7 Easiest Recipes from French Cuisine

One of the common misconceptions about French cuisine is that it has expensive and uncommon ingredients and that it involves really complicated preparation and cooking procedures. Well, that might be true for some dishes but most experts say that French home cooking is not actually riddled with complicated recipes. Now, here are the seven easiest French cuisine recipes.

1. Vichyssoise (Potato Leek Soup)

Recipe: delish.com
This is quite a popular French soup. It takes just about an hour to prepare and the ingredients are quite easy to find, too. It is usually served cold. I know that sounds a bit unusual but it is delicious. It could be because I just love potatoes and butter but trust me, it really is.

2. Aubergines frits (Fried Eggplant)

Recipe: easy-french-food.com
One of my favorite vegetables is the eggplant. And to find a very easy, albeit a little messy, recipe for it is a rare gem. The recipe only has a few ingredients and it’s unbelievably easy to follow! Whoever said French cuisine is complicated have surely never tried this recipe before.

3. Canapes

Recipe: easy-french-food.com
Now who doesn’t know these pretty little things? These things are one of the most popular hors d’oeuvres people serve in parties. This recipe has everything you might need to know to prepare lovely and delicious canapes. It has a list of classic combinations and tips on how to make your canapes the talk of the party. All right, that might be a tad exaggerated. But still, this recipe rocks! And it’s quite easy to follow, too.

 

7 Best Books on French Cuisine

ime of mine since high school. And when I grew older I collected more hobbies; such as photography, knitting, and of course cooking. So to be able to combine two of my favorite activities (and about a favorite subject, too!) is pretty much a great blessing. And what favorite subject is that? Why, French cuisine of course! So ladies, here are 7 books on French cusine that are “must reads” for any Francophile out there.

1. La Bonne Cuisine by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange

La Bonne Cuisine by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange
product link: amazon.com
Price: $29.20
It is one of those time tested books about French cuisine. It was first published in 1927 in French and was finally translated into English in2005. It contains detailed recipes, and cooking techniques and preparations of many classic French dishes. It is even cited as among the favorite books of famous chefs, expecially the renowned Ms. Julia Child. According to her, this tome greatly influenced her studies of French cuisine. And if you’re going to believe anyone about French cuisine, it would be the late Ms. Child, wouldn’t it?

2. Bistro: The Best of Casual French Cooking by Gerald Hirigoyen

Bistro: The Best of Casual French Cooking by Gerald Hirigoyen
product link: amazon.com
Price: $12.99
Bistro, according to the dictionary, means a small restaurant or bar. This means that the recipes here are of dishes that you could get from typical small restaurants in France. This book gives out simple cooking instructions of fifty-six recipes that are quite easy to follow. And it has full-color photos of dishes, so at least you know how they’re supposed to look when you’re done. Lastly, it has recipes for almost all parts of dinner, from appetizers to desserts. What more could you ask for?

3. La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking by Francoise Bernard

La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking by Francoise Bernard
product link: amazon.com
Price: $29.70
For those who love French cuisine, this book is quite a delightful treat. First off, it was written by one of the most notable names in the field of French home cooking, Madame Francoise Bernard. Second, if you are acquainted with Madame Bernard’s other books, you will know that she loved simplifying French cuisine, which means the recipes would be relatively easier than what most people think of typical French cuisine. Lastly, the book contains a thousand recipes, which would cover you for over two years of simple French homebcooking, and that is if you don’t find a favorite that you might want to make over and over again! So if you love French cooking as much as I do, this book is definitely a “must read”.

4. Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
product link: amazon.com
Price: $24.82
Dorie Greenspan is a great lover of French home cooking and she has quite the credentials for it since she lives in Paris some parts of the year. Actually, she has three houses, one in New York, one in Westbrook, Connecticut, and another one in Paris, France. She says she travels to the three homes often. Quite dizzying, don’t you think? Anyway, her book, which was just recently published, does not just contain 300 recipes but also some stories about her life in France. So this is sort of a double treat. You get to learn some French home cooking, and you get to read some stories of how it is to really live in France at the same time. Tempting, right?

5. French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David
product link: amazon.com
Price: $23.07
Elizabeth David was, according to critics, not just an expert on French cooking but also a really good writer. In fact, she won many awards ofr her writing. Now, in this book you would see that knowing the recipes was not the only concern of Ms. David. Aside from her deliciously simple recipes, she also included histories and traditions behind the said dishes. And her narratives for each region’s cooking style or recipe ingredient is quite delightful to read. It is also interesting to note that Ms. David was a contemporary of Ms. Julia Child. In fact, Ms. Child wrote forewords for two of Ms. David’s cookbooks, including this one. Clearly, these two great ladies were in agreement when it came to French cuisine.

6. The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan

The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan
product link: amazon.com
Price: $45.00
This tome is another unique treat for Francophiles out there. Why? Well, just like Elizabeth David’s book, this one not only talks about recipes, it also gives background histories about the dishes and the regions where they came from. And it doesn’t just have lovely photos of delicious dishes but also of everyday life in French villages, public markets, and homes. All in all, it is a delightful collaboration of Anne Willan, an award-winning cookbook author, and France Ruffenach, an equally award-winning photographer.

7. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set) by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

product link: amazon.com
Price: $51.97
Now, who wouldn’t have this two-volume set in their list of great French cookbooks? These tomes are among the great cookbooks of French cooking in America today. It is no wonder these are among the bestselling cookbooks out there. Well yes, the set is a bit pricey. But these two books are worth every penny. Believe me. This set is a collaboration of three great women who were not only authors and cooking teachers but were also the forerunners of French cuisine in America and founders of L’école des Trois Gourmandes, a cooking school in France in the 1950s. The set has over 700 recipes of French dishes and cute illustrations of instructions on how to prepare them. If I were to buy these as a gift for a friend, I’d probably end up keeping them and buying my friend something else. Most probably!

Do you already own or are still planning to get one of these French cuisine gems? Or are you one of those who just recently discovered the interesting world of French cooking? Well, whichever one you might be, any one of these gorgeous cookbooks would be an excellent reading material for you.

Filets of Sole French Style

The French value fish and know how to cook it at home in the most delicious ways. In contrast, in America fish is largely a restaurant dish. Few of us are familiar with good fish recipes, yet we can learn from the French and make sole, trout, or salmon a delight of every Sunday dinner.

Let me share today my favourite French recipe where sole, a very popular fish in France with firm, white, and unquestionably delicious flesh, is featured as the main ingredient. Follow the recipe, do not skip the ingredients, and you will be rewarded with a flavour and taste of the real fish cuisine of Provence!

Filets de Sole Bonne Femme (Filets of Sole with Cream Sauce):

Sole if a fish readily available in our supermarkets. Shop only for very fresh filets that have not been frozen (frozen fish is mushy in texture and inferior in taste). Three filets of small Dover sole or two filets of larger Grey sole will be just right to feed one person. If you are lucky enough to also obtain fish heads, tails and skeletons from your merchants, grab them to make wonderful fish broth called in for this recipe. However, you can use home-made chicken broth instead of fish stock. Shrimp butter is another necessary ingredient – and I will teach you how to make it at home.

Butter a baking dish and evenly distribute 1 finely chopped onion on the bottom. Lay the sole filets on top of the onions without overlapping, bring several cups of fish or chicken stock to boil and pour over the fish. Immediately transfer the dish to an oven preheated at 300 degrees. Poach the sole pieces until they are tender, from 5 to 15 minutes depending on their thickness. When ready, carefully transfer the filets onto a heated platter, cover them with a piece of aluminium foil or parchment paper, and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce.

For the sauce, strain the stock into a large skillet and bring to rapid boil. Whisk in about 1 cup crème fraîche and 1 tbsp shrimp butter and continue boiling until the sauce has reduced to the consistency of thick cream (for about 10 to 15 minutes). Season with sea salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

To serve, pour the sauce generously over the sole fillets neatly arranged on individual heated plates. Sprinkle on finely chopped parsley. This dish goes beautifully with steamed red baby potatoes, rice, and colourful vegetables.

How to Make Fish Broth:

Place fish heads and bones into a large stainless steel pot, add 1 tbsp vinegar, cover with cold filtered water, bring to boil, and skim. Add 1 coarsely chopped onion, 1 carrot, and several stalks of celery. Tie together a few springs of fresh thyme and parsley and add to the pot together with 1 bay leave. Season generously with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 4 hours. When ready, strain fish stock into clean containers. It can be kept for about 4 days in the refrigerator or for about 1 month – in the freezer.

How to Make Shrimp Butter:

Place about 2 cups tiny cooked shrimps in a food processor to form a coarse paste. Add 1/4 cup butter and process until well blended.