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RECIPE: Sliced Steak with Two-Olive Tapenade
A wedding registry is always brimming with items to equip a kitchen like a well-stocked fortress. A cherry-pitter, just in case cherry pits happen. (Full disclosure: I have one!) But with my friend Lauren, who is getting married tomorrow, I wanted to give her something to do with all those knives and food processors. So, I made her a recipe: Sliced Steak with Chunky Two-Olive Tapenade.
This week’s French in a Flash on Serious Eats gives a glimpse into our lives at Princeton, and the eating clubs that sat us down to dinner together. I think this food might be a bit better though… As always, click here for the whole story!
Sliced Steak with Two-Olive Tapenade
serves 2 to 4
- 2 12-ounce New York strip steaks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Herbes de Provence
- Season the steaks with the olive oil, and a liberal amount of salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Sear the steaks 6-7 minutes per side, then allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice, and serve with the two-olive tapenade.
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 cups mixed pitted nicoise and picholine olives
- The leaves from 5 stems of fresh thyme
- ½ tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Demolish the garlic clove in the food processor. Then add in all the rest of the ingredients and pulse until you are left with an olive rubble. Spoon over the hot sliced steak, and serve extra on the side with baguette.
Berthillon is Paris’s most famous ice cream shop. And that’s saying something, because every day when I walk by the various ice cream shops throughout the city, the lines snake out onto the sidewalks, and around the street corners. But Berthillon is by far the most reputable, and the most revered.
It is located on the quaint little island Ile St. Louis in the middle of the Seine. It is a shop rimmed by boutique florists, tiny shops of precious treasures, and gourmand specialists. Berthillon’s flavors are always an exquisite homage to French tastes: Fraises des Bois, Salted Butter Caramel, and my favorite, Raspberry-Rose.
I went a few days ago, and ordered by usually Raspberry-Rose Sorbet. But now they have a new addition! Fresh raspberry creme Chantilly. Of course, I had to ice the cake. It was stupendous. You must try it the next time you’re in Paris. But my secret for when I’m back home? I buy a carton of Haagen-Dazs raspberry sorbet, and let is soften just a bit on the counter. Then, I stir in some rosewater or rose extract, and stick it back in the freezer. Ile St. Louis on the island of Manhattan!
RECIPE: Pistoued Lamb Brochettes With Bay Leaves And Seared Olives
I learn more about life in cooking school in Paris than I do about cooking. But then, life is a lot like cooking, isn’t it? You toss a bunch of different things together, close your eyes, and hope it all comes out alright. This week’s French in a Flash is for Serious Eats is all about the little lessons on love and on life that I have garnered from the French chefs here in Paris, which they disguise as advice on how to poach an egg, or how to roast a chicken.
The recipe is Pistoued Lamb Brochettes with Bay Leaves and Seared Olives. They are fit for the summer grill; tender lamb is robed in a fresh summer pistou of mint and basil, skewered onto kebabs, and left to cook in the smoke of charring fresh bay leaves. It’s unexpected, but just right. As always, click here for the full story and recipe. Bon app!
Pistoued Lamb Brochettes With Bay Leaves And Seared Olives
serves 4 to 6
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 3/4 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 2-pound leg of lamb, deboned, trimmed, and cut into 1-1 1/2-inch cubes
- 32 fresh bay leaves
- A handful of large, pit-in green olives
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 6-8 soaked bamboo skewers
- Create the herb pistou by whirling the garlic clove through the food processor. Pulse in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper, then stream in the olive oil. Toss the pistou with the lamb in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, soak 8 bamboo skewers in water to prevent them from burning.
- Make the skewers by starting with one cube of lamb. Then stack 2 fresh bay leaves, another cube of lamb, 2 more bay leaves, and then a third and last cube of lamb. Prepare all the brochettes this way.
- Heat a large grill or sauté pan over medium-high to high heat. Working in batches, sear the brochettes for 5-6 minutes on each side. Throw a few olives in with each batch, and flip them around every so often as they char.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with the olives and freshly torn mint leaves and lime wedges.
Right now, I feel like Sabrina–I have moved to Paris to go to cooking school. I have even taken to wearing little black pants like Audrey Hepburn.
I won’t be here for long, but after spending my first week in Paris in bed with a cold, I now, finally, feel like the luckiest girl in the world. As I write this, from my little apartment (with no kitchen), huge glass book-cover windows thrown open, the Sunday morning church chimes are echoing in. This is Paris. While I’m here, as when I was in Provence, I would love to share with you some of my eating adventures. Pictures may be harder to come by, but I’ll try where I can.
Last night we went to a restaurant called La Cave de l’Os a Moelle, in the fifteenth. It sits down an unassuming street, just across from the aptly named l’Os a Moelle restaurant (which means bone marrow). This is its cave, or wine cellar.
We were seated at what seemed like an up-turned giant rope spool, with stools all around, in this fabulously urban-meats-rustic kind of auberge. On the table were greeting grated salads of beets, of carrots, of celeriac. Then there was green peppercorn and liver pate, blood sausage pate, rillettes. Huge rustic breads sawed into chunks. Crudites, including the requisite long red and white radishes, with homemade mayonnaise. All of this, as with everything in the restaurant, is a volonte–or, as we know it in the States, all you can eat.
One of my fellow cooking students knows her wines, and we go for a Cotes de Valcluse, followed by my absolute favorite Cahors Malbec, which is cheap even in New York, so you can imagine what it costs in Paris, and why Fitzgerald and Hemingway usually moaned over a bottle of it to each other at La Closerie de Lilas in the Twenties. Chin chin, tout le monde!
At this point, we are absolutely brimming. Ironically, being in cooking school leaves you a bit malnourished, as I haven’t had time to do anything other than run around a kitchen in six days. Eating has been my last priority. My stomach is shaking its head at me, wagging a finger, and moaning–you’ve put me through the wash, and I’ve shrunk. There’s nothing you can do; don’t force it.
At the back of the restaurant, there is an honest-to-goodness black iron urn, with a waving white sea of the smoothest cream of cauliflower soup which I lap up with my spoon the way my dog laps up his water. Then, back to the back stove. Every night, the restaurant decides on its main dish; you won’t know what it is until you get there. Last night, it was falling-apart pork in a wine sauce and fresh egg noodles. So, we tuck into that. The pork is sliced thin, but still stewy and collapsing–the sauce a mixture between reduced wine and demi-glace. The noodles have bits of oven roasted tomatoes and strands of spring onions coursing through them. Hot from the stove, they seemed to emerged jumbled from the little straw cottage on my mismatched navy and white toile plate.
Three courses and three bottles of wine in, I began to collapse like my pork. But now the cheese arrives: crottins of chevre and ash-covered tommes. The first sinks and pools when you cut it; the second crumbles and powders. I have to. If I have a stomach rupture later in the evening, I’ll just deal like it then. Scott turns to me and says, “You could get hit by one of those Parisian taxis on your way out. Better not skip the cheese!” He is very insightful.
Lastly, I wobble, laden by so much excess that I can barely lift myself off my stool, to the dessert bar. I’ve actually already snuck in an extra course of chocolate pot de creme (they also had vanilla) before the cheese, and the affable waiter laughs at me, “You’re cheating again!”
And I mutter back, “You’re trying to kill me!”
“Maybe so, maybe so,” he grins mischievously.
I take ile flottante–frothed, soft, and airy egg whites in a pool of custard. I leave the pain d’epices and the orange quatre quarts and take only a slice of chocolate loaf. I crumble it between my lips. The next thing I knew, I was in a taxi, and then in my bed.
The lesson? French cuisine is not always dainty, and not always fine. But last night, I ate like a king–albeit one of those Henries of five hundred years ago who gave into gout and alcoholism. But for one night, it was nice to feel more like Louis XIV than Audrey Hepburn. But luckily, when the bill came, I only handed over 30 Euros for the whole four hours we were there. I needn’t be either a king, nor a movie star. I guess in the end, with my new friends and my old French comfort food, I was just being myself.
La Cave de l’Os a Moelle
181 Rue de Lourmel
+33 01 45 57 28 28
RECIPE: Spaghetti With Pistachio Pistou, Fava Beans, And Mint
I was vegetarian for almost my entire childhood, and this week’s French in a Flash for Serious Eats explains how it came to pass that I ate almost nothing but vegetables and pasta for a decade. But it was not without its travails, and in my version of the ugly duckling, Spaghetti with Pistachio Pistou, Fava Beans, and Mint was just the thing to help me find my wings. As always, the complete story and recipe are available here. Bon app!
Spaghetti With Pistachio Pistou, Fava Beans, And Mint
- 1 pound dry spaghetti
- 1 clove of garlic
- The leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of mint, plus extra for garnish
- 1 1/4 cups shelled toasted unsalted pistachios
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan, plus extra to top the pasta
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup shelled blanched fava beans
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente in a large pot of well salted, vigorously boiling water.
- Meanwhile, make the pistou by smashing together the garlic, mint, salt, and pepper in a food processor.
- Add in the Parmesan and butter, and pulse until combined.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
- Toss the pasta with the pistou and the fava beans, moistening as necessary with the reserved cooking water. Top with sliced mint leaves, extra chopped pistachios, and Parmesan.
RECIPE: Chilled Asparagus with Fines Herbes Aïoli
Mr. English says I make vegetables sexy; that I turn them from limp, lifeless little beings to foods that are exciting, and excited. So, it’s no surprise that in this week’s French in a Flash on Serious Eats, I am offering a menage a trois of asparagus.
When I was fifteen, I spent the summer in France, with a family that thought my vegetarianism was as foreign as my language and my politics. But when I learned what the French could do with vegetables, and when the French saw how this little American girl could appreciate them, we struck an Entente Cordiale. This salad began with my introduction to the succulent and sweet white asparagus, which I marry with pencil and green or purple stalks, coupled with an aioli sauce flavored with fines herbes (tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil).
Aioli was a sauce of which I’d always heard, but of which I never knew the origins. When I was in Provence (see the Papiers Provence here to follow my trip), I learned finally that the fresh garlic mayonnaise is actually a traditional Provencal sauce, and is often served in a dish also known as aioli, in which fish, vegetables, potatoes, and egg are served boiled and accompanied by the pungent, creamy dip.
This dish is far more simple, but I think more lovely and more delicate. Served chilled with a wedge of lime, this is the perfect spring-summer salad.
Chilled Asparagus with Fines Herbes Aïoli
serves 4 to 6
- A total of 2 pounds of asparagus, including white, purple, thick, and pencil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chives
- 2 tablespoons tarragon
- 2 tablespoons chervil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
- Lime wedges
A Note about Aïoli
Aïoli is a Provençal sauce made from garlic, egg yolks, olive oil, and lemon. It is, in its most iconic state, served in the dish also known as aïoli, which is boiled vegetables, fish, and egg, all served with the sauce. It is, and remains, all about t
- Peel the stalks of any thick asparagus, and all the white asparagus.
- Bring a pot of water to boil, and salt it well. Blanch each type of asparagus separately. Pencil takes 30 seconds, thicker takes about 60 seconds, white 60-90 seconds. Immediately shock each bundle in ice water until completely cold.
- Make the aïoli by whirling together the garlic and the herbs, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Then add the mayonnaise, and blend until it is a smooth sauce flecked with tiny bits of green.
- Serve the chilled asparagus with the aïoli sauce, and squeeze wedges of lime over the entire dish. Finish with flaked sea salt or fleur de sel.