From Nick de Toldi www.gourmetfly.com  This flambe of pheasant with apples and calvados also works well for quail.  Apples and Calvados grew up together and are intted for each other, eternally.  A little creme fraiche also soothes the tempestuous passions.

Pheasants breasts in the Normandy style.

One bird serves two as the legs would better go in a terrine. This is an easy recipe as you do not need to properly pluck the birds. You can even use the two breasts only after removing them simply with a knife. This recipe also applies to good chickens and guinea-fowls. Le Pays d’Auge is the Norman countryside of Deauville and Honfleur. The Norman chalk-streams are flowing across dairy meadows -for camembert cheese- also planted with old apple trees producing cider and calvados.

The first step is to cook tender and brown quarters of two Golden type apples. The apple quarters must be skinned then sauté with a pan in a mixture of oil and butter. When they are done and well tender, just let them wait apart in a plate.

In the same pan, put more butter and melt a crushed clove of garlic and a chopped shallot or small onion. Season the two breasts and the legs with salt and pepper and gently cook them sauté in the perfumed butter. When the breasts are well coloured, reduce fire, cover and simmer 5 minutes then put them in the waiting plate with the apples.

Deglaze with a blend of 5cl (3 fl oz) cider vinegar and the same of Calvados. If these essential raw materials were missing, Jerez vinegar and Armagnac or brandy would be fine. Put a flame on, and flambé ! briefly the Calvados. Add a small pot of fresh (or double) cream -200/250 grs or 7 fl oz- mix and scrape the pan with your wooden spoon and let this sauce become brown and thicker. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Put the apples in the sauce, mix and place the breasts in the center. Cover the pan and simmer again five or ten minutes on very moderate fire. The presentation trick is to see the nicely coloured breasts surrounded by the appetizing sauce but not covered by the sauce. A small sprinkle of fresh green parsley on top always adds to the beauty of the dish.

Serve with white rice and creme fraiche (or heavy cream). Drink a white Burgundy or any light red of your taste and don’t forget a toast to the old friends.