21 Recipes for a French Picnic

Celebrate Bastille Day all summer long with the perfect pique-nique français.

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Leek and Roquefort Cheese Tartlets

Makes eight 5-in/12-cm square tartlets; serves 8 to 16

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp unsalted butter

3 large leeks, rinsed and finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups/170 g Roquefort cheese, crumbled

½ cup/120 ml crème fraîche

One 17.3-oz/495-g package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed if frozen

Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

 

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer the leeks to a large bowl, add the cheese and crème fraîche, and stir gently to mix.

Roll out each pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface into a 10-in/25-cm square. Cut each sheet into four squares. Using a small knife, score a ½-in/12-mm border around the inside edges of each square, being careful not to cut through the pastry. Arrange the squares on two rimmed baking sheets/trays.

Position one rack in the top third of the oven and another rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C/gas 6. Spoon the filling over the pastry squares, leaving a ½-inch/12-mm border. Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets and continue to bake until the crusts are puffed and golden and the filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Garnish the tarts with the thyme sprigs and serve.

Both Cabernet Sauvignon and red Zinfandel pair well with the pungent cheese flavor in these tarts.

 

Recipe from Wine Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman; click here to buy.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Kate Mathis

Verrine Fraicheur: Cucumber, Yogurt and Smoked Salmon

For 4 verrines

 

You need:

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

Salt

Lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil + more to drizzle

1/2 apple (green or pink lady)

4 pink radishes, cut in small sticks

1 tablespoon + 6 tablespoons plain creamlike yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped dill

4 slices of smoked salmon, diced (try to choose a mild one, not too salty

Cracked red peppercorns

 

Steps:

Grate the cucumber and place it in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let rest on the side for 30 minutes.

Cut the apple in small sticks and drizzle with lime juice to prevent oxidation. Transfer to a bowl. Press on the cucumber with the tip of your fingers to squeeze out the excess water. Combine with the apple and radish sticks.

Add the fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon yogurt and the olive oil. No need to add more salt as the cucumber is already seasoned.

Divide between four glasses.

Top with 2 tablespoons of yogurt in each glass and finish with the diced smoked salmon.

Drizzle with olive oil and top with cracked red peppercorns. Serve with more lime juice to taste. Accompany with bread sticks.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Béatrice Peltre

Crunchy Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers

 

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 seedless cucumber or 2 long regular cucumbers, peeled

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

¼ cup distilled white vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar

¼ teaspoon sugar if you’re using white vinegar

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Minced fresh cilantro, parsley, or chives, for garnish (optional)

 

BE PREPARED: The pickles need to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

If you’re using a seedless cucumber, cut it into quarters the long way, then cut each quarter into chucks 1 to 1 ½ inches long. If you’re using regular cucumbers, cut them in half the long way, scoop out the seeds with a small spoon, then cut the halves in half the long way and slice into chunks. Toss the chunks into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and stir to blend. Let the cucumbers stand, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, then drain off the liquid.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the chopped herbs to the bowl and stir. Chill the pickles for at least 2 hours (4 to 6 hours is better), or for as long as overnight, before serving.

Just before serving, sprinkle with herbs, if desired.

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Potato Nests with Crab and Apple Topping

 

For about 20 pieces

 

You need:

2 potatoes (baking or Yukon Gold are fine) peeled and grated, about 7 to 8 oz

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt

1 egg, beaten lightly

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly grated red peppercorns, to taste

1 oz melted butter

1/2 cup crab meat (lump)

1/2 organic green apple, grated or cut in small sticks

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 scallion, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

1/2 tablespoon chopped chives + more to decorate

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt and pepper

Crème fraîche, to serve

 

Steps:

Preheat your oven at 420 F (210 C).

In a bowl, combine the grated potatoes with the egg and nutmeg. Add the parsley and season with salt and red peppercorns (or black pepper).

Take a mini muffin pan (I used a silicone one, all molds are 1.5 inch) and grease it with cooking spray. Take a small amount of the grated potatoes in your hands. Squeeze out the excess juice and press it down at the bottom of each mold, to make a nest.

Add 1/2 teaspoon butter in each mold.

Cook for 25 minutes, or until brown. Remove, unmold and let cool.

In the meantime, in another bowl, combine the crab with the apple and lime juice. Add the olive oil, coriander, scallions and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill each potato nest with the crab preparation and add a drop of crème fraiche on top. Top with a few pomegranate seeds. Decorate with chives or fried leeks.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Béatrice Peltre

Smoked Salmon and Lemon Crème Fraîche Finder Sandwiches

 

Makes 12 or 16 finger sandwiches; serves 6 to 8

 

Ingredients:

½  cup/120 ml crème fraîche

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Freshly ground black pepper

8 think slices rye, white, or whole-wheat/wholemeal bread, crusts trimmed

12 thin slices smoked salmon

12 thin slices cucumber

 

In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, capers, dill, and pepper to taste. Spread over 4 slices of the bread. Arrange the salmon and cucumber over the spread.

Top with the remaining bread slices. Quarter each sandwich into triangles or squares, or cut lengthwise into three rectangles. Serve at once.

Try them with a glass of rose, white wine, or a Champagne cocktail.

 

Recipe from Wine Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman; click here to buy.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Chronicle Books

Savory Tartine

 

I used:

Baguette

Olive oil

Ricotta cheese

Salt and pepper

Avocado

Eggplant

Cherry tomatoes

Dried oregano

Chives

Fennel bulb

Lemon juice

Sherry vinegar

Pink radishes

Piquillo Peppers

Sugar

 

Steps:

For the Bread:

To prepare the bread, cut a baguette in thin slices and brush them with olive oil. Place them in the oven (preheated at 320 F ) for about 10 mns. I also placed them under the grill for 1 mn.

For the Toppings:

Mix the ricotta with a dash of sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Slice thinly the fennel and mix it with a dash of lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.

Wash the vegetables. Slice thinly the raddishes, piquillo peppers and avocado (squeeze some lemon juice on the avocado to prevent oxydation).

Cut thin slices of eggplant and brush them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle with dried oregano and broil them for 3 mns on each side.

Mix the tomatoes with a dash of sugar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 15 mns on 400 F. Set aside.

You can then assemble your bruschetta. See details of the various toppings with the pictures.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: More Small Bites

Béatrice Peltre

Sweet Tartine

 

I used:

Pink Lady Apple, sliced thinly

Blueberries

Butter

Fine sugar

 

Steps:

Preheat your oven at 320 F.

Toast a larger slice of bread.

Increase the oven temperature to 350 F.

Butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the oven for 10 mns.

Remove and top with the slices of apples and berries. Sprinkle with sugar and cook for 20 mns or so.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: Summer Salads

Béatrice Peltre

Fruit Salad with Quinoa

Serves 4 to 6

 

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

3 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon lime zest

1 pound mixed fruit (such as strawberries, grapes, melon, blueberries, and raspberries)

Fresh mint sprigs

 

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the grapefruit juice, honey, and lime zest. Set aside.

Prepare the fruit: slice the strawberries and grapes in half; peel and dice the melon. Place all the fruit in a serving bowl and add the cooled quinoa. Add the grapefruit juice mixture and toss gently to combine. Garnish with mint and serve.

 

Recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook by Mireille Guiliano; click here to buy

 

Next: More Summer Salads

Atria

Hélène’s All-White Salad

 

Makes 6 servings

 

Ingredients

For the salad

6 celerey stalks

3 Granny Smith apples

Fresh lemon juice

10 ounces mushrooms (white, of course)

1 small Napa cabbage

For the yogurt vinaigrette

1 large egg yolk

Scant ½ cup (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) Greek yogurt

Fleur de sel or other sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

¾ cup olive oil (extra-virgin is nice but not necessary)

Juice of ½ lemon

Sesame seeds, for serving

 

TO MAKE THE SALAD: Trim the celery stalks and peel them with a vegetable peeler to remove the tough, stringy outer layer (or at least the tough strings that the peeler catches). At Délicabar, the celery was cut into ribbons. If you want to do this, cut each stalk crosswise in half, then use the peeler to shave thin strips. To curl the ribbons and keep them until serving time, put them in a bowl filled with ice cubes and water and store them in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can simply cut the celery crosswise into thin slices and toss them into a bowl.

Peel, halve and core the apples. Cut them into ¼- to ½-inch cubes. Sprinkle and toss the apples with a little lemon juice to keep them from going brown, and add them to the celery.

Depending on how dirty your mushrooms are, brush them to remove any loose dirt or wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. If their feet are fat and spongy, snap them off and discard them (or pop them into the freezer to save for vegetable broth); if not, just trim them and leave them on. In either case, cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Sprinkle and toss the slices with a squirt of lemon juice and add them to the bowl.

Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage and quarter the cabbage the long way. Cut away the tough core at the base, then cut the cabbage crosswise into thin (coleslaw-like) slices. Add to the bowl and give everything a good mix.

 

TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: You can make this dressing, essentially a mayonnaise, in a food processor or blender, or you can do it by hand with a whisk (which is the way I do it, because it’s fast and the cleanup is easy). Put the egg yolk in the processor, blender, or bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt, season with salt and white pepper, and pulse or whisk to blend. With the processor or blender running, or whisking constantly, add the olive oil drop by drop. When the mixture starts to look like mayonnaise, you can pour in the oil in a steady but gentle stream. When you’ve added about half of the oil, blend or whisk in most of the lemon juice, then return to the oil. Finally, add the remaining 6 tablespoons yogurt. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, and/or white pepper, if you’d like. (The vinaigrette can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated; whisk before using.)

To serve, drain the celery ribbons, if you made them, pat them dry, and mix them in with the rest of the vegetables in the bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette and give everything a good toss. Transfer to a serving bowl or salad plates and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

Next: More Summer Salads

Alan Richardson

Chicken Salad with Fresh Peaches in a Curry-Lime Dressing

 

Serves 6 or 8

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken half breasts, poached, chilled, and diced

1 avocado, diced

2 white or yellow peaches, peeled and diced

Juice of 1 lime

2 celery ribs, chopped

3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

¾ to 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pinch of curry powder

1 head lettuce, separated into leaves

Tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes, for garnish

 

  1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, avocado, and peaches with half of the lime juice. Add the celery, scallions, and hard-cooked eggs.
  2. Flavor the mayonnaise with the salt, pepper, curry powder, and remaining lime juice. Gently toss chicken mixture with the flavored mayonnaise and refrigerate. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead.)
  3. Serve the salad on a bed of lettuce leaves, garnished with tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes.
  4.  

Recipe from French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman; click here to buy.

 

Next: More Summer Salads

Workman Publishing Company

Crab and Grapefruit Salad

 

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 Ruby Red grapefruit

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage

1 Kirby cucumber or a 2-inch piece of seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

½ red or orange bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into ¼-inch dice

2 small of 1 fat scallion, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced

½-1 small chile pepper, very finely minced (optional)

About 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tabasco (optional)

Fresh lemon juice (optional)

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

 

BE PREPARED: Cut the grapefruit sections a couple of hours, or as many as 6 hours, ahead of time and let them stand between a double layer of paper towels so that the fruit is as dry as possible—a small but crucial step.

 

Cut the grapefruit crosswise in half and carefully cut out the half-segments, slicing along the membranes to release the fruit. Squeeze the juice from the hollowed-out halves and keep it covered in the refrigerator (discard the rinds). Put a double layer of paper towels on a plate or cutting board and arrange the grapefruit segments on the paper. Cover with another double layer of towels and pat the segments lightly. Discard the paper towels, arrange the fruit on a new layer of towels, and cover again. Let the segments sit for at least 2 hours, or for as long as 6 hours; if the towels are very wet, change them again.

When you’re ready to make the salad, drain the crabmeat if necessary, turn it out onto a double thickness of paper towels, and pat it dry. Put it in a bowl and add the cucumber, bell pepper, scallion, and chile, if you’re using it.

Cut the grapefruit segments into very small pieces, add them to the bowl, and, using a fork (or your fingers), gently toss the ingredients together. Don’t overdo it—you want the crab to stay in largish pieces if possible. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the reserved grapefruit juice and season with salt and pepper and, if you’d like, a couple of shakes of Tabasco. Taste the salad and decide what you’d like to add, if anything: I usually add a squirt or two of lemon juice for extra pop, or you may need a little more oil. Just pay attention to the amount of liquid you add—you don’t want the salad to be wet. When you’ve got it just the way you want it, stir in the mint and serve.

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

 

Next: Chilled Soup

Alan Richardson

Carrot Soup with Yogurt and Kiwi (Chilled)

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped, plus 1 carrot peeled and cut into small dice, for garnish

2 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

¾ cup nonfat Greek-style plain yogurt

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces boiled ham, cut into matchsticks

2 kiwi, peeled and diced

 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes; add the cilantro and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processer. Purée, adding some of the cooking liquid until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. When cool, stir in the yogurt and season to taste. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  3. Just before serving, cook the ham in a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Place the chilled soup in individual bowls and add the ham and kiwi, garnish with the diced carrot, and serve.
  4.  

Recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook by Mireille Guiliano; click here to buy

 

Next: Sultry Sides

Atria

Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

I sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8 ½ ounces), thawed

¼ pound fresh mozzarella

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 large spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped, or 2 medium onions, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ pound sushi-grade tuna, in one piece

12 large fresh basil leaves

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 black olives, pitted and quartered

4 small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pasty out to a square about 11 inches on a side. Using a 4½-inch cookie cutter, tart ring, or bowl as a guide, and the point of a sharp paring knife, score and then cut out 4 rounds of dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment, lay the rounds on it, and prick them well with a fork. Put a second sheet of parchment over the rounds and top with a second baking sheet to weight the dough down.

Bake the rounds for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the top baking sheet and the parchment—that can be a bit tricky, so protect your hands. If the rounds are well browned and crisp, they are done; if they look a little pale and are not thoroughly baked, return them to the oven, uncovered, to finish baking. Put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow the crusts to cool until they’re just warm or at room temperature. (You can bake the rounds up to 8 hours ahead and keep them covered at room temperature.)

 

TO FINISH THE TARTLETS: Cut the mozzarella into 12 thin slices, place them between a double thickness of paper towels, and let them drain while you prepare the rest of the pizza’s elements.

If you turned the oven off, bring it back up to 400 degrees F.

Put a medium skillet over medium heat and pour in about 2 teaspoons olive oil. When the oil is warm, toss in the onions and cook, stirring, until they’re soft but not colored, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pull the pan from the heat and divide the onions among the 4 pastry rounds, spreading them almost to the edge of the circles.

Using a long thin knife, cut the tuna against the grain into 12 thin slices. Brush one side of each slice with a little oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Top each of the pastry rounds with alternating and slightly overlapping slices of tuna (seasoned side up), the mozzarella, and basil, using 3 slices of tuna and cheese and 3 basil leaves for each pizza. Scatter over the tomatoes, olives, and radishes and sprinkle with the ginger. Very sparingly, drizzle each pizza with a little olive oil, and finish with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Slide the baking sheet back into the oven and heat the pizzas for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the tuna is opaque around the edges—it should remain translucent in the center. Serve warm. 

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

Next: More Sultry Sides

Alan Richardson

Farfalle with Yogurt-Basil Sauce

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

12 ounces farfalle

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup pearl onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

¼ cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Deglaze with the lemon juice and cook until the liquid has completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the yogurt, lemon zest, basil, and parsley. Season to taste, add the drained farfalle to the skillet, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
  3.  

Recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook by Mireille Guiliano; click here to buy

 

Next: More Sultry Sides

Atria

Saute of Peas and Prosciutto with Fresh Mint

 

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound fresh shelled peas or frozen peas, thawed

1 pound snow peas, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces prosciutto, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the shallots. Sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and snow peas and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender, being careful not to overcook.
  2. Add the butter and prosciutto, mixing delicately, and cover and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste, sprinkle with mint, and serve.
  3.  

Recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook by Mireille Guiliano; click here to buy

 

Next: More Sultry Sides

Atria

Hazelnut, Zucchini and Carrot Terrine

 

You need:

2 lb peeled carrots, cut in big chunks

2/3 cup hazelnut powder

1 Tbsp chopped savory and tarragon

4 eggs

1 oz grated parmesan

1 zucchini

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Steps:

Preheat your oven at 350 F.

Peel the carrots and cut them in big chunks (1″).

Steam them for about 15 to 20 mns.

Keep 1/3 of the carrots on the side.

Purée the rest with the eggs, hazelnut powder, chopped herbs and the grated parmesan.

Pour into a bowl and mix with the reserved carrots. (or keep them separate to make two different layers)

Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Take a rectangular terrine pan (or a bread pan) and cover with parchment paper.

Wash the zucchini and make large peels with a vegetable peeler.

Heat a frying pan and heat 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Sautée the large pieces of zucchinis, a few mns on each side.

Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the pan and place them on a paper towel to dry them out a little.

Place a few slices of zucchinis at the bottom of your bread pan, then cover with half of the carrot preparation (or the reserved carrots if not mixed).

Continue with another layer of zucchinis and the rest of the carrot preparation. (Make sure it goes down in the bottom.)

Place the bread pan with the terrine in a larger oven dish, in which you pour 1 glass of water.

Cook your terrine for about 45 mns.

Take out of the oven and let cool down before carefully unmolding.

This terrine can be eaten cold or warm.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: More Sultry Sides

Béatrice Peltre

Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle with Cucumbers and Lemon

 

Makes 6 servings

 

Ingredients:

3 zucchini (about 1 ½ pounds total), trimmed

1 large cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise in half, and seeded

1 cup finely diced Vidalia or other sweet onion (if you use a regular onion, rinse and dry the diced onion)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves (preferably not peppermint), coarsely chopped

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons pistachio oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

BE PREPARED: The salad needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

How you treat the zucchini skin is up to you. I don’t like the taste of the skin but I do like the look of it, so I peel away strips and get half as much of it. If the skin doesn’t bother you, leave it on; if it really bothers you, peel it off completely.

Working with a mandoline, a Benriner slicer, or the slicing blade of a box grater, cut each zucchini lengthwise into strips — tagliatelle — about 1/8 inch thick. Work on one side of the zucchini until you reach the seeds, then turn and cut the next side; continue to turn each time you reach the seeds. You’ll be left with a seedy inner rectangle of zucchini; discard it. Toss the zucchini into a large bowl.

Cut each cucumber half lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut the strips into slices about ¼ inch thick; toss them into the bowl. Add the onion, lemon zest, and half of the chopped mint and toss everything together gently but thoroughly.

Combine the lemon juice, pistachio oil, and salt to taste in a small jar and shake until blended; or whisk together in a bowl. Pour over the salad, and toss well. Season generously with pepper (zucchini and pepper are a sublime match) and more salt if needed. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, or for up to 3 hours.                 

 Just before serving, toss the salad with the remaining mint.

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

Next: Fresh Meats

HMH

Curried Chicken with Cucumber

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (6 to 8 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into ½-inch strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup crème fraîche

1 tablespoon ground curry

2 seedless cucumbers, washed and cut into ½-inch slices

Juice of 1 lemon

 

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to add to the skillet. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the crème fraîche, ground curry, and cucumber slices and set aside.
  3. When the chicken is golden, deglaze the pan with lemon juice, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cucumber mixture and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the cucumbers are aldente. Season to taste and serve with basmati rice.
  4.  

Recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook by Mireille Guiliano; click here to buy

 

Next: More Fresh Meats

Atria

Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches

 

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

2 large duck breasts, preferably from a Moulard, or 4 small duck breasts (about 2 pounds total), at room temperature

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 thyme sprig

3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed, not peeled

4 ripe but still firm peaches, peeled, halved, and pits removed

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons ruby port

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Using the point of a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern, cutting deeply into the layer of fat but taking care not to nick the meat. Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (You can cook the breasts in a skillet, but a casserole does a better job of containing the fat spatters. A cast-iron casserole is perfect.) When a few drops of water sprinkled into the pot dance and evaporate quickly, put the breasts in the casserole skin side down—stand away, because the fat will spatter. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn the pieces over and cook for 3 minutes more for very rare breasts, which will cook a tad more during their rest in the oven. If you’d like the meat slightly more cooked, keep the breasts in the pot for up to 2 minutes longer. (Cook any longer, and they will really be well-done, which is not what’s best for a duck breast.)

Lift the breasts out of the pot and onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Seal the breasts loosely in the foil and put them in the oven on a baking sheet for 5 minutes to rest and finish cooking.

Pour off all but a scant tablespoon of fat from the pot and put the pot over medium heat. Toss in the thyme sprig and garlic, stir to coat with fat, and then add the peaches. Lower the heat and cook the peaches gently for about 5 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the peaches to a plate and keep warm (in the oven, if you’d like); discard the thyme and garlic.

Pour out whatever fat remains in the pot and put the pot over low heat. Add the honey and cook just until it melts, a minute or so. Pour in the port and vinegars and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat, and, using a whisk, energetically stir in the butter piece by piece until you have a smooth sauce.                  

Open the foil packet and pour whatever juices have accumulated around the duck breasts into the sauce, whisking to incorporate them. Slide the duck breasts into the pot and turn them around in the sauce, about 30 seconds on each side, to reheat them.

Slice the duck and serve with the sauce and peaches, sprinkled with thyme, if you like.

 

Recipe from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Published in October 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission. Click here to buy.

 

Next: Cool-Down Desserts

HMH

Sour Cherry Soup with Lemon Thyme and Vanilla, Strawberry Sorbet (Chilled)

 

For 6 people

 

You need:

1 pound 5.5 oz (600 g) sour cherries, washed and pitted

5 sprigs of lemon thyme

1 cup (240 ml) water

1/4 cup (50 g) blond cane sugar

Juice of 1 lime

1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out

6 scoops of homemade strawberry sorbet

6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

 

Steps:

Place the water, sugar, vanilla, lime juice and lemon thyme in a pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cherries and stew the fruit for 5 minutes, or until they soften. Stop the heat and let the fruit cool. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls and add one scoop of sorbet in each with 1 tablespoon of mascarpone cheese.

 

Recipe by Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand.

 

Next: More Cool-Down Desserts

Béatrice Peltre

Sorbet

 

Serves 8 to 10

 

Ingredients:

Fruit

Heavy Sugar Syrup

Lemon juice (optional)

 

  1. Puree the fruit using a food processor or blender.
  2. Strain only when necessary to remove large seeds or fibrous content, for example for raspberries, pineapple, or citrus juices.
  3. Sweeten to taste with the heavy sugar syrup. If you add too much sugar, adjust the sweetness with lemon juice. Keep in mind that the puree will taste a little less sweet when frozen.
  4. Freeze following the directions for your ice-cream machine. If you do not have a machine, you can use a food processor.
  5. Store sorbets in covered plastic containers in the freezer for up to a month. If the sorbet becomes too hard or icy, let it melt and refreeze in your ice-cream machine.
  6.  

Recipe from French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman; click here to buy.

 

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Workman Publishing Company

First Published Mon, 2011-06-20 17:36

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