French Summer Recipes
What can make you think of French cuisine? Is it a good old French comedy you watched on Friday night? Is it your favorite French song by Edith Piaf or Charles Aznavour? No doubt, you have a very original taste, in every sense of this word, if you do like something particular from French cinema or music.
So, let’s see how this taste can help you create the finest culinary masterpieces that come from the other coast of the Atlantic Ocean, from France. By the way, this week is going to bring us a great occasion to cook a few French dishes.
On July 14, the motherland of parachute and hot air balloon, stethoscope and aspirin, as well as of champagne, baguettes, and foie gras, is celebrating la Fete Nationale or Bastille Day. That day in 1789 became a turning point in the bloody French Revolution. In Paris more than 8 thousand men and women stormed the Bastille, one of the most terrible prison fortresses of that time.
This event had a significant impact not only on the further course and results of the revolution in France itself, but also on the state of affairs in French colonies. For example, one of them was lawfully sold to the United States by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803. The deal became known as the Louisiana Purchase. So, today New Orleans, as well as some other cities across the whole country, traditionally commemorate Bastille Day by arranging various festivities.
Even if you cannot join them this year, you always have an opportunity to treat your dearest and nearest with some exquisite French specialties. According to Dorie Greenspan, one of the most successful contemporary American cooks and cookbook authors, a typical French meal includes three ‘acts’: a starter, main dish, and dessert.
We are going to consider each of them in detail and come up with some delicious ideas of your French weekend menu. Enjoy the tastes and aromas of France with the treats and recipes from Marky’s Gourmet Store!
Traditional French Starters to Heat up the Appetites
Which qualities would we attribute to an ideal appetizer? It must be light, but nourishing enough to satisfy the first hunger pangs. It must not be more flavorful than our main dish, the King (or the Queen) of the Dinner, but it must be piquant enough to heat up our gourmet curiosity.
The French came up with perfect culinary solutions many centuries ago. Let’s see what you can nowadays choose from!
Duck Foie Gras with Toasts
Yes, it sounds so simple. And that is why it is so genius. Obviously, to make this nice nibble you need goose or duck foie gras of prime quality and flavorful crunchy French toasts. Also, you could try our foie gras mousse, in its pure culinary form as well as accompanied by truffles or maple syrup.
Foie gras goes equally well with different wines and even with champagne. If you prefer white wines, opt for Sauternes. Regarding red wines, traditionally they are not served with this treat. However, today even the best restaurants would recommend pairing foie gras with a good Bordeaux.
Camembert. Baked Camembert
No truly French meal can go without cheese. But if you do want to surprise your guests with something out of this culinary world, you should opt for baked cheese. Backed Camembert, in its box, is right what you need!
Serve it hot, sprinkled with olive oil and accompanied by a bouquet of spices (garlic, sea salt, and rosemary would be ideal), mixed nuts, and cranberries. Oh, and we have forgotten about a bottle of good old red Bordeaux!
Salmon Rillettes with Crunchy Baguette
Actually, traditional French rillettes is made from chopped or cubed pork. The thing is that the name of this treat is derived from the Old French word rille, which meant a slice of pork. However, considering the fact that your main dish is definitely going to be very meaty, you can opt for rillettes from smoked salmon, blended with mayonnaise, sliced chives, ground white pepper, and sea salt.
Pissaladiere with Anchovies
Looks like it is a French variety of pizza, right? Originating from Nice, Southern France, this morsel is a piquant supplement to your menu. Especially if you are going to offer a fragrant rose wine to your guests. Let’s check out its recipe!
- 20 drained anchovy fillets, halved lengthways
- 1/2 cup (90g) small seeded black olives
- 1 tbsp. baby capers, rinsed
- 3 large onions (600g), peeled and sliced thinly
- 3/4 cup (110g) self-rising flour
- 3/4 cup (11g) plain flour
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
- 80g butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
1. In a large saucepan over low heat you need to heat the butter and oil. Add the sliced onions, crushed garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cover the pot and let the whole mixture cook for about 30 min. Stir it occasionally. The onions must get soft but not browned.
2. Take away the cover and let the mixture cook for 10 min. more. Remove the thyme and bay leaf, then stir in the capers.
3. While it is cooking, heat the oven up to 220°C and oil a tray.
4. Sift both flours into a large bowl. Add the extra butter, stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough. Then turn the dough on to the floured surface and knead it until smooth.
5. Roll the ready dough into a rectangular shape (about 25cm x 35cm). Place it on the tray.
6. Spread the mixture with onion and spices over the whole surface of dough. Place the anchovy fillets in a diamond pattern and put one olive in the middle of these ‘diamonds’.
7. Bake the pissaladiere for 30 min., or until its base gets crisp.
Highlights of the Program: Sumptuous French Main Dishes
Even though not all of us can pronounce some names of traditional French main courses right on the first try, still we know that each of them was once given to an absolutely gorgeous thing. Traditionally, the main French dish is always very nourishing, fatty, and savory. But what would be great for a summer dinner?
Soupe a l’Oignon Gratinee
Simply put, it is an onion soup. But the legend says that its original recipe was invented by the French King Louis XV. At night in his hunting lodge the hungry monarch cooked it himself from the ingredients he managed to find.
The recipe we are offering here dates back to 1907. According to the New Your Times Online Magazine, it was included in the cookbook “Gastronomie Pratique” by Henri Babinski. The Times published it in print in 1974, as soon as the book was translated from French into English. And in 2007 the recipe appeared online.
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 25 to 30)
- 9 oz. Emmental cheese, finely grated
- 8 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
- 9 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup tomato puree
1. Toast and cool the baguette slices. Spread butter on each of them (about 5 tbsp. in total), lay the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese (1/2 cup).
2. Melt the remaining butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and salt. Saute and stir occasionally, until the onions get soft and golden (about 15 min.).
3. Use 1/3 of bread slices to arrange a layer in a casserole. Spread 1/3 of the onion mixture and 1/3 of the tomato puree on top. Repeat for two other layers. Add the remaining cheese. Please note that the casserole must be up to 2/3 full to avoid boiling over.
4. Add about 1-1.5 quarts of salted water into the casserole. The water must not cover the top layer with cheese, just rise to it.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°C.
6. Meanwhile simmer the dish uncovered in the casserole for about 30 min. Then bake it, uncovered as well, in the oven for 60 min. The soup is 100% ready when you can see a golden crust on it.
7. Serve some of the crust and some of the inside for each guest.
Cassoulet with Duck Confit from Marky’s Gourmet Store
We are happy to offer you a fresh cassoulet with duck confit, prepared in accordance with the traditional French recipe. Originating from Southern France, it typically contains meat, sausages, white beans, and vegetables.
By the way, in the US January 9 is celebrated as National Cassoulet Day. So, if in winter you cannot come up with a family menu, repeat this summer culinary experience. It will warm you up, reminding of sunny July days. And do not forget to serve a bottle of your favorite red wine, as it pairs well with this dish.
Time-Tasted French Desserts to Please Your Taste Buds
Of course, one of the most popular French desserts is…a cheese platter. Slice your favorite Brie, Boucherondin, Mimolette, and Roquefort, add some nuts or berries (or a berry preserve from Marky’s), and you will get a perfect final dish for your Sunday dinner.
However, if you know that your guests, and especially little guests, would rather prefer a traditional sweet dessert, we can offer you a few very delicious options. Let’s see what we have here!
If your decision to throw a picnic is so spontaneous that you hardly have time to cook some serious dishes, we know what can help you add a sweet final touch to the menu. Try our French Lemon Tart and make this sunny day even tastier.
Crepes with Fruit Puree or Berry Preserve
We could associate our pancakes with them, but French crepes are slightly thinner. So, if you would like to substitute croissants with something lighter and more tender, crepes are an ideal choice. Serve them with your favorite fruit and berry puree or preserve, as well as with honey or Nutella.
No, we can never forget about these dainties. Marky’s selected the original French macarons to let you try the real flavor of France, so sweet, bright, and romantic!
It is time to turn your favorite French songs on and choose the old French movie!