Archive for 2011

Endive and Pistachio Salad

Endive makes a perfect salad to accompany a festive and rich holiday meal. The chopped leaves are light, crunchy, and refreshingly bitter, sparked with a tangy sherry-pistachio vinaigrette and topped with sweet, crunchy pistachios. Compared to other nut oils, pistachio oil has a particularly strong flavor. Its rich, slightly sweet taste complements the bitterness of the endives and elevates the salad to “special occasion” status — or even “is there any more salad?” status. Bon appetit!

Chocolate-Madarin Charlotte

A Charlotte is a classic French dessert composed of a mold of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers and filled with a Bavarian cream or mousse filling. This one combines a decadent dark chocolate mousse, Cointreau-brushed ladyfingers, and the lively tang of fresh satsumas or tangerines. Elegantly tall, crowned with drift of creme chantilly (whipped cream) and bound with a wide ribbon. It makes a glorious finale to a festive holiday meal.

Poached Foie Gras with Grape Relish

When the occasion calls for an absolutely stunning starter, look no further. Foie gras, gently poached in port and red wine, supported by a crisp fragment of brioche, adorned with a savory grape demiglace. C’est magnifique!

Filet Mignon with Morels and Tarragon-Marsala Sauce

Morel mushrooms are a treat of nature — only available from the wild and prized for their honeycomb texture and rich, earthy flavor. Combine them with a splash of cream and a hot pan to create an entree worthy of starring at your next dinner party… or the next time you have a hankering for morels.

Almond Poires Belle Hélène — Oven-Poached Pears with Almond Filling and Chocolate Sauce

Poires belle Hélène is a classic French dessert of poached pears served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. This recipe adds a decadent twist by oven-poaching the pears and stuffing each with a luscious hunk of almond paste, then further guilds the lily by adding a dollop of Provence lavender honey to the chocolate sauce, its subtle floral notes enhancing the flavor of the pears.

Quick Lobster Bisque

An elegant starter to a company meal, or a quick and delicious dinner when simply accompanied by a salad and bread. Making a shellfish bisque from scratch is time-consuming, what with boiling the shells for flavor, straining them out of the stock, etc. Starting with Perard’s Lobster Soup makes preparing a creamy bisque a snap: add chunks of poached lobster, a touch of cream, and a decadent sprinkle of minced black truffles to creates a stunning dish in minutes.

Grapefruit and Shaved Fennel Salad

Light, cool and crunchy, fennel is a perfect complement to rich autumn dishes. Grapefruit and mustard add piquancy to the mellow, mildly licorice flavor of the fennel. The salad will be different if prepared with a mandoline vs hand-slicing the fennel: shaved, the fennel becomes thin enough to drape in succulent ribbons over the citrus and greens; sliced, it makes a crisp counterpoint to the buttery lettuce and juicy grapefruit.

Summer Pea Crostini

Fresh English peas combine well with all the mint family herbs: basil, mint, oregano, etc. Here they transformed into a chunky puree accented with scallions and fresh mint. The crostini use French mini-toasts as a base — they are fine-grained and lightly crisp, a better complement to the delicately flavored peas than a coarse Italian or French-style bread.

Summer Fruit Shortcakes

Perfectly ripe, juicy summer fruit needs only a few simple accompaniments to be transformed into a gala dessert. And a gala dessert that requires no baking on a hot summer day? Even better! Macerating the fruits in a mixture of sweet wine and lavender honey perfumes them, plus creates a richly-flavored syrup for soaking ladyfingers, used as a lighter alternative to the traditional biscuit-type shortcake. A dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of lavender honey complete the shortcakes— or use French vanilla/honey yogurt, if a lighter dessert is desired.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Cider Glaze

Scallops’ delicately sweet taste pairs brilliantly with fragrant French cider, particularly when said cider is reduced to a luscious glaze that clings to each bite. The scallops are placed atop a bed of spinach studded with crisp bacon and sauteed mushrooms, then generously napped with the unctuous sauce.