Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more, with a free trial

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
Ebook1,102 pages11 hours

Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5/5

()

About this ebook

When Julia Child told Dorie Greenspan, “You write recipes just the way I do,” she paid her the ultimate compliment. Julia’s praise was echoed by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, which referred to Dorie’s “wonderfully encouraging voice” and “the sense of a real person who is there to help should you stumble.”   Now in a big, personal, and personable book, Dorie captures all the excitement of French home cooking, sharing disarmingly simple dishes she has gathered over years of living in France.
Around My French Table includes many superb renditions of the great classics: a glorious cheese-domed onion soup, a spoon-tender beef daube, and the “top-secret” chocolate mousse recipe that every good Parisian cook knows—but won’t reveal.   Hundreds of other recipes are remarkably easy: a cheese and olive quick bread, a three-star chef’s Basque potato tortilla made with a surprise ingredient (potato chips), and an utterly satisfying roast chicken for “lazy people.”   Packed with lively stories, memories, and insider tips on French culinary customs, Around My French Table will make cooks fall in love with France all over again, or for the first time.
LanguageEnglish
PublisherMariner Books
Release dateOct 8, 2010
ISBN9780547504810
Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
Read preview
Author

Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson is an award-winning photographer and designer whose work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, and The New York Times Magazine. He has done the photography for countless cookbooks and is the co-author of The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking. He lives in New York City.

Read More From Alan Richardson

Related to Around My French Table

Related Books

Related Articles

Reviews for Around My French Table

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5/5

2 ratings3 reviews

What did you think?

Tap to rate
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I think this is one of the best books in my collection, While I haven't cooked the whole book, what I have has been outstanding.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is a thing of beauty. I have been perusing it since I bought it, eager to try some of the recipes. I like the way that Greenspan approaches recipes that often seem difficult in such a matter of fact, leisurely way.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I've heard of Dorie Greenspan for a few years now, but this was my first time reading one of her books (thanks to a borrow through Prime Reading). I now understand the buzz around her cooking. She presents 300 French recipes in this book--recipes that often look intimidating--but does so with a gentle, calming manner. Her voice truly comes across on every page--these recipes are not mere recitations of ingredients and do this and that. I loved that most also featured little "good ideas" on modifications, too. The asides on French culture, like how to handle oneself in a cheese shop, were incredibly fun.She also understands her audience. The book is from the vantage point of someone who has lived, grocery shopped, and cooked in France, but she knows her audience is American, and suggests necessary recipe changes for ingredients that are accessible and affordable.Usually when I read a cookbook, I find maybe a couple recipes I want to try; that's a big reason why I buy few cookbooks these days. Why waste the space? However, I found a bunch of recipes of interest in Around My French Table, and already tried one! This is a book I would actually like to have in print--plus, I'm now keenly interested in finding more of her cookbooks, too.

Book preview

Around My French Table - Alan Richardson

Contents


Title Page

Contents

Frontispiece

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Introduction

NIBBLES AND HORS D’OEUVRES

Gougères

Goat-Cheese Mini Puffs

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Onion Biscuits

Cheez-it-ish Crackers

Pierre Hermé’s Olive Sablés

David’s Seaweed Sablés

Mustard Bâtons

Herbed Olives

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

Hummus

Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese (aka Boursin’s Mama)

Guacamole with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

Eggplant Caviar

Tzatziki

Sardine Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

Tuna Rillettes

Arman’s Caviar in Aspic

Dilled Gravlax with Mustard Sauce

Mme. Maman’s Chopped Liver

Back-of-the-Card Cheese and Olive Bread

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

Dieter’s Tartine

Tartine de Viande des Grisons

Two Tartines from La Croix Rouge

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine

Pissaladière

Provençal Olive Fougasse

Socca from Vieux Nice

SOUPS

Cheese-Topped Onion Soup

Asparagus Soup

Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup

Corn Soup

Christine’s Simple Party Soups

Celery-Celery Soup

Leek and Potato Soup, Smooth or Chunky, Hot or Cold

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream

Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup

Paris Mushroom Soup

Spur-of-the-Moment Vegetable Soup, aka Stone Soup (The Carrot Version)

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis

Béatrix’s Red Kuri Soup

Spiced Squash, Fennel and Pear Soup

Chestnut-Pear Soup

Provençal Vegetable Soup

Garbure from the Supermarket

Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India

Orange-Scented Lentil Soup

Riviera Fish Soup

Simplest Breton Fish Soup

Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Cold Melon-Berry Soup

SALADS, STARTERS, AND SMALL PLATES

Anne Leblanc’s Pistachio Avocado

Café-Style Grated Carrot Salad

Hélène’s All-White Salad

Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa

Roasted Peppers

Vanilla Vegetable Salad

Orange and Olive Salad

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Strawberry Salad

Lime and Honey Beet Salad

Chunky Beets and Icy Red Onions

Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle with Cucumbers and Lemon

Salade Niçoise

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Deconstructed BLT and Eggs

Crab and Grapefruit Salad

Couscous Salad

Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Salad

Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad

Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad

Potato Chip Tortilla

Basque Potato Tortilla

Eggplant Tartine with Tomatoes, Olives, and Cucumbers

Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans

Cheesy Crème Brûlée

Cheese Soufflé

Muenster Cheese Soufflés

Recipe-Swap Onion Carbonara

Gérard’s Mustard Tart

Gorgonzola-Apple Quiche

Quiche Maraîchère

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Mushroom and Shallot Quiche

Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs

Tomato-Cheese Tartlets

Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza

Scallop and Onion Tartes Fines

Smoked Salmon Waffles

Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

Tuna-Packed Piquillo Peppers

Winter Ceviche

Tuna and Mango Ceviche

Salmon Tartare

Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar

Crab-Avocado Ravioli

Shrimp-Filled Zucchini Blossoms

Sardine Escabeche

Chicken Liver Gâteaux with Pickled Onions

Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles

Coddled Eggs with Foie Gras

CHICKEN AND DUCK

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

Hurry-up-and-Wait Roast Chicken

M. Jacques’ Armagnac Chicken

Chicken in a Pot: The Garlic and Lemon Version

Chicken Basquaise

Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

Chicken Couscous

Chicken Breasts Diable

Chicken, Apples, and Cream à la Normande

Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken

Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote

Chicken B’stilla

Olive-Olive Cornish Hens

Sausage-Stuffed Cornish Hens

Twenty-Minute Honey-Glazed Duck Breasts

Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches

Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats

BEEF, VEAL, PORK, AND LAMB

Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak

Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger

My Go-to Beef Daube

Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

Boeuf à la Ficelle (Beef on a String)

Boeuf à la Mode (aka Great Pot Roast)

Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

Hachis Parmentier

Next-Day Beef Salad

Green-as-Spring Veal Stew

Veal Marengo

Veal Chops with Rosemary Butter

Osso Buco à l’Arman

Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Cola and Jam Spareribs

Navarin Printanier

Braised Cardamom-Curry Lamb

Lamb and Dried Apricot Tagine

FISH AND SHELLFISH

Almond Flounder Meunière

Skate with Capers, Cornichons, and Brown Butter Sauce

Cod and Spinach Roulades

Monkfish and Double Carrots

Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad

Salmon with Basil Tapenade

Roasted Salmon and Lentils

Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

Spice-Crusted Tuna

Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa

Seafood Pot-au-Feu

Moules Marinière

Curried Mussels

Mussels and Chorizo with or without Pasta

Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce

Warm Scallop Salad with Corn, Nectarines, and Basil

Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles

Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster

VEGETABLES AND GRAINS (Mostly Sides, but a Few Mains Too)

Asparagus and Bits of Bacon

Lemon-Steamed Spinach

Pancetta Green Beans

Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots

Boulevard Raspail Corn on the Cob

Corn Pancakes

Endives, Apples, and Grapes

Crunchy Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers

Pipérade Stir-Fry

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes Provençal

Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts

Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps, and Garlic en Papillote

Swiss Chard Pancakes

Brown-Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts en Papillote

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

Go-with-Everything Celery Root Puree

Matafan (Fluffy Mashed Potato Pancakes)

Broth-Braised Potatoes

Salty-Sweet Potato Far

Potato Gratin (Pommes Dauphinois)

Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

French Lentils: A Basic Recipe

Dressy Pasta Risotto

Beggar’s Linguine

Herb-Speckled Spaetzle

Gnocchi à La Parisienne

Storzapretis (aka Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi)

Warm-Weather Vegetable Pot-au-Feu

Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach

Cardamom Rice Pilaf

Lemon Barley Pilaf

DESSERTS

Long and Slow Apples

Compote de Pommes Two Ways

Baked Apples Filled with Fruits and Nuts

Spice-Poached Apples or Pears

Roasted Rhubarb

Citrus-Berry Terrine

Salted Butter Break-Ups

Cocoa Sablés

Almond-Orange Tuiles

Speculoos

Honey-Spiced Madeleines

Croquants

Butter and Rum Crepes, Fancy and Plain

Nutella Tartine

Waffles and Cream

Sugar-Crusted French Toast

Coupétade (French-Toast Pudding)

Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

Crème Brûlée

Coeur à la Crème

Floating Islands

Rice Pudding and Caramel Apples

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake

Quatre-Quarts

Visitandine

Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

Ispahan Loaf Cake

Blueberry-Mascarpone Roulade

Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

Tourteau de Chèvre

Whole-Cherry Clafoutis

Financiers

Coconut Friands

Caramel-Almond Custard Tart

Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart

Sablé Breton Galette with Berries

Double Chocolate and Banana Tart

Cheesecake Tart

Gâteau Basque

Vanilla Éclairs

Paris-Brest

Peach Melba

Olive Oil Ice Cream

FUNDAMENTALS AND FLOURISHES

Everyday Vinaigrette

Tapenade Vinaigrette

Anchoiade

Black Olive Tapenade

Basil Pesto

Mango Chatini

Mayonnaise

Crème Fraîche

Poached Eggs

Ruffly Poached Eggs

Brioche Dough

Bubble-Top Brioches

Tart Dough

Sweet Tart Dough

Cream Puff Dough

Crème Anglaise

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Chocolate Pastry Cream

Lemon Curd

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

Warm Caramel Sauce

Vanilla Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

SOURCES

INDEX

Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan

Photographs copyright © 2010 by Alan Richardson

All rights reserved

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@hmhco.com or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

hmhbooks.com

The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

Greenspan, Dorie.

Around my French table : more than 300 recipes from my home to yours / Dorie Greenspan ; photographs by Alan Richardson.

p. cm.

Includes index.

ISBN 978-0-618-87553-5 (hardcover)

1. Cookery, French. I. Title.

TX719.G758 2010

641.5944—dc22

2010014232

Book design by George Restrepo

Food styling by Karen Tack

Prop styling by Deb Donahue

eISBN 978-0-547-50481-0

v6.0319

For Michael, who made my dream of a French life come true, and with whom I am so lucky to share the joys of that life.

For Joshua, who makes life even sweeter.

For my French friends, who have shared their lives and their tables with me.

And in memory of my mother, Helen Burg, who visited Paris just once, but who cherished the pleasures of that city for the rest of her life.

Acknowledgments

THIS BOOK IS SPECIAL TO ME in every way. Special because I got to write about the food I love in France, a country that means so much to me, and very special because I got to work with an extraordinary group of people, many of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to work with for years.

From the day I met my agent, David Black, he told me that this was a book I had to do. Now that it’s written, I know he was right, but I also know that it would not have been the book it is without his constant encouragement, his wise eye, and his warm heart.

Anyone who knows me is probably tired of hearing me say this, but I was so very lucky to have Rux Martin as my editor. As she did with Baking: From My Home to Yours, Rux, with her sharp intelligence; profound appreciation of food, writing, and writers; and ever-ready blue pencil made this a better book than it was when it arrived on her doorstep. She also made me laugh, and when you’re racing a tight deadline for a big book, the benefits of laughter can’t be overestimated.

At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I got to work with the A-team. Many thanks to George Restrepo, for his beautiful book design; Eugenie Delaney, for carrying it out; Teresa Elsey, who saw the book through production; Jacinta Monniere, who once again translated scribbles into type; and Rux’s ever helpful and always patient assistant, Tim Mudie.

When photographer Alan Richardson, food stylist Karen Tack, and prop stylist Deb Donahue signed on to work on this book, I was so happy that I actually burst into tears. It had been my dream that we could work together again—this is the team that made Baking so gorgeous—but I hadn’t dared to imagine that it would happen. As an author, you trust your food to those who will illustrate it—never has there been a more trustworthy crew.

This book, my tenth, marks the twentieth anniversary of my working with the best cookbook copyeditor ever, Judith Sutton. We’ve worked together on all my books, and I hope we always will. Thanks also to proofreaders Jessica Sherman and Susan Dickinson, whose sharp eyes made this book better.

I am grateful to Jennifer King, a founder of Liddabit Sweets, for testing—and retesting—my recipes. Jen has all the qualities you want in a tester: skillfulness, meticulousness, a love of food, and an appetite for learning.

Barbara Fairchild, the editor in chief of Bon Appétit, has encouraged me for years, and with each year, I appreciate her support more and more. I’m also deeply appreciative for the enthusiasm and support of Janice Kaplan, who was my editor at Parade.

More so than any other book I’ve written, this one depended on and was made infinitely richer by the generosity of friends. In America, I had great help from Eric Render, Beth and Michael Vogel, Laura Shapiro, and Stephanie Lyness. While I was in France, among the friends who were at my side or with me around my table or theirs were Martine and Bernard Collet, Hélène Samuel, Juan Sanchez, Drew Harré, Christian Holthausen, Simon Maurel, David Lebovitz, Alec Lobrano, Paule Caillat, Patricia and Walter Wells, and my friend and mentor in all things sweet, Pierre Hermé, and his wife, Barbara.

Many people shared their wonderful recipes with me, among them: Bertrand Auboyneau; Marie-Hélène Brunet-Lhoste; Yves Camdeborde; Béatrix Collet; Marie- Claude Delaveau; Jacques Drouot; Danielle Easton; Sonia Ezgulian; Didier Frayssou; Laëtitia Ghipponi; Sophie-Charlotte Guitter; Rosa Jackson; Pierre Jancou; Gérard Jeannin and his wife, Sylvie Rougetet; Anne Leblanc; Nick Malgieri; Françoise Maloberti; Sonia Maman; Claudine Martina; Olivier Martina; Marie Naël; Anne Noblet; Marie- Cécile Noblet; Braden Perkins; Betty Rosbottom; Kerrin Rousset; Kim Sunée; Yannis Théodore; Alice Vasseur; Christine Vasseur; and Meg Zimbeck.

Merci mille fois and a thousand times more to France for being the country of my heart and the land where food, wine, friendship, and home cooking flourish.

And, as always and forever, my love and thanks to the men in my life, Michael, my husband, and Joshua, our son.

Introduction

I WAS RECENTLY MARRIED, JUST OUT OF college, and working at my first grown-up job when Michael, my husband, came into a bit of money, a few hundred dollars that seemed to fall from the sky. He took one look at the check and thought, Car payments! I, ever the romantic, saw it and almost screamed, Paris!

Whoever said screaming will get you nothing was wrong. A month later, we landed in France.

Somewhere there’s a picture of me from that trip. I’m an impossibly skinny young woman with a huge grin. I’m spinning around with arms out wide, and I look like I’m about to grab Paris and hold on to her forever. Which I did.

There were a million reasons I took Paris into my heart. Everything about the city entranced me, from the way the women walked on towering stiletto heels over bumpy cobblestoned streets to how old-fashioned neighborhood restaurants still had cubbyholes where regulars could keep their napkin rings. I loved the rhythm of Parisian life, the sound of the language, the way people sat in cafés for hours.

I fell in love with the city because it fit all my girlish ideas of what it was supposed to be, but I stayed in love with all of France because of its food and its people.

I’m convinced my fate turned on a strawberry tartlet. We were walking up the very chic rue Saint-Honoré, pressing our noses against the windows of the fashionable stores and admiring everything we couldn’t afford, when the tartlet, a treat within our means, called out to me. It was the first morsel I had on French soil, and more than thirty years later, I still think it was the best tartlet of my life, a life that became rich in tartlets.

This one was a barquette, a boat-shaped tartlet so teensy that all it could hold was a lick of pastry cream and three little strawberries, but everything about it excited me. The crust was so beautifully baked and flaky that when I took the first bite, small shards of it flew across my scarf. It was butter that gave the crust its texture, remarkable flavor, and deep golden color, and a little more butter and pure vanilla that made the pastry cream so memorable. And those strawberries. They were fraises des bois—tiny wild strawberries—but I had no idea of that then. What I did know was that they tasted like real strawberries, whose flavor I must have subconsciously tucked away in my memory.

That evening, after searching for a restaurant that would keep us within the budget set by Europe on $5 a Day, we settled into a crêperie near our hotel. It was startling to see a big menu offering nothing but crepes, and not a single one famous in America! Everything we tasted was a novelty: the buckwheat crepe was lacy and chewy, and the sunny-side-up egg that accompanied it had a yolk the color of marigolds and the true taste of eggs.

I returned home to New York City, assured my mother that I loved her even though she’d made the mistake of having me in Brooklyn instead of Paris, and proceeded to devote the rest of my life to remedying her lapse in judgment.

I took French lessons, learned to tie a scarf the French way, and in anticipation of spending more time in cafés, I practiced making an espresso last long enough to get through a chapter of Sartre.

And I cooked. I made the food I’d loved in France, the food you’ll find in this book—simple, delicious, everyday food, like beef stews made with rough country wine and carrots that I could have sworn were candied but weren’t (I’ve got a similar dish on page 244); salads dressed with vinaigrettes that had enough sharp mustard in them to make your eyes pop open (see page 484); and hand-formed tarts with uneven edges that charred a bit when they caught the oven’s heat (just as the one on page 458 does).

I returned to Paris as often as I could and traveled through France as much as I could. On each trip, I’d buy cookbooks, collect recipes from anyone who’d share them (and almost everyone I asked, from farmers in the markets to chefs, was happy to share), and take cooking and baking classes everywhere they were offered. Then I’d come back and spend days at a stretch trying to perfect what I’d learned or to teach myself something new.

When Marie-Cécile Noblet, a Frenchwoman from a hotel-restaurant family in Brittany, came to live with us as an au pair for Joshua, our infant son, I was working on a doctoral thesis in gerontology but thinking I wanted to make a change in my life. Within weeks of her arrival, I was spending more time in the kitchen with her than in school with my advisors.

Marie-Cécile was a born cook. When she made something particularly wonderful and I asked a question, she’d give me a perfect Gallic shrug, put her index finger to the tip of her nose, and claim that she’d made it au pif, or just by instinct. And she had. She could feel her way around almost any recipe—as I’d later see so many good French cooks do—and she taught me to trust my own instincts and to always have one tool at my side: a spoon to taste with.

IT WOULD TAKE ME A DECADE TO make my passion my work, but shortly after Marie-Cécile arrived, I put aside my dissertation, left my job in a research center, and got a position as a pastry cook in a restaurant. A couple of years later, I landed some assignments as a food writer: I became the editor of the James Beard Foundation publications and was hired to write for Elle magazine. Best of all, I got to work with the greatest French chefs both here and in France.

It was the late 1980s; some of les grands, as the top chefs were called, were shaking up haute French cuisine and I had a front-row seat at the revolution. I worked in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first American kitchen when he banished butter from his sauces and did away with long-cooked stocks in favor of light pan jus, vegetable purees, and his then-radical flavored oils. I tagged along with Gilbert Le Coze, the chef-owner of Le Bernardin, a new breed of seafood restaurant in New York City, as he strode through the Fulton Fish Market picking the best of the catch and teaching other city chefs how to get the most out of fish, like monkfish and skate, they’d once ignored. And I was lucky enough to spend some time with Alain Ducasse learning how he worked the sunny ingredients and the easygoing style of the Mediterranean into his personal take on rigorous French cuisine.

These amazingly talented chefs and others like them were adding flavors from all parts of the world to their cooking and, in the process, not only loosening up French cooking, but making it more understandable to us Americans—more like the melting-pot cooking that’s the hallmark of our own tradition.

I was dazzled by their brilliance, but I was fascinated by something else: the unbroken connection to the cooking of their childhoods. After making a startlingly original ginger sauce for his famous molten chocolate cake, Jean-Georges urged me to taste a cup of thick lentil soup, because it was made exactly as his mother would have made it (my version is on page 90). Having prepared a meal that included a kingly amount of precious black truffles, Daniel Boulud told me he couldn’t wait to have hachis Parmentier, a humble shepherd’s pie (see page 258). And Pierre Hermé, France’s most famous pastry chef, after making a chocolate dessert that was masterly, revealed that its haunting flavor came from a jar of Nutella (just as it does in his tartine on page 415).

FOR YEARS I CONTINUED TO TRAVEL BACK and forth between New York City and France. Then, thirteen years ago, I became truly bicontinental: Michael and I moved into an apartment in Paris’s 6th arrondissement, and I got the French life I couldn’t ever have really imagined but had always longed for. Finally I could be a regular in the small shops of my neighborhood and at the vendors’ stalls at the market, and nicest of all, I could cook for my French friends, and they for me.

Now I can chart the changing seasons by what my friends and I are cooking. When asparagus arrives, dinner at Martine Collet’s starts with pounds of them, perfectly peeled to their tips, steamed just until a knife slips through them (see page 128), piled on a platter, and flanked by two bowls of her lemony mayonnaise. In early fall, when the days are warm but the nights are a little cooler, Hélène Samuel makes her all-white salad (page 108), a mix of mushrooms, apples, celery, and cabbage dressed with a tangy yogurt vinaigrette. When the cold weather is with us for real, Paule Caillat can be counted upon to serve Parisian gnocchi (page 374), a recipe passed down to her by her Tante Léo. And throughout the year, we lift the lids of Dutch ovens to reveal tagines, the beloved spice-scented Moroccan stews (try the one for lamb with apricots on page 284), or slowly braised boeuf à la mode (page 252) with a sauce gently seasoned with anchovies, or chicken braised in Armagnac (page 204), or an all-vegetable pot-au-feu (page 376).

What’s being cooked in French homes today is wonderful partly because it’s so unexpected. One week you might have a creamy cheese and potato gratin (see page 360) just like the one a cook’s great-grandmother used to make, and the next week you’ll be treated to a simply cooked fish with a ginger-spiked salsa (page 489) taking the place of the butter sauce that would once have been standard.

I love this mix of old and new, traditional and exotic, store-bought and homemade, simple and complex, and you’ll find it in this book. These are the recipes gathered over my years of traveling and living in France. They’re recipes from friends I love, bistros I cherish, and my own Paris kitchen. Some are steeped in history or tied to a story, and others are as fresh as the ingredients that go into them; some are time-honored, and many others are created on the spur of the moment from a basket full of food from the day’s market.

This is elbows-on-the-table food, dishes you don’t need a Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu to make. It’s the food I would cook for you if you came to visit me in Paris—or in New York City, where all of these recipes were tested. The ingredients are readily available in the United States; almost everything can be bought at your neighborhood supermarket, and the techniques are straightforward and practical, as they must be—French home cooks are as busy as we are.

Holding this book of recipes, a record of my time in France, I have the sense of something meant to be: the reason that Michael and I ended up with plane tickets and a strawberry tartlet all those years ago.

About the Recipes

All the recipes in this book were made with large eggs, unsalted butter, and whole milk unless otherwise specified.

Just about every time you cook or bake, you’ve got to make a judgment call—it’s the nature of the craft. I tested these recipes over and over and wrote them as carefully and precisely as I could, but there’s no way I could take into account all the individual variables that will turn up in your kitchen. I couldn’t know exactly how powerful medium heat is on your stovetop, how constant your oven temperature is,