One-Pot Sausages and Lentils with Sweet Roasted Shallots

RECIPE: One-Pot Sausages and Lentils with Sweet Roasted Shallots
So-Easy, One Pot Blistered Sausages with Lentils and Sweet Roasted Shallots

So-Easy, One Pot Blistered Sausages with Lentils and Sweet Roasted Shallots

One of my favorite pastimes is reading French menus. Tantalizing. Always full of combinations that seem so obvious in retrospect, but that would never have occurred to me. Strawberries and thyme. Salmon and lentils. Pears and ham. They are where I get most of my cooking inspiration, even when I never try the dish I spy somewhere after Entrées and before Désserts.

One night last summer when I was in Nice with my family and Mr. English, I skittered between two restaurants half a block apart, reading their menus. “This one, this one!” I begged. I had spied something, a local specialty, that I just had to try: sausages and lentils. So humble, and yet I knew it would be elegant in its simplicity. Really good, firm French lentils that never lose their figure. Sausages full of smoky bacon, wine, and garlic that snapped under the point of a knife. Both the sausages and the lentils were listed next to their provenance. These were special sausages, special lentils, with a pedigree and a history. Who could resist?

Apparently, my entire family and Mr. English. They all wanted to go to the pasta place down the street. So I consoled myself, as I twirled my tagliatelle with pistou around the tines of my fork, that I would try sausages and lentils at home. And I have, in about ten different ways. This recipe is how to make sausages and lentils—one of those genius French combinations I stole from a French menu—in a jiffy.

I toss slivered shallots and Toulouse sausages—full of bacon, red wine, and garlic—with olive oil, and roast them until the sausages blister and the shallots caramelize. Then, I hit them with a splash of white wine and easy, organic canned du Puy lentils. After adding some torn herbs and giving it a few minutes under the broiler, the one-pot peasant dinner is done. I serve it with a greens and walnut salad tossed in a whole grain honey mustard dressing. It has all that French country charm with a distinctly American practicality that I love. Really French in a Flash.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

One-Pot Sausages and Lentils with Sweet Roasted Shallots
serves 2

So-Easy, One Pot Blistered Sausages with Lentils and Sweet Roasted ShallotsINGREDIENTS

  • 6 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 14 ounces Toulouse sausages (about 6 links)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans du Puy lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • A pinch of dried Herbes de Provence
  • Torn fresh parsley or thyme to garnish

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. To prepare the shallots, top them, and then cut them in half.  Peel the halves, and shave off the little beard at the bottom.  The slice, not too thinly, pole to pole.

Heat the oil in a sautépan over medium heat until it shimmers.  Add the shallots and sausages, and season with salt and pepper.  Shake to coat everything in the oil, and bake in the oven until the shallots are soft and caramelized and the sausages blistered, about half an hour, stirring once or twice.

Take the pot from the oven and place on the stove over high heat.  Add the wine, and bring to a boil.  Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then add the lentils, water, and herbes de Provence, and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Stir in the fresh herbs, and serve with green salad and torn fresh bread.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Series
 

Grilled Rare Tuna Salad with Basil-Tapenade Vinaigrette

RECIPE: Grilled Rare Tuna Salad with Basil-Tapenade Vinaigrette
Grilled Rare Tuna Niçoise

Grilled Rare Tuna Salad with Basil-Tapenade Vinaigrette

Next week is my favorite week of the year: my annual family trip to Provence. Every year it’s a different town—some by the sea, some tucked into the little mountains. But there’s always the same punch flavors of olives, tomatoes, garlic, and basil.

Salade Niçoise is the requisite seaside order for hot days when the sun is beating down. But, as perfect as it is to order when you’re out, it’s a pain to make at home. I make this version when I want to evoke the flavors of Provence—and the rocky beaches, cliff-tossed breezes, and mile-high blue skies—without having to boil eggs, potatoes, and green beans. I sear tuna crusted in herbes de Provence on the grill until it’s rare, thinly slice it, and fan it out over a delicate bed of finely sliced tomatoes and silky butter lettuce. A quick dressing of basil, olive oil, vinegar, and black olive tapenade evokes all the traditional flavors. And, to gild the lily, it’s crowned with fried (or fresh) capers instead of croutons.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Grilled Rare Tuna Salad with Basil-Tapenade Vinaigrette
serves 2 to 4

Grilled Rare Tuna NiçoiseINGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces fresh tuna steak
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for frying the capers
  • 2 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed and meticulously dried
  • 2 tablespoons bought black olive tapenade
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus extra for the salad
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
  • 1/2 lemon, halved

PROCEDURE

Preheat a grill pan over high heat.  Season the tuna liberally with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.  Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the outside of the seasoned fish.  Grill 1 minute on each side, and set aside.

To fry the capers, heat a shy inch of oil in a small saucepot until it shimmers.  Carefully add the capers (they will splatter) and fry until crisp and golden.  Drain on paper towel.  You can also just add the capers as they are, without frying.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the tapenade, vinegar, garlic, 10 basil leaves, and salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, arrange the tomatoes on the bottom of a serving dish.  Scatter the lettuce on top, and then some whole basil leaves.  Slice the tuna about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and arrange over the lettuce and basil.  Drizzle the vinaigrette all over, and crown with the capers.  Serve the lemon quarters on the side, and maybe some good warm Poilâne-style bread.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad
 

Dinner for Two: Little Italy Sausage’n'Beans

RECIPE: Mulberry Street Cassoulet

My favorite food in the world is cassoulet.  It’s rustic, filling, hearty, and so, so good.  But it doesn’t only have to be French.  While the traditional version takes a million minutes and a few different kinds of confit to make, this Mulberry Street version only takes one pot and fifteen minutes, and is a kind of fresh riff on the Italian favorite sausage and broccoli rabe.

Start with some really, really good pork sausage flavored with garlic and herbs.  Sweet Italian sausage works perfectly.  Nestle it into a pot with canned cannellini beans, whole cloves of garlic, fresh rosemary, broccolini, and olive oil.  Add just a little bit of broth or water or wine, bring it to the boil, and then nestle the whole thing under the broiler.  The sausages with blister and crack, the beans will toast, the garlic will go all soft and sweet, and the broccolini with become tender-crisp.  You have your meat, starch, and veg all in one place, and the perfect rustic, romantic meal to throw on top of a red and white checked table cloth decorated with scattered melting candles stuck in wine bottles.  Unfortunately, I can’t help with the accordion player, but otherwise, you’ve pretty much set the scene!  The perfect downtown dinner for two.

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Mulberry Street Cassoulet
serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • About 1 pound of sweet pork sausage links
  • 1 bunch broccolini, stems chopped into small circles, florets left whole
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and left in their wrappers
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 14-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of water, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or white wine
  • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

PROCEDURE

Arrange the oven rack in the center position.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  In a high-sided sautépan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Add the sausages, and just brown lightly on the bottom.  Take the pan off the heat, and add the broccolini, garlic, and rosemary, and toss to coat in the oil.  Add the beans, and whatever liquid you choose, and season the whole mix with chili flakes, if using, and salt and pepper.  Nestle everything down into the liquid, and make sure the sausages are poking out on top.  The liquid will only come about halfway up the side of sausages.  Drizzle the top of the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Put the pot back on the heat, covered, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat all the way down, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.  Then, remove the lid, and place the whole pot in the oven for 15 minutes.  You may want to turn on the broiler at the end for another 2 minutes to make sure the sausage is super crispy.

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French in a Flash: Creamy Broiled Scallops Mornay

RECIPE: Creamy Broiled Scallops Mornay

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going to Ireland to find French food inspiration, but I was in Kerry last weekend, and that’s just what happened.  I was in a little pub called The Blue Bull in the blink-and-you-missed-it town of Sneem, and I ordered what I thought was very usual: scallops mornay.  I don’t often mix seafood and dairy (excepting, of course, cream in my mussels), but I wanted to something at once light and decadent, so I ordered it.

I had the most gorgeous sea scallops and roe, toasted in their shells, on a bed of piped mashed potatoes, under a bronzed blanket of cheddar cheese béchamel, or mornay.  And I thought, what a great idea.

Here is my version: sweet, tender bay scallops and puny Paris mushrooms, broiled under a bubbling blanket of béchamel laced with nutty Gruyère.  Serve it right from the oven with a handful of parsley and a steaming baguette, and you have this incredibly rustic, simple, unusual, and delicious dinner that’s, as usual on French in a Flash, really easy, but worthy of company.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Creamy Broiled Scallops Mornay
serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces baby button, or Paris, mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 knifepoint of piment d’Espelette or cayenne
  • 1 knifepoint freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons grated Gruyère, plus extra for topping the gratins
  • 12 ounces bay scallops
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

PROCEDURE

Arrange the oven rack in the second position from the top.  Preheat the broiler.  In a small nonstick sautépan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and mushrooms.  Toast, stirring often, until the mushrooms are golden brown.  They don’t need to be cooked through.  Set aside.

To make the mornay sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Whisk in the flour, and cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Add the milk, and whisk.  Continue whisking with the pan over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and when you run your finger down the back of that spoon, the mixture stays separated—about 5 minutes.  Then add the piment, nutmeg, and 3 tablespoons Gruyère and whisk to combine.  Set aside.

Lightly oil two wide ovensafe dishes.  Mix the scallops and the mushrooms together, half of each in each dish, and season with salt and pepper.  Spread in an even layer across each dish.  Pour half of the mornay sauce over each dish, and top with a tablespoon or so of extra grated Gruyère.  Broil for 10 minutes.

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Dinner for Two: Gingerly Roast Pork with Thyme

RECIPE: Gingerly Roast Pork with Thyme
Gingerly Roast Pork with Thyme

Gingerly Roast Pork with Thyme

It’s easy to fall into the trap of cooking pasta during the week. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s good. But sometimes, after a long day, don’t you just want to tear into a piece of meat? Like, a serious roast?

This recipe is a bit genius, if I do say so myself. By using a pork tenderloin, you’re starting with a lean, relatively inexpensive cut of meat that’s full of flavor. I roll it in salt, pepper, some fresh thyme leaves (or you could use a bit less of dried if that’s what you have), and ginger preserves. That’s it.

Just place the pork in a baking dish, and scatter some baby zucchini around it. Bake it, and watch as the pork develops this gorgeous zingy-sweet crust all over the outside.

No searing. No making a side dish. The pork and preserves even make their own pan sauce. Just leave it in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes, slice it up, and serve. You have a roast pork dinner for two, inspired by honey-roast ham, but with so much more attitude. I recommend a little bit of salad and/or rustic wheat bread to go with.

As an aside, ginger preserves are one of my favorite ingredients. You may never even notice them in the supermarket, but they’re readily available; I use them in this pork, on salmon with soy sauce, in sesame noodles, on take-out inspired shrimp, and on cheese boards. It’s a great way to add the sweetness and texture of honey with the zing of ginger in just one ingredient.

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Gingerly Roast Pork with Thyme
serves 2

Gingerly Roast Pork with ThymeINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons ginger preserves
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 6 baby zucchini

PROCEDURE

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Season the pork with salt and pepper, and roll in the fresh thyme so it’s seasoned all over.  Rub the ginger preserves all over the meat.  Lightly grease a ceramic baking dish with olive oil, and place the pork in the dish.  If any ginger preserves have fallen off the meat, pile them up on top of the pork, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Toss the zucchini with a light drizzle of olive and a pinch of salt, and scatter around the baking dish.

Bake until the center of the pork reaches 140 degrees F, about 15 to 18 minutes.  Turn on the broiler (leave the meat where it is), and broil just a couple of minutes until the preserves on top of the pork caramelize.  The pork should now be 145 degrees in its center.  Take the dish out of the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Then slice the pork, spoon some of the ginger juice from the pan over the top, and serve with the roast zucchini and some lightly dressed salad and bread.

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French in a Flash: Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon

RECIPE: Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon
Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Salmon

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Salmon

I love quirky French regional dishes. Some, like sauce mistral—an almond sauce from Provence—for example, really haven’t make much of a splash. And others, like piperade—a pepper stew from the Basque country—have become international sensations (at least, in fashionable brunch spots).

Piperade is a stew made from peppers, onions, and tomatoes that is flavored with a very special, and very au courant, ingredient: piment d’Espelette. It’s a kind of exuberant red chili powder from the Basque region of France that is lightly spicy and very earthy. Traditionally, and in a lot of brunch places, as I was saying, the trend is to bake eggs on top of the stew and serve them together.

Well, I’m kind of bored of that, and I’m allergic to eggs. So here’s a new way to do piperade (and, incidentally, a new way to do salmon, which is always useful). Stew together the onions, garlic, olive oil, red, yellow, and green peppers, tomatoes, and piment d’Espelette low and slow until everything is soft and tumbling into each other. Then, pulse it to the texture of pico di gallo. Then, you can either broil salmon and spoon the cold piperade over the top, or set the salmon into the piperade and broil them together. The richness of the salmon is cut by the spicy, garden-ness of the piperade, and it’s a French dish with a decidedly Spanish accent. It’s light and healthy, but it packs that piment d’Espelette punch.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy Broiled Salmon
serves 2

Stoplight Piperade with Spicy SalmonINGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette, plus a pinch
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless salmon fillets

PROCEDURE

To make the piperade, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sautépan over medium-low heat.  When the oil shimmers, add onion.  Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic, bell peppers, and piment d’Espelette.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, and season well with salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat all the way down, cover, and cook slowly for 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so.  Then, take off the lid of the pot, raise the heat, and let it rip until the pan is nearly dry and the tomato broth has evaporated.  Transfer the piperade to a food processor, and pulse 6 times, until you have the consistency of a pico di gallo.

Adjust the oven rack so it is in the second position down from the heat source.  Preheat the broiler.  Transfer the piperade to a baking dish.  Rub the salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and piment d’Espelette.  Place the salmon on the piperade, and broil for 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the salmon is cooked through.  Serve with warm bread.

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French Revolution on Marie Claire South Africa!

MarieClaireScreenShot2A big thank you to Marisa and the team at Marie Claire South Africa for the fabulous feature today on MarieClairvoyant.com.  It’s a fun little interview about how I got started in food blogging, French deliciousness, and being a mouse in a cheese shop.  All with lots of pictures, links to my favorite recipes, and my mint tea video.

Thank you so much, Marie Claire, for thinking of this little corner of the Internet.  Thank you to everyone who reads French Rev down in South Africa.  And thanks to all the readers everywhere for making this blog so much fun to write.  Love you all!  Bon app.

http://marieclairvoyant.com/hot-topics/bloggers/a-french-revolution

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