French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake

In my opinion, chicken is one of the tastiest meats in the world. Also, you can do almost any dish with it. You can put it in pasta, paella, or curried dishes. Chicken meat makes for some of the most amazing soups, too. Now when you pair it with something as delectable as tomatoes drenched in olive oil and pretty rice cakes, they sound healthily chic. Well, here is a French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe for those who might be having chicken and risotto cravings out there.  The recipe title alone would make you positively hungry, don’t you think so?

Serves: 4

CHICKEN

4 French breasts of chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
Salt
Milled peppercorns
As needed, Olive Oil Tomatoes

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1 cup garlic cloves
As needed, Giancarlo’s Brodo
2 Tbsp honey
1 oz butter, unsalted
1/3 cup white wine
2 shallots, minced
1½ cups heavy cream
4–6 Tbsp butter, unsalted, cold
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

RISOTTO CAKES

3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced and diced
1 cup raw short-grain Italian rice (Vialone Nano)
2½ cups Chicken Brodo, hot
2 Tbsp chopped basil
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
4 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
4 Tbsp cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
As needed, clarified butter

ASSEMBLY

8 artichoke halves, prepared as in Grilled Sea Bass recipe
1/4 cup petite peas
2 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
To taste, kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced fresh mint leaves
*Make the risotto cakes at least 3 hours or up
to 1 day before preparing the rest of this dish.

CHICKEN

1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the olive oil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss to season evenly.

2. Chicken can be roasted or grilled to your liking. I prefer placing the chicken on a rack over a pan and roasting for 6 minutes at 425ºF, then another 8–12 minutes at 325ºF, until the chicken is just done and the juice runs clear. Keep the chicken warm.

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1. Place the garlic in a small pan. Cover to three-quarters depth with the brodo. Add the honey and butter. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the garlic cloves are tender, 10–12 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and reserve the broth.

2. In a saucepan, simmer the wine and shallots until reduced to about 1 oz.

3. Add the garlic cloves to the wine reduction. Add the cream and 2 oz of the reserved broth. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half.

4. Puree the mixture with a hand blender while slowly adding the cold butter. Do not allow the emulsion to break.

5. Strain the emulsion and season with salt, pepper, and the olive oil.

RISOTTO CAKE

1. Place the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leek and cook until soft.

2. Add the rice and cook 1–2 minutes. Add half of the brodo, bring to a simmer, and cook slowly until all of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Add the remaining brodo and cook until it is absorbed and the rice is tender but still slightly firm.

4. Fold in the basil, parsley, Asiago, butter, and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on a small pan 1 to 1½ in. in height. Cool in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Cut the chilled rice mixture into the desired shapes. Pan-fry the cakes in clarified butter until golden brown on each side.

ASSEMBLY

1. In a saucepan, take the artichoke halves, peas, butter, and mint along with the remaining reserved broth and cook for 2–3 minutes until items are hot.

2. Place the risotto cake in the middle of the plate. Top with the chicken breast. Around the plate, distribute the peas, artichokes, and tomatoes. Lace the emulsion over the items on the plate from a squeeze bottle, or place spots of sauce around the plate.

Now this recipe is a bit tedious to prepare and would consume a lot of your time, too. To maybe remedy that, I suggest you read the entire French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe once. That way, you would be able to estimate the work you might need to do. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you might need and make sure you have all of them before you start cooking. Lastly,  follow the recipe as it is written so that there’s less likelihood that you’d bungle the finished product.

7 Most Popular French Desserts

I love desserts. Who doesn’t? For the French, it is as important as the rest of the meal. In fact, for many people, it is the most anticipated part of dinner. Now here are the seven most popular French desserts you can try for those French dinner parties you might be planning with your fellow Francophile friends.

1. Tarte de Pommes a la Normande (French Apple Tart)

Recipe: allrecipes.com
This delicious tart is perfect for an after dinner with friends. I can just imagine me baking this for my girlfriends; that is, if I ever get my hands on an oven that works. Haha. But yes, I know a couple of gals who would love this tart, especially because of the almonds. It would even make a perfect treat over coffee or tea.

2. Charlotte Russe au chocolat (Chocolate Charlotte)

Recipe: allrecipes.com
If you know lady fingers, then you know this cake could only be delicious. Obviously I love lady fingers. And more than that, this cake also has chocolate! Yummy! And the recipe doesn’t really require a lot of work. But even if it did, if the end product is as delicious as this, who cares about the hard work. Right?

3. Éclair

Recipe: allrecipes.com
This one is actually one of my personal favorites, which may not really be saying much since I have a sweet tooth and I love almost all sweet things. Still, who could resist eclairs? I, and a lot of my friends, certainly can’t! Plus, if you put them all in a row, they would make a lovely presentation. Perfect for those after-dinner parties.

4. Madeleines

Recipe: allrecipes.com
As I’ve mentioned before, in another post, this mini cake owes part of its popularity to Marcel Proust’s book. But if you ask me, I think it owes a bit of its fame also to its scrumptious deliciousness. If you think I’m just exaggerating, then you have never tasted these sweet confections before, which means you are missing out on a pretty sweet gastronomic adventure.

5. Dessert Crepes

Recipe: allrecipes.com
I just love how these thin pseudo pancakes are so versatile. They can be paired with almost anything. And they are even more delicious when paired with fresh fruits and a dollop of whipped cream. Now, if you want a healthier treat, you could dispense with the cream and just have the fruits as filling. Fruits are, after all, full of fiber and vitamins. Either way, it sounds so yummy, doesn’t it? In fact, just thinking about them is making me hungry.

6. Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Recipe: foodnetwork.com
There has been some debate as to where ganache was really invented, in France or Switzerland. If you ask me, it doesn’t matter where it really came from. What matters is that it’s one of the most delicious things in the world. And you can put it as a filling or glaze to almost any pastry! Amazing, right? And the cupcake recipe here is so easy it’s adorable. More than that, I’m a big fan of coffee, chocolate, butter, and cream. So getting all of these tasty flavors in one yummy treat is, for me, pure indulgence. Just amazingly delicious!

7. French Meringues

Recipe: allrecipes.com
Now this one is an old favorite of mine. I’ve been eating these things even before I could read or write! I’m serious. These confections are very easy to prepare and they just melt in your mouth like dollops of snowflakes, only sweeter. And you could make them in different colors, too. You just add some drops of natural food coloring into the mix. But if you ask me, I prefer the white ones. I don’t know why but they look more delicious to me than the colored ones.

Do you love desserts as much as I do? Well then, try out some of these recipes and treat yourself to any of these sweet confections today.

 

7 Easy to Make French Appetizers

An appetizer, according to encarta dictionary, is a small dish of food served at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite; hence the name. In French cuisine, every part of dinner is essential. But if you ask my opinion, I think appetizers might be the most important part, since they sort of prep people for the rest of the meal. Now here are seven easy-to-make French appetizers.

1. Tranches au Fromage (Cheese Toast)

Recipe: epicurious.com
Who doesn’t love toast?! It’s one of the yummiest and easiest foods that you can prepare. And this recipe has cheese and mustard, which are both equally delicious. Plus, this recipe requires only a few minutes to prepare, which makes it doubly amazing. Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, black bread is another term for rye bread. So yes, the ingredients are easy to find, the instructions are easy to follow, and the end product is pretty delicious. More cheese toast, anyone?

2. Tarte au Fromage (Cheese Tart)

Recipe: frenchfood.about.com
This is another deliciously excellent cheese appetizer. It might take a bit longer than most to prepare, but you wouldn’t regret making it. And yes, it is very easy to prepare. There are no complicated processes or cooking techniques needed. You just need to set the dough for a couple of hours. But other than that, it’s a breeze to prepare.

3. Seafood Fondue

Recipe: cdkitchen.com
I’ve always found fondue recipes cute and fun. And this recipe let’s you see that fondue is not just fun to eat, it is also fun to prepare. Seriously, the whole thing is reminiscent of when you were a little girl playing chef with your little pots, pans, and stove. Who said preparing appetizers has to be all business, right?

 

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.

 

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.

Simple French Food by Richard Olney

The book “Simple French Food” has been recently written by one of the most skilful American experts in French cuisine, an enthusiastic advocate of authentic French cooking, Richard Olney. His previously written books include a number of popular paperbacks and hardcovers

on the subject, such as “The French Menu Cookbook”, “Lulu’s Provencal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from the Domaine Tempier Vineyard”, “Richard Olney’s French Wine & Food: A Wine Lover’s Cookbook”, “Provence: the Beautiful Cookbook”, and “Ten Vineyard Lunches (Ten Menus Series)”. An accomplished cook, the author of “Simple French Food” is famous well beyond the borders of the USA for his delicious recipes featuring wholesome, healthy meals easily to prepare in any household. One of the best and most accurate reviews of this book belongs to Nika Hazelton from The New York Times: “Simple French Food has the most marvellous French food to appear in print since Elisabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking…. The book’s greatest virtue is that the author…really teaches you to cook French in a way I’ve never seen before. Here you acquire the methods, the tour de main, the tricks that are the heart and essence of French food, unforgettable once acquired in this book because of their logical, well-explained presentation.”

The book is not only a collection of guidelines, kitchen hints, and cooking instructions, it is also an excellent piece of writing that is able to render the appearance, flavour, and taste of delectable French dishes. Olney, unlike many American authors, favours traditional, rich ingredients that give the most authentic taste to cooking. For instance, his recipe of French-style scrambled eggs includes generous amounts of butter and describes a smooth and creamy texture of the ready dish. Another feature of “Richard Olney cuisine” is an emphasis on simple and inexpensive vegetables that he turns by his art into a delight of almost every meal.

This great book is a must-read for every connoisseur of French cuisine. But do not be deceived by the word “simple” on the cover – even the simplest French recipe requires time, effort, and LOVE to be incorporated into cooking. The rewards are worth the effort – lamb shanks with garlic, roasted calf’s liver, Pommes de Terre… you will find there hundreds of exquisite recipes that will transform your kitchen into a culinary temple of the fancy taste from Paris, Provence, and Lyon.

Most readers have given “Simple French Food” 5 stars. Read, cook, and enjoy!