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Palate pleaser: Monet menu


It's estimated that a quarter-million people will stampede through the doors of the Baltimore Museum of Art to ooh and ahh at the Claude Monet exhibit that opens Oct. 13. Sooner or later, some of them will get hungry. Really hungry.

Ready to feed the masses will be Chef Jim Smith and his crew of prep cooks and kitchen hands. As part of the exhibit, he and his staff are gearing up to open Cafe Longchamps, a French eatery to be located in the museum's second-floor Woodward Room. Named in honor of the famous racecourse in France, the cafe reflects the artist's love for horses -- and it doesn't hurt that equestrian paintings already hang in the room.

Wood lattice will adorn the hallway, reminiscent of spring gardens in France, according to Steven Blair, who'll manage the cafe. Artificial turf will be laid to create an outdoor cafe atmosphere.

Cafe Longchamps, which will seat 100 diners, promises a sprawling buffet of French food to include pate, fruit-and-cheese platters and baguette sandwiches of saucisson (sausages) and garlic or ham and cheese.

The new cafe is not the only change at the museum. The Museum Cafe, located in the east wing that was built in 1982, will get French flair of its own. Special offerings include a baked fish in red wine sauce that's smothered with tomatoes and mushrooms, and a soft crepe chock-full of celery, mushroom and chicken breast pieces. Expect a variety of crisp, fresh salads, including a duck salad and salade nicoise.

"I've been reading about Monet and he emphasized a lot of fresh stuff," Smith said. "Each meal was different."

Because of the number of people who'll go to the museum for the Monet exhibit, which comes from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the dishes require little preparation time and little difficulty. The recipes are "easy to prepare and quick to put out so we can accommodate as many people as necessary," Smith said. The result is authentic French fare that just about any novice cook can prepare at home.

Duck Salad

Most people don't have time to roast duck; as a shortcut, you can purchase it from a Chinese take-out restaurant.

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon maple syrup

few drops of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup raspberry puree

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar

1/4 cup walnut oil

1/2 duck, roasted and julienne-sliced as free of fat as possible

1 head radicchio, julienne sliced

8 mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, shredded

small red onion, sliced

1 head of green leaf or Boston lettuce

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix mustard, syrup, Worcestershire sauce, raspberry puree and vinegar in a bowl. Beat in the oil. Toss dressing with duck, radicchio, mushrooms, carrots and red onion. Serve on bed of lettuce. Garnish with pecans.

Sole Duglere

1 tablespoon butter or oil

4 6-ounce fillets of sole (or rockfish, flounder or salmon; the thicker, the better)

2 shallots, finely chopped

8 mushrooms, sliced

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 bay leaf

juice of one lemon

pinch of thyme

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottom of pan with butter or oil. Sprinkle with shallots. Lay fillets on top. Heat over medium flame until the shallots begin to sizzle. Add mushroom, tomatoes, white wine, lemon juice, cream and seasoning. Bring to a simmer, cover and put in the oven. The thicker the fish, the longer the cooking. Figure 10 minutes of cooking time per inch thick. Remove fish from pan and reduce juices until thick. Coat fish with sauce, garnish with parsley and serve.

Salad Nicoise

16 ounces chunk white tuna

4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

bTC 6 small red potatoes, boiled and quartered

8 ounces cooked green beans

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

8 anchovies

20 black olives

1 tablespoons capers

1 head of green leaf lettuce


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

pinch of sugar, -- of salt

few grindings of black pepper

1/2 cup of olive oil

Prepare the salad by placing the tuna on a bed of lettuce and neatly arranging the eggs and vegetables around the tuna. Top with anchovies and capers. Mix all dressing ingredients except the oil. Slowly beat the oil into the dressing. Serve over salad.

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