I’m still rather reluctant to share this recipe with you. Most things I share on the blog are things that have worked out for me; actually, this goes for all things I have posted on the blog. I’m by no means an expert chef, you know that, but my reasoning is, if it works for me then it will most certainly work for you. And so a recipe gets posted.
So why then am I sharing this recipe that has dismally failed on me, with you? I'm not exactly sure why, I think that cruel, self-deprecating part of me just wants to lay my shortcomings out on the table. One of those flaws is that I'm hopeless at savoury foods. I have my moments here and there, but as a whole, I'm a little lacking when it comes to dishes that don't contain sugar.
So now that the truth is out in the open for everyone to gawk and snigger at, let me share with you my grim rendition of what I suppose was a perfectly delectable recipe for cornmeal and shallot madeleines. I saw the words cornmeal and madeleines and thought what an interesting take in making madeleines with cornmeal. It certainly piqued my curiosity and when I discovered that I had all the ingredients on hand, including a tub of Gympie Farm crème fraîche from the farmer's markets, I was even more stirred to give it a go.
Casting all my savoury food failings aside I embarked upon this recipe with all hope that it would turn out a treat. And while I was following the instructions to the letter, I had every inkling that it would be successful. After all I was using great ingredients and all I needed to do was execute the recipe as instructed. Right?
Hmm, I don't know exactly where the train-wreck ensued, probably somewhere between putting the madeleines into the oven and then taking them out. They looked all right and the smelled okay, but they tasted almost like feet- crunchy yellow, onion-scented feet. I realise that many of you probably came here to be swept up by some delicious dish that incites drool to drip from the corners your mouth, but I guess this time I fail you.
So the madeleines didn't exactly taste like feet, they tasted quite buttery in fact. But aside from it's distinct onion smell, there was a slight scent of feet. I'm not exactly sure, but I imagine that your olfactory senses have a lot to do with your sense of taste, so the fact that the madeleines smelled somewhat of feet, made it seem like it tasted like feet. It almost feels inappropriate to be speaking about such a charming thing as a madeleine but sometimes you just have to call it as it is.
I must point out that the madeleines weren't a complete failure; some people did enjoy then, although some of those people included my mother, so she probably doesn't count. And when you have a glass of wine to wash it down with, you really can't tell the difference between onions and smelly feel, can you? And if you can still tell the difference, then it’s probably indication that you need to take another swig from your wine glass.
If this recipe, even after being likened to feet, still wets your appetite then by all means give it a go and let me know if you have a better result. I would be very interested to know. I had such high hopes for it that I am fairly certain that it is more likely human error that caused the slight tang of feet, rather than the recipe itself. I guess my only advice to heed is that don't serve it to guests before trying it yourself. Luckily this was only served to my hapless family who grinned and bore it through to the last mouthful.
Coming up next: Madeleines that don't reek of feet.
Cornmeal and Shallot Madeleines with Crème Fraîche
Recipe from epicurious.com
Makes 12 medium-sized madeleines
1/3 cup minced shallot
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
1 large egg, beaten lightly
¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream plus additional as a topping
3 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a skillet cook the shallot in 1 tbsp of the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened and let the mixture cool completely.
In a bowl stir together the cornmeal, the flour, the baking powder, and the shallot mixture, add the remaining 1 tbsp butter, cut into bits, and blend the mixture until it resembles fine meal.
Stir in the egg, the crème fraîche, the water, and salt and pepper to taste and stir the batter until it is combined well.
Preheat a 12-hole madeleine tray in the middle of preheated oven for 2 minutes, remove the tins from the oven and into each hole spoon a heaping 2 tsp of the batter.
Bake the madeleines for 6 to 8 minutes, or until edges are brown.
Turn them out onto a wire rack, and let them cool completely.
Top the madeleines with the additional crème fraîche.
NOTE: The madeleines may be made 3 days in advance and kept chilled in an airtight container.