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Poisson d'Avril

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      Poisson D'Avril  or April Fish      

 

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April Fish??? What does that have to do with April Fool's Day? Well, the French always have a unique twist on things...

For centuries, April 1 has been a day marked by  practical jokes played on people around the world. France is no exception to this world-wide tradition, and in fact many people think April Fools’ Day originated in France.

French Origins of April Fools Day

Although the origins of April Fools isuncertain, the most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.

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The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles XIV of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slowly and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.

Poisson d’Avril

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Today in France, those who are fooled on April 1 are called the “Poisson d’Avril” (the April Fish). A common prank (especially among school-aged children) is to place a paper fish on the back of an unsuspecting person. When the paper fish is discovered, the victim is declared a “Poisson d’Avril.”

While it is not clear of the origins of fish being associated with April 1, many think the correlation is related to zodiac sign of Pisces (a fish), which falls near April.

Of course as someone who enjoys France in large part because of all the amazing food, my personal favorite part about Poisson d’Avril are the plethora of bakeries and chocolatiers that make fish shaped French pastries  and chocolates in honor of the holiday.

                                               

Recettes

I'm not much of a fish eater but this is one dish I love using scallops. When I smell this cooking it brings me right back to my first visit to France.  Easy to prepare and luscious to eat.   Bon Apetit!


Jocquilles St. Jacques (simple and delicious)

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Bouquet garni (Tie bay leaf, sprig of thyme and parsley in some cheesecloth with clean string)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound very fresh scallops
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Bread crumbs
  • Grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese

Preparation

1. Heat the water, wine, onion, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan. Add the scallops, cover, and simmer on very low heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add the mushrooms to the scallop poaching liquid and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the bouquet garni and reserving the liquid and mushrooms separately.

3. Cut the scallops into 1/2-inch-thick slices. If too long, cut in half horizontally.

4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour. Do not let it get dark. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the scallop liquid and mix until blended. Over very low heat, blend the flour mixture into the scallop liquid. Add the cream and simmer and stir until blended and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the scallops and mushrooms, and stir.

5. Fill 6 scallop shells or shallow 6-inch ramekins almost to the top with the scallop mixture. Dust the top lightly with bread crumbs and sprinkle with the grated cheese. (If you're not ready to serve the scallops, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

6. Preheat the broiler. Broil the scallops until the mixture bubbles and the cheese melts and turns golden brown.

           


This month's featured bag is the "April in Paris".  A medium sized project 

bag - this tote has a cotton laminated base in pink with Eiffel Towers 

scattered throughout.  The matching topper has bicycles, butterflies, 

roses and more.  This tote is big enough to carry a shawl, scarf or vest 

project with all of the yarn and needles. Truly a must-have for anyone in 

love with Paris!

                                

                                                                                  Check it out!!


 

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