Some recipes are jewels. Wrapped inside a fancy pink box decorated with a wreath and cherub, pink tissue paper, and thick lavender velvet cover, the recipes of Ladurée: Savory from Editions Chene (2011) are a true gift, a little cadeaux from one of Paris’ best know teashops. La Durée was founded in 1862, but recently under Groupe Holder, it is expanding its fancy shops around Paris and the globally – adding savory to the pastries and cakes that were traditionally consumed by Paris’ Mademoiselles and Madams. These recipes are from Chef de Cuisine Michel Lerquet. The chapters deal with different meals, from Brunch with Friends to Elegant Picnic, to Lunch: Variations on a Classic Theme, and so on to include dinner and supper dishes as well. Sophie TramierBrunch might start with Petit Pain Perdu de langoustines Aux Amandes (p. 10) in which 12 langoustines are nestled over greens in brioche and napped with a langoustine cream. Perhaps Blini Au Tarama d’Oeufs de Cabillaud et Petales de Rose would be more luxurious? The slivers of rose petals alight on a cup of tarama salata along side two perfectly cooked blini.
More intriguing are the Tapioca dishes: Tapioca Aux Herbes Potagers (p. 38) is a herb salad (cherval, parsley, tarragon, thyme, chives and celery with tapioca pearls. There is another, Tapioca Aux Fruits Secs (p. 40), of tapioca with dried fruits served as a savory dish with olive oil, fleur de sel and thyme. A third has tapioca mixed with cherry tomatoes like pasta, Tapioca Aux Tomates Fraiches et Tomates Confites du Midi (p. 42).
Some of the recipes have very suggestive titles as in Salade Casanova (p. 56) for a light picnic. It is an Asian inspired salad with crabmeat that’s meant to seduce. Other titles have great import for the French; Salade Bonaparte (p. 76) includes carefully cut rounds of smoked salmon and salmon roe. Ladurée is famous for its macaroons, and they appear in savory form in several recipes like Filet de Canette au Macaron Cacao Caoncasse, Carottes au Curcuma (p. 224) with turmeric glazed baby carrots.
Ladurée presents its recipes in a box suited for its famous macaroons or other pastries. Inside are sophisticated recipes for pleasurable meals, many with luxurious ingredients that match the fancy silver-edged paper, thick velvet cover, and pink box. Instead of that bottle of champagne or box of chocolates, bring this little cadeaux.