In Southern France, small slivers of a brown, salty, dense something was tossed with string beans. Was it a bouillon cube?

Any idea what it was? Not fishy.

  • Posted by: Gail
  • July 19, 2018
  • 968 views
  • 15 Comments

8 Comments

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Lori Terwilliger
Lori Terwilliger July 19, 2018

I suspect they were lardons, which were minced. It's from the same belly cut we'd make bacon of, but it's not smoked. It might be closer to what we'd recognize as salt pork. At any rate, I don't think it would have been a bouillon cube, at least not in France. That would probably get the chef stripped of his/her French citizenship. You can do the same thing in the US using pancetta, or sometimes with bacon if you don't mind a smoky add in taste. Lardons are salted and cured, and some will be cold smoked. Pancetta is generally only salted and cured. You can use bacon or salt pork as a substitute, depending on if you wanted a smoky flavor or not. Salt pork would probably need to be soaked to remove excess salt, though you'd have to determine that yourself.

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Gail
Gail July 19, 2018

I know lardons...not lardons. Was dark brown, texture of bouillon cubes, same texture. I don’t think I’ll ever find the answer. :(. I was married to a Frenchman and visited France so many times. Never saw it but once.

ChefJune
ChefJune July 19, 2018

My first thought was anchovies, Sometimes they get soaked in milk before using to remove the fishiness.
Lardons may be more likely, but they are nor usually "slivered," but left in tiny chunks.

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Megan Hornbeak
Megan Hornbeak July 19, 2018

Texture-wise I think it sounds like anchovies too. Lardons wouldn't dissolve the same way as a bouillon cube

HalfPint
HalfPint July 19, 2018

Caramelized shallots/onions? seasoned of course

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HalfPint
HalfPint July 19, 2018

Had another thought: could it have been prosciutto?

Cathleen Waters
Cathleen Waters July 19, 2018

Could it have been Maggi cubes? I've seen them (and Maggi) used regularly in the average French home.

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Gail
Gail July 20, 2018

I bet it is Maggi cubes, sliced! Going to try it. Can’t remember how salty it was, but it is a dead ringer for them. Just thinly sliced.

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nancy essig
nancy essig July 20, 2018

Green beans love anchovies. They give a salty umami flavour. That would be my guess

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dinner at ten
dinner at ten July 20, 2018

It could have been bottarga (that's the Italian and best-known name, but it's called boutarge or poutarge in France)

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Jan Weber
Jan Weber July 23, 2018

I'm going to second bottarga, which in this case is probably shaved or thinly sliced cured salted grey mullet roe (not tuna roe).

I actually found a recipe for it on a French culinary blog here (in French, of course):

https://cnz.to/vf/recettes/legumes-et-cereales/haricots-verts-rotis-copeaux-de-poutargue-recette/

Photo credit: Clotilde Dusoulier - Chocolate & Zucchini CNZ.to

Answer image

Gail
Gail July 23, 2018

Thanks for trying. I read the recipe (thank heaven an fluent in French) till the end. It is an orange color inside, so not poutarge, darn. Did you see the last picture of it? Sigh

Nancy
Nancy July 23, 2018

Gail - maybe write directly to Clotilde as another resource and ask her. You both have Fr & Eng, so should be ok.

dinner at ten
dinner at ten July 23, 2018

I think poutarge can be a range of shades including brown, depending on the type of roe and the particulars of its salting and curing. Here's a recipe that includes a picture with shavings that are quite brown: http://unmetsdixvins.com/2012/05/spaghetti-a-la-poutargue/
and I saw even darker brown versions in a google image search.

Gail
Gail July 23, 2018

Thanks!!

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