Smoking with Frenchie

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He had me at hello. No seriously, I speak French like sling blade, so when Greg Marchand the chef at Frenchie in Paris said “Hello” in English, I was smitten. The meal that followed that night was one of the best examples of ingredient love and technique restraint that’s quite frankly hard to find in Paris. We started with the smoked trout, a mesquite smoked filet served over avocado puree with pickles and dill. Our main course was a pleasantly salty roasted fork tender pork over cranberry beans, with favas and baby carrots both sweet and still slightly crunchy. Dessert was a milky panna cotta just barely set and served with red fruit coulis and a topping of fresh raspberries.

I stumbled home that night and while still drunk and happy sent a giddy e-mail to Frenchie saying “you have built it, they will come”. And come they have. In just over a year that Frenchie has been open, they have garnered the praise of every blogger and publication in Paris, raves from the New York Times, picked up a Michelin bib and Greg himself took home the Le Fooding chef of the year honors. Sadly, all this acclaim has also made our once a week spot into once a month treat, if we can score a reservation.

Of the dozen or so times we have eaten at Frenchie, the dishes that stand above the rest are the ones Greg has cooked up with his tiny Weber grill doubling as a hot-smoker. Smoked polenta w crab, smoked mackerel with asparagus, smoked oyster w sweet pea and anchovy soup and of course the smoked trout, the pièce de résistance for more than a few food critics. After I spent a day with Greg in his tiny kitchen he shared his recipe for the signature smoked trout.

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photo courtesy of David Lebovitz

Smoked Trout w Avocado Puree, Pickled Cucumbers and Dill.

6 medium size trout filets
mesquite wood chips
Stove-top smoker or a small grill with lid

Place stove top smoker or grill on two burners both on medium heat. Add mesquite chips to the bottom of the smoker and replace wire rack. Pat skin side of trout dry with paper towels and place skin side down on wire rack of smoker. Sprinkle flesh side of trout with salt. Replace the cover of the smoker and cook filets for 8 – 10 minutes until just filets are just cooked through and beads of water still linger on the surface. Remove trout filets from smoker and peel off skin.

Avocado Puree

4 avocados
1/2 lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
salt to taste

Slice avocados in half and remove pit. Using a large spoon remove the meat of the avocado and place in blender with other ingredients. Blend on high until silky smooth. Taste and add salt. Store chilled in airtight container.

Dill Pickled Cucumbers and Shallots

2 cups h20
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 english cucumbers sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
4 shallots peeled and sliced
1 bushel of dill

Bring h2o, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and add cucumbers and sliced shallots. Once it reached room temperature add dill and refrigerate overnight.

Drizzle plate with a little olive oil. Spoon avocado puree into the center and place smoked trout filet on puree. Top trout with pickled cucumbers, shallots and dill. Serve immediately.

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Restaurant Frenchie
5 rue de Nil – Paris – France – 75002
01-40-39-96-19
www.frenchie-restaurant.com

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12 Responses to “Smoking with Frenchie”

  1. Meg Zimbeck Says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe – if I can’t get into Frenchie I may as well try this at home!

    Any news on if/when Greg is opening a new place in Paris?

  2. jennchic Says:

    great photos! can’t wait to try the recipes. a little bit of paris can brighten any day. xo

  3. Quynh Nguyen Says:

    Thanks Braden – Greg’s smoked trout was one of the best dishes I had when I lived there last year. Alas, it is now impossible to get into Frenchie, especially planning from Seattle. Hopefully I can get a reservation for October. You had some amazing dishes as well – mmm, the chicken liver ravioli with that preserved lemon not to mention the best mint ice cream I’ve ever tasted! Are you and Laura in Seattle yet?

  4. nancy r Says:

    We tried to call and get a reservation at Frenchie the last time we were in Paris, but couldn’t get someone on the phone. Do you have any recommendations for getting in?

  5. Bill Whitman Says:

    Loved Frenchie, one of our favorite meals in Paris. Can’t wait to come back in the Spring.

  6. T Løkeland Says:

    I have a small grill, but am wondering if this method will make my apartment smell like smoke?

  7. hkmenus Says:

    Meg: Greg’s new restaurant is going to be called “cube”. Each plate will feature an ingredient done three ways and three small glasses of wine will be served with each. It will be opening March 3rd somewhere in the north Marais.

    Quynh: We will be in Seattle next week. I will be cooking at Sitka and Spruce on the 5th of August with my friend Taylor.

    Nancy: Just drop by in person during the day when they are open. You can sketch your name into the reservation book then.

    T: It will make your apartment smell like smoke, but that mesquite smell will make you want to chew your sofa cushions.

  8. Susan In L.A. Says:

    A bushel of dill for 2 cucumbers, really?

  9. Quynh Nguyen Says:

    See you at Sitka and Spruce next Thursday! Hope to see Laura too.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Love the ambiance photos too, coffee and cigarettes, smoking chefs outside, through the kitchen window… gives your post a nice intimate feel, in addition to the nice close up of the chef’s profile looking super intent!

  11. mike janowski Says:

    Braden and Laura-thanks for the tip about trying for a lunch reservation @ Frenchie, it worked and was fantastic! We ate the whole menu for Thursday the 16th. Greg was quite friendly, the service was relaxed, our waiter made an excellent wine selection (Spanish!), and the attention to detail and flavor combinations was magnifique! Great to hear he’s opening another place, only too sad I won’t be back in Paris too soon.

  12. Bill Says:

    Great article! I’m in Paris next week and would love a recomendation of where to eat and drink beside Frenchie. Thanks.

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