Home Food DigiBites Planner: A Classy French Lunch With Charlie

DigiBites Planner: A Classy French Lunch With Charlie

Epicurean Exchange


This was our entrée dish yesterday at our first Cooking Demo and Lunch of 2020 at the Epicurean Exchange Kitchen in Orinda!

Chef Charlie

The topic of the class was Winter French Country and the dish included Butternut Squash, Onions, Garlic, Cream, Fresh Breadcrumbs, Comté Cheese and Chives.

We offer a daytime program every month and our next gathering is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Parisian Winter Menu to Include:
Creamy Parsnip Celery Root Soup with Roasted Hazelnuts Blanquette du Veau with Rocket Salad Pear Flognarde with Honey Liqueur and Soft Cream.

Fee: $45 per person • Limited Seating

Contact Chef Charlie directly to register.

Butternut Gratin

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 ½ pounds butternut squash (about 1 large), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated Comté cheese

A few fresh chives, finely chopped

•     Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 10-inch baking dish

•     In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, 4 minutes. Add the squash slices and nutmeg and cook until slightly tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

•     Transfer the squash mixture to a baking dish. Pour the cream all over, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese on top, and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

•     Bake until golden and bubbly, 25 – 30 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the chives.

Serves 4


Butternut squash: suggest using a 22-ounce container pre-cut squash available in most markets.

Fresh breadcrumbs: loaf of Acme Sweet Batard, torn into ¼-inch pieces. Pre-toast lightly before adding to dish.

Optional: ½ pound Polska Kielbasa, cut into ¼ -inch slices and then into 3 strips, and pre-cook before adding to the squash mixture.

Optional: Sprinkle the top with Herbes de Provence before baking.

Adapted from A Kitchen in France, by Mimi Thorisson.


    • A flognarde is similar to a clafoutis (black cherries baked in a pancake-light batter). Usually, if the fruit is something other than cherries (such as the pears we are using in our menu), it is referred to a flognarde. And, yes, delicious…

      • There, yes… and every good cook knows the clafoutis is a product of the Ratchmacallit Cherry Family, indigenous to the Bellograndener region of the Alsace Lorraine! (Seriously, the stuff we learn around here!)

    • Oh, well, everyone knows a Flognarde is, uh, what you do to recalcitrant Nordic seamen and, well, was named for the infamous GoFlognarden Incident of the 1700s! Help us out here, Chef!

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