Soups, Salads, & Appetizers

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Vichyssoise (Chilled Potato Soup)

Vichyssoise is a rich potato soup that is served chilled. Some restaurants serve vichyssoise in a bowl set over another bowl of crushed ice. Although you don’t have to be so elaborate, always serve your [more…]

Lentil Salad (Salade de Lentils)

Lentils are a favorite dried legume in France and contain more protein than meat does. They’re used to make thick potage or an earthy salad such as this one. Try to serve this salad with grilled garlic [more…]

Belgian Endive and Walnut Salad (Salade de Chicorèe à l’Huile de Noix)

Growing endive is a two part process. First, the farmer plants and grows chicory, a bitter green that grows in bunches with very curly leaves. After the chicory is pulled from the soil, the root is cut [more…]

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad (Salade Niçoise)

This dish, which originated in Nice, is a favorite entrée salad to make and eat on unbearably hot summer days. Because each vegetable is displayed on a bed of lettuce, you want to use the best-quality [more…]

Black Olive Spread (Tapénade)

Full of the sun-ripened Mediterranean flavors of Provence, tapénade comes from the Provençal word tapéna or capers, one of the briny-flavored ingredients used to make this spread. Tapénade is usually spread [more…]

Cheese Puffs (Gougères)

Highly addictive, gougères are light-as-air cheese puffs made with pâté-à-chou, the same type of dough used to make cream puffs. The size of Ping-Pong balls, gougères are quite easy to make and are wonderful [more…]

Country Pâté (Terrine Paysanne)

Most French home cooks have their favorite tried-and-true recipe for pâté, a combination of ground or chopped meats, perhaps mixed with liver, herbs, and wine. After the ingredients are mixed together, [more…]

Curly Chicory and Poached Egg Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette (Salade Frisée aux Lardons)

This typical bistro salad is a popular working man’s lunch. Because it contains ample protein from the egg and bacon and lots of vitamin-rich chicory, it can easily be served as an entrée for lunch or [more…]

Onion Soup (Soupe à l’Oignon)

Real, homemade soupe à l’oignon is probably the one soup most associated with French cooking. But genuine homemade onion soup has nothing in common with the packaged, dehydrated variety you’re probably [more…]

Potato and Leek Soup (Potage Parmentier)

Potatoes and leeks were meant to be cooked together, as you can see in the recipe for this popular soup. Much simpler and humbler than its American counterpart, [more…]

Potato Salad (Salade de Pommes de Terre)

This simple-to-make French potato salad is a delicious departure from the all-too-familiar mayonnaise variety. Cooking the potatoes in white wine and vinegar infuses them with even more flavor as they [more…]

Leeks in Vinaigrette (Poireaux à la Vinaigrette)

Leeks are called the poor man’s asparagus in Europe. A member of the allium or onion family, they look like thick scallions but have a sweeter, milder flavor. Because this salad is somewhat more substantial [more…]

Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheese Torte (Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine)

Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine is a quick and easy-to-make torte, made of stacked crêpes spread with a filling of cheese sauce prepared with spinach and mushrooms. Cut into thin wedges for appetizer [more…]

Split Pea Soup (Potage Saint-Germain)

Split pea soup is comfort food. This humble soup is so satisfying and nourishing that you can enjoy it best on a cold winter’s night with a loaf of chewy country white or rye bread, a perfectly ripened [more…]

Savory Tart Dough (Pâté Brisée)

Savory tarts like quiche (and yes, real Frenchmen do eat quiche!) make for a great lunch or supper when paired with a green salad, a dry white wine, and fresh fruit. This is the dough you’ll want to use [more…]

Savory Stuffed and Rolled Crêpes (Crêpes Farcies et Roulées)

Most savory crêpes are filled with a white or cheese sauce mixed with cooked vegetables or poultry, and then rolled. Crêpes are convenience food with a capital C. You can prepare the batter and store it [more…]

Tomato Soup (Potage à la Tomate)

This soup is typical of most French seasonal soups. So rich in tomato flavor, it must have been created by a farmer’s wife to take advantage of an overabundance of sun-ripened tomatoes at the end of the [more…]

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