Sole Meuniere

The simplest dishes are always the best. This one is extremely easy and extremely delicious. You can use any firm white fish for this dish. I actually used Pollock and it was great. Plus, the dish that turned Julia Child into a cook has got to be good.

Sole meuniere

Sole Meuniere

INGREDIENTS:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sole fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

  2. Generously coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season 2 of the fillets with salt. Dredge the fillets in flour and place them immediately in the pan with the hot oil. Do not flour the fish ahead of time or it will be gummy and mushy on the outside rather than crispy.

  3. When the fish has turned from translucent to opaque, about 2/3 of the way through the cooking, turn the fish over and cook on the other side. Remove the fish from the pan and reserve on a sheet tray in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining 2 fish fillets. Keep the cooked fish fillets warm in the oven while you make the sauce.

  4. Remove any excess oil from the pan. Add the butter and thyme leaves. Shake the pan frequently to prevent scorching. When the butter has melted and is very bubbly, add in the lemon juice and whisk to combine. As the butter becomes bubbly again and starts to turn a nutty brown, season with salt and whisk in the chopped parsley. Taste to make sure it is delicious.

  5. Remove the fish fillets from the oven and plate them, spooning the sauce over the fish.

Garlic Chicken In Casserole with Israeli Couscous

I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to use chicken. Here’s one that’s fairly easy and tastes pretty good too. It goes great with Eggless Caesar Salad.

Garlic chicken

Garlic Chicken In Casserole with Israeli Couscous

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken: - 2 whole garlic bulbs - 1 lemon, zested and juiced - 1 large bunch thyme, leaves only - 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground - Pinch crushed red pepper flakes - Kosher salt - Extra-virgin olive oil - 1 (4 to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 to 10 parts

Couscous: - Kosher salt - 2 cups medium-size Israeli couscous - Extra-virgin olive oil - 1 large onion, sliced - 3 ribs celery, sliced thin on the bias - Pinch crushed red pepper flakes - 1 1/2 cups dry white wine - 3 tablespoons tomato paste - Large pinch saffron - 2 zucchini, green part only, cut into 1/2-inch dice - 2 to 3 cups chicken stock - 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted - 3 scallions, white and green, sliced thinly on the bias

METHOD:

  1. Chicken: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the garlic bulbs in a small tin and roast them until they are soft when squeezed, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool.

  2. When the garlic bulbs are cool, slice the tops off and squeeze out the roasted garlic. Add the garlic to a food processor or a bowl, along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper and salt, to taste. Add a little olive oil and puree or mash into a loose paste. Massage the mixture all over the chicken pieces and let sit for at least 1 hour.

  3. Couscous: Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil, over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook it until it’s about 2/3 of the way cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and reserve.

  4. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove it to a plate, drain the fat and add the onions and celery. Season with salt, to taste, and the crushed red pepper. Deglaze with white wine, scraping up all the crud on the bottom of the pan and cook the onions and celery for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the saffron, zucchini, cooked couscous, and chicken stock. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, in the couscous and cover with foil. Add some more chicken stock to keep everything nice and moist. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cover with foil. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan.

  5. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and top with scallions before serving.

Eggless Caesar Salad

If you’re one of those people afraid of using raw egg yolks, here’s a eggless version of a caesar salad that’s almost as good as the real thing.

Ceasar salad

Eggless Caesar Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano, plus a block for shaving
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 or 4 anchovy fillets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 slices day old rustic Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce

METHOD:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor add the 1 cup of cheese, the lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, the mustard and the anchovies. Turn the machine on and let it run for 15 to 20 seconds. As the machine is running, drizzle in 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil. Let the machine run for another 15 seconds after the oil has incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt.

  2. Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. Smash 2 garlic cloves and add them to the pan over medium heat. When the garlic cloves have become golden and are very aromatic remove them and discard, they have fulfilled their garlic destiny. Stir in the bread cubes, season with salt, to taste, and saute them until they have absorbed all of the oil and are crispy, but still slightly pliable.

  3. Break apart the lettuce leaves. Swish them in cool water, then pat them dry. In a large bowl toss the leaves with the dressing. Arrange the leaves on serving plates and sprinkle with the garlic croutons. Shave some Parmesan over the salads and serve.

Steak Au Poivre

Here’s a steak dish that is not all about the sauce. The sauce is important, but it’s a minor player. This steak is all about the peppercorns. If you don’t like pepper, you won’t like this. And if you don’t like pepper, you’re an idiot. Seriously though, just look at this picture to see how much pepper this steak has.

Raw Steaks

Even after cooking all you see is pepper.

Cooking

The best thing to pair with this is sautéed potatoes. No recipe is needed. Just slice some potatoes, and sauté them in fat. I used duck fat. I don’t use any other kind. Try it and you’ll understand why.

Finished Meal

Steak Au Poivre

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 8-ounce steaks
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces peppercorns, freshly cracked (meaning crushed but not ground to powder!)
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 4 ounces strong, dark veal stock, (right now, you really could use a tiny bit of the demi-glace I told you to keep in your freezer)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  1. COOK THE STEAKS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Moisten the meat very slightly with oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed peppercorns to thoroughly coat. Don’t be shy with the pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 ounces of the butter. Place the steaks in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook to desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and so on. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest. Have I told you to always rest your meat after cooking? I’ve told you now.

  2. THE SAUCE: Return the skillet to the stovetop and carefully stir in the Cognac. As much fun as it is to create a column of flame as you add flammable material to an incredibly hot pan, it’s not really desirable or necessary – especially in a home kitchen. Unless you’re a pyromaniac, I recommend carefully adding the Cognac to the still-hot pan off the flame, stirring and scrapping with the wooden spoon to get every scrape, every peppercorn, every rumor of flavor clinging to the bottom of the pan. Now place the pan on the flame again and cook it down a bit, by about half. Stir in the veal stock (and demi-glace) and reduce over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with French fries or sauteed potatoes.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

Here’s a dish, that at first glance, seems like an unworkable combination. And honestly, it’s one of those dishes where the chef threw what he had together. But it works. The best part is that you can leave parts of it out and it’s still delicious. If you cooking this with the thought of having leftovers, you can cook everything but the bread and eggs and do those as needed. You can also do a simple fried egg and it’s just as good.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 chicken cut into pieces for frying
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Napoleon’s cognac (or Brandy)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 lbs. peeled, cored, seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 8 large white mushroom caps with stems
  • 8 rounds of 1/4″ thick sliced Italian bread
  • 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • black olives

METHOD:

  1. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large seasoned skillet (a chicken fryer with 3″ to 4″ high sides) over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and brown well on all sides.

  2. Add 1/4 cup of the white wine, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cognac and flame. Add onions, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.

  3. Remove stems from mushroom caps and dice. Reserve caps. Spoon some grease from pan. Saute garlic and mushroom stems. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the white wine, and Italian seasoning stirring up all the chicken bits. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a high simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, folding into the tomato sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a saucepan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the rest of white wine. Add the mushrooms. Toss lightly a few times until they are tender, but not soggy or overcooked. The caps should be white and retain their shape. Set aside and keep warm.

  5. Heat a frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (may need more) until hot, but not smoking. Lightly fry the rounds of bread until slightly browned. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  6. Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry until they just curl up, about 1-2 minutes. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  7. Heat another saucepan over high heat with oil at least an inch deep. Poach the eggs one at a time in the hot oil for a minute or so, lightly stirring with large spoon to keep egg together. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain.

  8. Putting it all together: Set chicken pieces on serving platter. Spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken pieces and garnish with black olives.

  9. Place the eight croutons around the chicken. Place an egg on every other crouton and garnish with parsley. Place 3 shrimp on each of the other 4 croutons.

Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak

One of the finest cuts of meat cooked to a perfect medium rare. I used a buffalo hanger, and it tasted great. Goes good with Turnip Gratin and Glazed Baby Carrots.

Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 (1 1/2-pound each) hanger steaks, trimmed, membrane removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the Dijon, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, and crushed red pepper. Schmear the steaks with this deliciousness and let them hang out in the fridge overnight or up to 2 hours in the fridge.

  2. Preheat the grill. Season the steaks with salt.

  3. When the grill is hot, brush and oil the grill. When the flames have dissipated place the steaks on a hot spot on the grill. Brush with the excess marinade and move the steaks out of the flame if there is a flare up. Grill the steak for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately after slicing.

Turnip Gratin

If you like Potatoes Au Gratin, you’ll like this version with turnips. In fact, I think I like this one better.

Turnip Gratin

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, plus extra for baking dish
  • 2 lbs. turnips, peeled and sliced very thin (mandoline works best)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Put the cream, garlic, thyme and cayenne in a saucepan and season it with salt. Taste to make sure it is adequately seasoned. Bring the cream to a boil and then turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Butter the baking dish and layer in 1/3 of the sliced turnips. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the turnips and dot with 1/3 of the butter. Remove the thyme and garlic from the cream and pour 1/3 of the cream over the turnips. Repeat this process 2 more times until all of the ingredients are used up.

  4. Cover the dish with foil, place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until golden. When done a fork should slide in and out of the center of the dish easily.

  5. For easier serving, let the dish rest 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Glazed Baby Carrots

Simple and tasty way to cook carrots.

Glazed Baby Carrots

INGREDIENTS:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. baby carrots, tops removed but with a little green left attached (it’s cute)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs thyme, picked
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water. When they are cooked but still have some crunch, plunge them immediately into the ice water. When cool, use a clean tea towel to rub the skin off the carrots. Reserve.

  2. To a large skillet add the butter, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, cayenne and about 1/2 cup of water. Bring the pan to medium heat swirling occasionally. When most of the water has reduced and the mixture seems homogenous, removed the garlic and add the carrots and stir until they are coated. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the carrots are completely coated and hot.

Slow Lamb with Baked Provencal Tomatoes

Here’s an easy recipe for cooking a whole leg of lamb. The cooking time for this recipe says it takes about 4 hours for a 2 lb leg. I had a 5-6 lb leg and it took me about half that time to get to medium rare (140 degrees), so use a thermometer to check for the doneness you want.

Slow Lamb with Baked Provencal Tomatoes from French Food at Home

INGREDIENTS:

For the lamb - 1 (2-pound) lamb leg on the bone - 3 tablespoons olive oil - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 cup white wine - 1 head garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves - 3 bay leaves - 4 short sprigs fresh rosemary - 1 large bunch fresh thyme sprigs

For the tomatoes - 4 medium tomatoes - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 heaping tablespoon bread crumbs - 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh parsley - 1 clove garlic, minced - Olive oil, for drizzling

METHOD:

  1. For the lamb: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. Rub the lamb with about half the olive oil and season generously with salt, and pepper. In an oven-proof casserole just large enough to hold the lamb, brown the meat on all sides on the stovetop. Deglaze with the white wine. Lay the garlic and herbs on and around the lamb. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake in the oven for 4 hours, turning once at half time. Remove from the oven and serve from the casserole with the juices spooned over. This is nice served with baked tomatoes and sauteed potato slices.

  3. For the tomatoes: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Cut the tomatoes in half at the waist. Lay them cut-side up in a baking dish, and season with salt, and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the tops of the tomatoes, and then drizzle over a little olive oil. Bake the tomatoes until hot and slumping, about 20 minutes.

  5. For the plate: On a nice platter set the piece of lamb, line with the baked tomatoes, creating a glorious feast for the eyes in presentation.

Greek Salad

Tired of plain old salads? Here’s a quick, easy, and tasty one. I always have homemade vinaigrette on hand so I used that instead of the olive oil and vinegar.

Greek Salad from French Food at Home

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 English cucumber, finely diced
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, very, very thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 11 ounces /300 g kalamata olives
  • 7 ounces /200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup /125 ml olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or Jerez vinegar (sherry), plus more to taste
  • Drop balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, onion and pepper. Scatter over the olives, feta, capers, and oregano. Add the olive oil and vinegar and toss the salad well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to check the seasons and add more vinegar, salt, or pepper, as needed. Serve.

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