Welcome to Life and cooking in France! I am so happy that you’re here.
You’ll find in your welcome basket a simple but elegant menu à la française, a list of seasonal ingredients to guide your cooking, and my favorite kitchen tools to make your life in the kitchen easier and more efficient!
Now that you have all of this, I encourage you to go into the kitchen, light up your oven and your stove, and start cooking! Pleasure awaits!
ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST AMUSES BOUCHE
MUSHROOMS WITH PROSCIUTTO
CHAMPIGNONS AU PROSCIUTTO
- 12 good-sized mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 thin slices of prosciutto, with fat, cut crosswise into thin strips
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the mushrooms in a heatproof baking dish, and drizzle about ¼ cup water around them. Season them with salt and pepper. Bake them in the oven until they begin to turn tender, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven and evenly divide the strips of ham atop the mushrooms. Return the mushrooms to the oven and bake until the ham is hot and slightly curled, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with the herb of your choice. Wait about 5 minutes before serving, as the mushrooms will be very hot.
AN ELEGANTLY SIMPLE, VERY FRENCH FIRST COURSE:
AIOLI WITH ASSORTED VEGETABLES
AIOLI AUX LEGUMES ASSORTIES
Aioli is the kind of dish that creates a fete, even if it’s just being served to the family. Everyone can always find something they love! Use the recipe as a guide, and find the best, seasonal vegetables you can!
**ASTUCE – when blanching a variety of vegetables, you do not necessarily need to change the water. Begin with the mildest tasting, and end with the strongest tasting, such as any brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower) or root vegetables (turnips, rutabagas).
For the Aioli:
- 6 garlic cloves, green germ removed
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 cups (500ml) neutral oil
- 1 cup (250ml) fine quality, extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the vegetables:
- 1 pound (500g) potatoes, unpeeled
- 8 ounces (250g) carrots, cut in half crosswise,then in lengthwise quarters
- 1 small head cauliflower, florets separated, stem discarded
- 1 celery root, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch by 3-inch (1.25 x 7.5cm) pieces
- 1 head of lettuce, such as greenleaf, red or green oakleaf, romaine, trimmed, washed, and patted dry
1. Make the aioli: make a paste of the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, by working the pestle around slowly, always in the same direction, in the mortar. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, either finely mince the garlic with the salt, transfer it to a medium-sized bowl and press on it with a wooden spoon until it makes a rough paste, or simply mince the garlic and salt together in a food processor.
2. If you used a food processor to mince the garlic and salt together, transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the mustard and egg yolks until they are blended with the garlic and salt then, using either the mortar or a whisk, add 1/4 cup (60ml) of the neutral oil very slowly in a fine, fine stream, until the mixture becomes thick. Don’t add the oil too quickly or the mixture will not emulsify.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice to the oil and garlic mixture, then add the remaining oil very, very slowly, whisking or turning the pestle constantly. The aioli will gradually thicken to the consistency of a light mayonnaise. Adjust the seasoning, and add more lemon juice if it needs more tang. If it becomes very, very thick you might add 1 tablespoon warm water, to loosen it.
4. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with salt if necessary. Aioli will keep for several days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, but it is best served within 24 hours of being made.
5. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a bay leaf if you have one, and bring the water to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave them in the pan to stay warm.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (roughly 1 tablespoon (15g) salt for 1 gallon (4 liters) water). Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.
7. Blanch the carrots until they are just tender but still have a slight crunch, about 4 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or ladle and plunge them directly into the bowl of ice water. When they are cooled through, remove and pat them dry with a tea towel.
8. Return the same water to a boil, and blanch the cauliflower until it is tender with some crunch, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the ice water, let cool, pat dry.
9. Return the water to a boil and blanch the celery root until it is just tender through, 4 to 5 minutes. Refresh in the chilled water and pat dry. Return the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are tender through, about 15 minutes depending on their size. Drain and let cool.
10. To serve, arrange the vegetables on a platter in an attractive fashion, and serve with the aioli alongside.
Yield: about 6 servings
A SIMPLE MAIN COURSE THAT WILL MAKE YOUR GUESTS SWOON!
LAMB CHOPS WITH LEMON, ROSEMARY AND CHERRY TOMATOES
COTES D’AGNEAU AU CITRON, ROMARIN ET TOMATOES CERISES
This is a perfect, and perfectly simple way to prepare succulent French lamb. The technique is more Italian, the result simply divine! The results here give rosy lamb chops – if you prefer yours cooked more, simply increase the cooking time.
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 lamb chops, about 4 oz. (120g) each, at room temperature
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
24 cherry tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fleur de sel
- Place the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the lamb chops and sear them on each side, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, seasoning as you do with salt and pepper.
- Coarsely chop the rosemary.
- When the chops are golden, add the rosemary, the cherry tomatoes, and the lemon juice to the pan, and stir and swirl them around until the tomatoes are softened but still keep their shape, 3 to 5 minutes. Season everything with salt and pepper, and remove the pan from the heat. Place one chop on each of four warmed dinner plates, and top with the cherry tomato mixture. Season with fleur de sel and serve.
DO AS THE FRENCH DO, AND SERVE THIS SALAD AFTER YOUR MAIN COURSE:
GARDEN SALAD WITH HERB VINAIGRETTE
SALADE VERTE VINAIGRETTE AROMATES
This vinaigrette is delicious as is, though it can serve as a base as well. Add minced shallot or garlic, minced fresh herbs, lemon zest and juice, cracked black pepper. Use this vinaigrette with grated carrots or beets, fresh tomatoes, or any other vegetable mixture.
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mixed herb leaves, gently packed
- Whisk the mustard, the lemon juice, the shallot, and a pinch of sea salt together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil.
- Just before serving, mince the herbs and stir them into the vinaigrette. Adjust the seasoning, and toss the salad.
Yields: 1/3 cup (80 ml) vinaigrette, enough for about 14 cups (350 g) greens
ADD THIS VERY IMPRESSIVE (AND VERY SIMPLE) DESSERT:
VINE PEACHES IN ORANGE FLOWER WATER
LES PECHES DE VIGNE A L’EAU DE FLEUR D’ORANGER
Try this recipe with your own local, tree-ripened peaches, or the best, most juicy and floral peaches you can find.
NOTE: that lightly chilling the peaches – for 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator – makes them easier to slice nicely and gives a refreshing edge to their flavor.
1-1/2 pounds (750g) lightly chilled peaches, skinned and pitted
2 to 3 teaspoons orange flower water
Peppermint sprigs – for garnish
- Slice the peaches into thick (one-quarter inch;.67cm) slices and arrange them nicely in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle them with orange flower water, and garnish with the mint sprigs. Serve immediately, so they are still lightly chilled.
Download all recipes as a PDF by clicking French Menu Recipes
For printable menu cards, click on menu link for download or print options in your browser.
Remember that old axiom “Red wine with meat, white wine with fish?” While this can work, at On Rue Tatin I refer to another wine wisdom which goes something like this: “If you love the wine, it will go with whatever you are eating.” Time and time again, this has proven true regardless of color, variety, or vintage.
Some tips: no matter how much you love a wine, it probably won’t go well with certain foods like artichokes, vinaigrettes or anything heavy on vinegar, asparagus, rhubarb, and raw vegetables in general.
White wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, dry Muscat, and some Sauvignon Blancs go incredibly well with poultry and lighter meats like pork, and have also been known as stunning companions to lamb and magret (fattened duck breast).
Richer red wines (from the Languedoc, Côtes du Rhône, Gaillac, Bordeaux) go well with meats, but they also compliment certain fish (salmon, tuna, and sometimes even cod!)
Rosés go with anything that is served on the terrace on a warm, crystalline day.
Pinot Noirs are exceptional with everything (except a peanut butter sandwich).
This is most general; I suggest you sign up for classes at On Rue Tatin and, with our resident oenologist, Hervé Lestage, you’ll learn lots, lots more!
Radishes, tender lettuce, baby onions, scallions, ramps, baby turnips, peas, asparagus, strawberries, cherries, new potatoes, broccoli, new cabbage, new garlic, cauliflower, fava beans, artichokes, spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard, morels,
Peaches, nectarines, apricots, red, blue, black berries, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, basil, peppers, baby carrots, baby beets, green beans, okra, corn, cucumbers
Lots of summer vegetables (until end of October) Chestnuts, turnips, carrots, beets, rutabaga, mushrooms, squashes
Mache, escarole, radicchio, root vegetables, Belgian endive, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbages, beets, celery root
- KitchenAid Mixer
- KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater
- Good Grips Fish Turner
- Mini Kitchen Silicone Spatulas
- Balloon Whisk
- Kitchen Scraper
- Bamboo Spoons & Spatulas
- Le Creuset Au Gratin Dishes
- 9-Inch Chef’s Knife
- Paring knives
- Forever Non-Stick Skillets of All Sizes
- Heavy Copper Pots of All Sizes
- Bar Keeper’s Friend
- Drop Stop Pour Disks
- Wine Opener
- Wine Saver
- Silicone Locking Tongs
- Bamboo Cutting Boards
- Cotton and Linen Tea Towels
Shop my Kitchen Essentials online store for the exact brands I use! (insert link)
Peruse the site to find out more about: