisa and I happily snapped photos, gasped at the amount of butter going into our potatoes, and sat down to enjoy an incredible lunch with strangers.
For an extra few euros we enjoyed a crisp glass of white wine and bathed in decadence for under 20 euros.
I love these classes because you could easily spend the same at a restaurant without the added joy of learning something.
Our recipe was so delicious I thought I should share. Don't be shy with your butter.
Poached Cod with Pureed Potatoes and Chives (Brandade de cabillaud à la ciboulette)
- Six 150g filets of cod
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 branch of thyme
- 1.5 tbsp sea salt
- 1 pound small white potatoes
- Big block of butter, cubed
- Piment d'Espelette (hot pepper, or pinch of cayenne)
- 1 bay Leaf
- 1 L milk
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Sprig of chives
- 200g wild arugula
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Peel and crush garlic, finely cut the chives and grate parmesan.
- Bring your milk to a boil in a pot with your thyme, bay leaf, salt and garlic.
- Place the filets of cod in the milk, bring back to a boil, wait a minute, then turn off the heat and let it finish cooking with the lid over the pot.
- Peel your potatoes and cut into small cubes, then boil them in salted cold water. Once cooked, drain the water crush them with a whisk. Add butter and your milk leftover from cooking the cod.
- Remove the bones from your cod and add it to your potato puree. Mix together well with your chives.
- Place in a dish and top with grated parmesan and an arugula salad (optional).