Picardy: A Kitchen Garden
Picardy is a wheat-growing region with a rich yet simple gastronomic tradition. The Somme department is an incredible kitchen garden. To get an idea, just look at this list of delicious vegetables grown in the region: carrots, watercress, endive, salicornia, rhubarb, and apples, which are cultivated for making both cider and desserts. The Somme River supplies a variety of fish such as eel, trout, carp, pike, and zander, which are prepared in tasty soups and fricassees. On the coast, saltwater fish such as sole, plaice, sea bass, and herring are caught. Picardy offers an excellent selection of seafood. We recommend that you try ficelle picardie (Picardy-style crêpes), Abbeville-style marinated herring, without forgetting the traditional "gâteau battu" (cake). Make sure to stop and try duck pâté en croûte from Amiens as well as the city’s macaroons that are made with both almonds and honey. And finally, wash everything down with a glass or two of cider, the traditional drink of the region.
The most renowned specialties are ficelle picarde, flamiche (cheese tart), and whipped cream.
Cheeses to enjoy here include Maroilles, Rollot, Belle des Champs.
Wines and Spirits:
(formerly specialized in cask making)
Ficelle Picardie (serves 6)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- 12 medium-sized crêpes (6 inches/16 cm in diameter)
- 2 cups (½ liter) Mornay sauce (Béchamel sauce with cheese)
- 6 slices cooked ham
- ½ pound (250 g) button mushrooms
- 3 shallots
- ½ cup milk
- grated cheese
- Make the crêpes and set aside. Make the Mornay sauce and set aside.
- Soften the chopped shallots in butter. Add the thinly sliced mushrooms. Season. Mix the mushrooms and shallots into the Mornay sauce.
- Cover each crêpe with the sauce, then a half a slice of ham, and cover again with the sauce. Roll the crêpes up like cigars and place them in a gratin dish.
- Dilute the rest of the sauce with the milk and pour it over the crêpes. Sprinkle the dish with some grated cheese.
- Cook at 425°F (220°C) for about 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.