A Classic French
Bastille Day "Vive
Well this menu is a classic
French meal. I had to include French Onion Soup because I think everyone loves
it. I then couldn't bring myself to serve fish. It had to be beef and potatoes
and then a classic apple tart for dessert. It's just not a fish day. That can
be next week, which is a lot sooner than we think.
This menu serves four with the exception of the tart,
but you can save the rest for breakfast. The real classic French onion soup
served in the bistros of the left bank in Paris use grated Gruyere cheese. I
prefer thick slices melted over the bowl. The gooier the better. Remember you
will need ovenproof crocks or bowls for the soup. The chicory used in this
classic French salad is the curly kind of lettuce with long leaves. It is bitter
and sometimes referred to as curly endive here in the States. The Potatoes Parisian
require a melon ball scooper. You can find them at the grocery store for cheap
so don't let it scare you. Your friends will be impressed too.
French Onion Soup
Chicory and Bacon Salad
Filet Mignons with Artichokes
and Bearnaise Sauce
Tarte Tatin (Apple Tart)
French Onion Soup:
4 tablespoons butter
2 lb. yellow onions, cut into
slivers, about 6 cups
2 teaspoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon flour
3 1/2 cups beef stock, boiling
(use 3 Knorr cubes)
2 cups water
1/4 cup Cognac
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 slices stale French bread
(each about 3/4 inch thick)
1 1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, coarsely
grated or sliced as I prefer
Melt butter over moderate heat
in large saucepan. Add onions and sugar and cover after stirring well. Cook
stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until onions are wilted and light golden.
Uncover and continue to cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the onions
are brown and well caramelized. Watch carefully so the onions don't burn.
Add flour to the pan, stir
well to incorporate flour into the onion mixture and slowly stir in the boiling
stock, water, 3 tablespoons of the Cognac, salt and pepper. Boil for 5 minutes,
then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered for 45 minutes.
Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning and add the remaining
tablespoon of Cognac.
While the soup is simmering,
toast the bread slices in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn them after
5. They should be well toasted on each side.
Divide the soup among 4 onion
soup bowls. Arrange the croutons on top of the soup and put the cheese on. Put
on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese melts to your taste.
Chicory and Bacon Salad:
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 LB thick cut bacon, cut
into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 loaf French bread, crust
removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 head chicory (curly endive),
torn into large pieces
In a small bowl, whisk together
the shallots, mustard, vinegar and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil
in a thin stream. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until
browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Pour off all the fat except 1/4 cup. Add the bread cubes to the hot bacon fat
and sauté over medium heat, tossing lightly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Remove and set aside. Return the bacon to the skillet and toss until heated
through. Remove from heat and stir in the dressing. Place chicory in large bowl
and add the dressing, bacon, and bread, toss well and add salt if you want.
Coeur de Fillet Henri IV:
4 center cut tenderloin steaks
(about 7 oz. each)
4 large artichokes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 peppercorns, crushed
2 egg yolks
1 large shallot, chopped fine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh
Salt and Cayenne pepper
Bring the steaks to room temperature.
Cook the artichokes in boiling water with the lemons and oil until tender, about
45 minutes, they should be cooked in a large covered pot. When done trim the
outside leaves off the base and pull all the leaves and choke out, you just
want the bottom. It will hold the Bearnaise sauce.
To prepare the Bearnaise sauce:
Combine the crushed peppercorns,
shallot, 2 tablespoons of the tarragon, vinegar and wine in a small heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil and cook over low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
Let cool. Add egg yolks and water to the saucepan. Whisk over very low heat
until the mixture becomes foamy and thickens and the whisk leaves a clear trail
on the bottom of the pan. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat.
Whisking constantly, add the butter a drop, and I mean a drop, at a time. When
the mixture starts to emulsify you can add the remaining butter in a thin stream.
Whisk in the chervil and remaining tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside off the heat in a pan of warm water.
Tie a length of kitchen twine
around each steak to hold its shape during cooking. Heat a little oil in a heavy
frying pan over high heat. Brush the steaks with oil and season with salt and
pepper. Sear the steaks about 3 minutes on each side then continue cooking about
2 more minutes or until done to your taste. That will be medium rare.
To serve, arrange the steaks
on plates and fill the artichoke bottoms with the Bearnaise sauce and serve
with the steaks.
3 lb. large waxy potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peel the potatoes and put them
in a bowl of cold water. Scoop out potato balls with a medium size melon baller.
Removing as many balls as possible from each potato. Put balls in the water
until you finish. Drain and put the potato balls in a saucepan. Cover with cold
salted water, bring to a boil and blanch for about 3 minutes; drain well.
Preheat the oven to 450. Heat
the oil and butter in an ovenproof frying pan. Add the potatoes and toss until
well coated with the fat. Season with salt and bake, shaking the pan from time
to time for even browning, until the potatoes are golden brown, about 25 minutes.
You can prepare the dough in
a food processor, but be careful, stop it as soon as the dough forma a ball.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour,
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut
into small pieces
1 tablespoon cold water
Put the flour in a mixing bowl
and form a well in it. Put the salt and butter in the well. Blend with your
fingers until you have a crumbly dough. Add the egg then the water. Knead again
with your fingertips until the dough forms a ball. Do not overwork. Wrap in
plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
1/2 the above recipe
8 apples (golden delicious
or any baking apple)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out
the dough to a nine-inch circle on a baking sheet and bake until it is light
brown and cooked through. Peel and core the apples. Cut them into 8 sections
each. Moisten them with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Raise
the oven temperature to 375.
Put a large skillet or frying
pan over high heat. Add butter and sugar and stir until the mixture turns a
golden caramel color. Add the heavy cream, and still over high heat, continue
cooking and stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the apples. Make sure that each
slice is coated with the mixture. Cover the pan with foil or a tight fitting
lid and bake put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven
and arrange the apples on the pastry in a tightly assembled pattern of rings
within rings. Heat the caramel that remains in the pan for another 2 to 4 minutes,
until it thickens. Pour this caramel over the apples. Serve hot.