Gobble Up Life Against Covid-19: Guy Savoy’s Lentil Curry

In these times of generalized confinement, we have an old family legend about lentils, peddled from generation to generation. That of a grandfather lost somewhere between the Meuse and the Somme during the First World War. Imagine, survival in the mud and shit of the trenches. Another form of containment. We pulled the bayonet out of the barrel, under the machine gun, to expose ourselves to another kind of deadly virus. In the family story, our furry young grandfather had been stranded for days under a bus storm when a ladle of lentils was thrown into his bowl and he lapped up without paying attention to this ragougnasse. Up to the spoon too much, when a nasty piece of junk was stuck in one of his ratiches, causing him terrible pain that he had to endure for three days and three nights. “We were in the middle of a pipe breaker, he said. Me, it was nothing, my tooth, next to the comrades who had their holes drilled. But if you knew what I tasted … “


One day, he told us that he may have survived this steel storm because he had “The rage that you treat your tooth”. He had kept from this painful episode a holy scare of lentils, which made him say when he was served: “You trilled them well, didn’t you?” Are there more stones or scrap? ”

Read also Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: two desserts for the price of one


Not only is the lentil today, most of the time, well sorted but it is above all a precious vegetable protein and a universal legume in all cuisines of the world. In France alone, there is a slew of varieties to delight all the simmerings: we think of green lentils from Puy, Berry but also the blonde from Saint-Flour and lentil from Champagne.

Multi-star chef

We borrowed its lentil curry from multi-star chef Guy Savoy in his amazing book Gourmet vegetables (1). You need 100 g of carrots; 100 g onions; 200 g lentils; a teaspoon of curry powder; 15 cl of fresh cream; a tomato; a knob of butter; salt and pepper.

Wash the lentils several times in plenty of water and soak them for 45 minutes, then drain them.

Peel onions and carrots and cut them into small dice four millimeters per side. Put these in a frying pan over a low heat with a knob of butter, just long enough to let them return their vegetable water. Then add the lentils and twice their volume of water. Put a lid and cook over low heat 45 minutes. In the meantime, check from time to time that there is enough liquid in the pan so that it does not stick and, if necessary, add a little water.

After 45 minutes of cooking, add 15 cl of fresh cream and a teaspoon of curry powder. The cream will first liquefy, then when the boiling begins, it will start to reduce.

Meanwhile, world a tomato. Start by cutting a cone around the tail with a small pointed knife in order to remove the slightly hard part of the flesh at the same time. To peel the tomato, cut a small cross at the base of the fruit then immerse it for twelve seconds in a saucepan of boiling water, and then fifteen seconds in cold water. The skin then withdraws on its own.

Cut the tomato crosswise and, using the knife, remove the seeds and the pulp to keep only the flesh. Then cut the tomato into small dice.

Pour the lentils into a baking dish. Add the diced tomatoes and place in the oven for three minutes, enough time to heat the tomato.

(1) Gourmet vegetables by Guy Savoy with Guy Langlois (ed. Plon, 1985)

Jacky durand


Gobble Up Life Against Covid-19: Bistrot d’Abel’s Pickled Chicken

Unemployed technically. A week ago, the sounds of pots and pans in the kitchens gave way, for an indefinite period, to silence. Many restaurants were using social media to sell their perishable supplies to neighbors in the neighborhood on Monday. Since then, chefs, caterers, pastry chefs … have continued to share their passion for good food in a different way: some people post recipes that can be made at home online, others have wine delivered to them, taste it and talk about it in their stories on Instagram, others are still filming in the process of simmering and giving live advice, in a master class way from their personal kitchen. In short, if the doors of establishments are closed for now (at least those who do not deliver at home), the craftsmen who delight us are still there. And, paradoxically, almost closer than normal to those they feed.

Thursday, Bastien Depietri, the head of Bistrot d’Abel (1), a cork located on the Lyon peninsula, proposed on Instagram his chicken vinegar recipe. It is done in two stages and is therefore well suited for weekends. On Saturday, cut a raw farm chicken and marinate it in 15 cl of red vinegar, 15 cl of white wine, 3 tablespoons of tomato puree and 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Sunday, drain the chicken and brown the pieces in a spoon of oil (with salt and pepper) to give it a nice color. Degrease and add the aromatic garnish (two chopped onions, 4 cloves of garlic, two sprigs of thyme, and add the marinade). Moisten with chicken broth and cook over low heat 45 minutes. Check the cooking, remove the pieces. Reduce the juice, adjust the seasoning. Serve with rice and if desired, chopped tarragon. The recipe is given for four people.

(1) 47-49 rue de la Bourse, Lyon. Www.bistrot-abel.fr. Instagram: @bistrotdabel

Kim Hullot-Guiot


Deep Tomato History | Science

The history of food is quite simple with a thick stroke. After 200,000 years of living with forest berries, clams from the beach and the occasional wild boar for great occasions, modern humanity invented agriculture 12,000 years ago – the origin of the Neolithic – and with it the first settlements, the division of labor and a unusual population growth, then armies and officials, the first cities, writing and mathematics, civilization as we know it.

All this happened not only in the Middle East, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, but also in China and South America, perhaps not simultaneously, but independently. The end of the last glaciation was the critical factor that allowed agriculture to clear wide fertile lands that until then had been buried under thick layers of ice. If there is a dazzling example of the effect of the environment on the history of the human species, it is none other than the origin of the Neolithic. A change in the average temperature of the planet that literally ignited the spark of agriculture and therefore of civilization. That is the history of food.

But genomics insists on presenting us also with a deep history of food, one in which its domestication seems to have begun long before our species had anything to do with it, or that it existed at all. One of the first domesticated foods was the fig, as we know from a little box in which a dozen of these fruits had been exquisitely placed, almost as gift-wrapped, and whose fossilized remains, or mummified, appeared in an Israeli excavation dated to more than 12,000 years ago.

A fig – for those who like it – looks like a product of high agricultural technology, and few people would have opted for it as the most primitive food domesticated by mankind. The same scientists who found the box, however, also came up with the explanation of the phenomenon. The wild fig tree, which gives dwarf fruits very much like the bees, spontaneously generates mutant figs of size jumbo. Only very occasionally, on some lost branch of an unlikely tree, but surely that was enough for an agricultural pioneer to take the giant fruit and use it to reproduce the prodigy. That requires talent, but this time we must thank the support of Mother Nature. Yes, the same one that generates tsunamis and AIDS viruses.

Genomics insists on presenting us with a deep history of food, one in which its domestication seems to have begun long before our species had anything to do with it.

The bears also contributed to the domestication of the apple long before we had appeared there. This fruit comes from a tiny berry native to East Asia, and it was the bears that propagated it to the west of the continent, by the venerable procedure of eating the berry, walking one day and depositing the seed in the earth with all its garnish of fertilizer and nitrates, to express it in some way. A bear may not be as good a farmer as Cain, but he does not need to eat the largest berries and select the precursors of the amazing apples of Cézanne that we see in our markets.

Read on Subject another very notable case, the tomato, which also grew in size on the American Pacific coast tens of thousands of years before humans had set foot there. Then followed a complicated history of migrations, adaptations and selections, but someone or something had already started work. There were no bears there, so the contest is open.


Tomato: The journey of a tiny fruit born in the Andes that conquered the world | Science

Gazpacho is a lifelong Spanish drink and Italians could not imagine their cooking without tomato dressings. However, its arrival in Europe is relatively recent and its use as food is even more so. Hernán Cortés conquered Tenochtitlan in 1521 and it is likely that it was some member of that expedition who introduced the yellow tomatoes that the Aztecs consumed in Spain. The first description of the plant that is known is by Pietro Mattioli, an Italian naturalist, who wrote it in 1544, but the use in the kitchen of his country did not come until a century and a half later. The resemblance of the tomato with other poisonous plants with which it shares a family, such as the mandrake or the belladonna, meant that for a long time it was only used as an ornament. In 2020, it is the second vegetable most important in the world after the potato.

This history of conquering the world tables began many tens of thousands of years ago on the west coast of South America, in that terrain where the high peaks of the Andes are separated by a few kilometers from the Pacific beaches. This week, a team from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (USA) publishes in the magazine Molecular Biology and Evolution an article in which they reconstruct the evolutionary history of tomato.

For a century and a half, in Italy, tomato was used only as a decorative plant because of its resemblance to poisonous plants

It all started with some small wild fruits (Solanum pimpinellifolium L.) the size of a blueberry, the type of vegetable that human ancestors would have fed hundreds of thousands of years ago. Except that in America, according to the latest data, our species did not reach, at most, 40,000 years. The next step in the long process of domestication was an increase in the size of the fruit, which about 80,000 years ago, in what is now Ecuador, reached the size of a cherry tomato. This variety (S. lycoperiscum L. var. cerasiform), says the lead author of the study, Ana Caicedo, was employed by the inhabitants of the region thousands of years ago, and “they have similar characteristics to those of a domesticated fruit, similar acids and sugars.”

That made think that those responsible for that transformation in ancestral tomatoes had been humans. However, Caicedo and his colleagues, using complete genomic sequences of 166 samples of wild, intermediate and domesticated tomatoes to reconstruct the history of that domestication, place the event at least 400 centuries before the arrival of the first humans to America. When immigrants arrived on the continent they found work done.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found some other surprise on the way of wild tomatoes to what is now Mexico, where there are the first tests of domestication of tomatoes that are the basis of current (S. lycopersicum L. var. lycopersicum). “When migrating to the north, tomatoes that were the size of the cherry became smaller, possibly because when changing latitude and environment they had to evolve and acquire other characteristics to survive,” says Caicedo. These little fruits “still grow in the cornfields [lugares de cultivo] from Mexico, where people eat them even if they don’t grow them on purpose, ”explains Hamid Razifard, another of the authors of the work. These little tomatoes were later the base on which the ancient Americans worked to select varieties and create the tomatoes that would eventually reach Europe and conquer the world.

The first humans who arrived in America already found cherry-sized tomatoes that we know today

In addition to knowing the evolutionary history of such an important plant, the research of the team led by Caicedo can be useful to improve current tomato crops. The genetic study has allowed to identify variants that improve resistance to certain diseases or drought and that knowledge can be used to create tomatoes with these virtues. In other intermediate populations of the plant, which varied to adapt to a large number of environments between the Andean region, Central America and Mexico, populations that produce a greater amount of sugar or beta carotene have been identified, two interesting characteristics because they make them Tomatoes taste better or have a more attractive color.

Throughout the world there are efforts to make tomatoes again a tasty fruit as it was not so long ago. The selection of producers, who preferred to grow larger tomatoes or with a brighter skin, neglected their flavor and now there are projects to recover it. In 2017, a team in which I participated Antonio Granell, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants, in Valencia, sequenced the complete genome of 398 tomato varieties, including modern, traditional or wild such as those that appeared in South America tens of thousands of years ago. Then, the genetic basis of the production of 13 chemical compounds associated with flavor that abound in ancestral varieties and are scarce in those found in the supermarket were identified. After such a long journey, from smallness in its cradle along the Pacific to global success, science wants to help the tomato recover some of its essence.