My husband and I just recently returned from a great two week trip to France. There was no shortage of delicious food to be consumed...24/7. So after a few days of treating ourselves to almond croissants in the morning (more to come on that later), baguette sandwiches for lunch, duck confit for dinner, and buckets of wine, I decided that perhaps we should put our little apartment's kitchen to good use and make something healthy-ish. "Ish" being key here.
While at the market I noticed some crisp spinach, red potatoes, and cherry tomatoes and decided to whip up a paired down version of salad niçoise. That qualifies as healthy right? Traditional niçoise typically has green beans, tuna, anchovy, olives and a few other goodies.
This is where the healthy-ish part comes into play. What french meal would be complete without a baguette and cheese? The answer is no meal. So to remedy that I popped over to the local bakery Gerard Mulot for a baguette, and cheese shop Fromagerie Sanders.
Roasted Red Potatoes:
I didn't really follow a recipe for the potatoes. Over the years I've learned that as long as you don't rush the roasting of your potatoes, you really can't mess them up. Many times I've been antsy to get dinner on the table and I ended up with semi-burnt potatoes on the outside, with centers that weren't quite cooked. Live and learn! Don't jack up the temperature to anywhere above 400, and let them stay in that warm oven for about 45-60 minutes.
My friend Ina's Roasted potatoes recipe is below for more guidance - I didn't use garlic.
3 pounds small red or white potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters depending on their size and place them on the baking sheet. Pour olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper, tossing until the potatoes are well coated. Make sure the potatoes are spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve hot.
Ever since I came across this recipe for perfect boiled eggs, I haven't turned back. Martha knows what she is doing.
Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water by 1 inch. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat; when the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 12 minutes.
Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Eggs can be peeled and served immediately.
I immediately got off on the wrong foot with this balsamic vinaigrette. I accidentally purchased balsamic sauce instead of vinegar. Guess that is what happens when you don't understand french. Oh well!
I generally like my dressings pretty heavy on the vinegar - tart and tasty! If you prefer it on the milder side, use about 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of olive oil instead of 5 tablespoons.
Balsamic Vinaigrette (makes about 1/2 cup):
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, and mustard. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
What is not to like about this little wheel of goat cheese? The packaging from Fromagerie Sanders is adorable, and the Racotin label is beautiful. To top it all off the cheese is seriously tasty. I've tried to find this cheese back in San Francisco, but so far have failed. Sad.
Because I would simply describe Racotin as "yummy", I've pulled some tasting notes courtesy of the World Cheese Book - Racotin has a dense, firm, slightly grainy texture and a goaty flavor with a peppery, buttery tang.
To enjoy a parisian meal, assemble the salad, plate the eggs and potatoes, break off a massive hunk of baguette and slice into that cheese. And of course, pour yourself a glass of wine. It's a simple meal that is full of flavor, with minimal effort.