This past summer we visited Duras once again — that lovely village in the southwest of France that stole my heart years ago and which I plan to call ‘home’ one day. Over the years we fell in love with a few of the restaurants both in Duras and in the surrounding area. I have my favorite place to eat a good duck confit, a place that makes a consistently perfect omelet and a place that serves the best menu du jour ever. That place is called La Terrasse (4, Place Jean Bousquet), and that place was the inspiration for this wonderful dish.
Situated in front of the Duras castle, the resto quickly fills up for afternoon lunch, especially during the summer. If you have dinner there, from your table you can witness the most spectacular of sunsets behind the castle as you finish the last sip of local wine (by the way, if you’re not familiar with Duras wines, please remedy that asap).
But back to those amazing three-course lunches at La Terrasse. For (if I remember correctly) €15.50, you can pretty much eat like a royal. Everything they make is bursting with freshness, beautifully prepared and ridiculously good. I once had an osso buco that quite literally had me in a frenzy of pleasure. (Sorry, not kidding.) The portions are not skimpy, the service is efficient (don’t mind the young waiter who refuses to smile), and the wine list includes local and regional choices that are very affordable.
How they offer all of this for such a price is beyond me. I haven’t seen that many restaurants here in the Netherlands that dish out that quality for a single course alone, much less for three!
One dish that particularly wooed me was a squid ink seafood pasta. If you follow me on Instagram, perhaps you saw it back in late July somewhere. As I sat there twirling my fork into that gorgeous plate of black strands and seafood, I made a mental note that this was a recipe I would have to try to recreate back home.
And this past Friday, that is exactly what I did. It came pretty close. The only thing missing was my beloved château … and the warmth of an afternoon that was all about uninhibited enjoyment.
Squid Ink Seafood Tagliatelle
- 325g squid ink tagliatelle
- 3 tbsps mild olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- a small bunch of flat leaf parsley (half of it finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 200ml dry white wine
- juice of half a lemon
- knob of butter
- 125g large shrimp
- 50ml cream
- salt and freshly-cracked pepper
- 300g crayfish, cleaned
- freshly-grated Parmesan
- lemon and garlic bread, to serve
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta al dente. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large wide pan and gently sweat the garlic, chili and finely chopped parsley for about three minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, increase the heat and add the wine and lemon juice. Lower the heat again, cover and cook for 5 minutes. While this is cooking, melt the butter in a small frying pan and quickly color your shrimp. Drain on paper towel and set aside. Stir the cream and crayfish into the large pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Drain the pasta, reserving about 50ml of the cooking liquid. Stir the cooking liquid and pasta through the sauce and divide over 4 plates. Garnish each plate with the whole parsley, grated Parmesan and the butter-fried shrimp. Season with more pepper and serve with lemon wedges.