This past weekend I hosted a JC100 dinner at my apartment for 2 of my friends (including one that is visiting Los Angeles for the summer from…yep, you guessed it PARIS!!!). I was debating whether I wanted a Parisianne dining on my French cooking, but I decided I was up to the challenge!
I served 3 recipes I received from the JC100 celebration. (If you aren’t familiar with JC100, visit THIS post from last week to let you know what this celebration is about!)
First, I served a very easy appetizer…a plate of raw veggies, brie, dried apricots, and dried figs. I wanted my guests to have a little bite to eat while I finished the cooking, but didn’t want to fill them up! During my visit to Paris, I ate the BEST figs and fell in love with them, so I decided to serve them on my appetizer plate.
For the main course, JC100 provided me with many recipes to chose from including Coq au vin, Vichyssoise, a classic Roast chicken, Bouillabaisse, and Ratatouille, but I decided to cook Fillets of Sole Meuniere. This dish was very easy to make and turned out delicious! For a side, I served Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce. I thought the Hollandaise Sauce would be difficult to make, but it only has a few ingredients, and turned out to be easier to make than I thought. Follow the recipes below to replicate my tasty JC100 main course!
Fillets of Sole Meuniere (serves 3):
3 skinless and boneless sole or other thin fish fillets
Salt and pepper (recipe calls for white pepper, but I used black pepper)
1/4 cup or so [didn’t know this was a measurement] flour, in plate
1 1/2 TBSP minced fresh parsley
2 to 3 TBSP Unsalted Butter
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
Dust fillets on each side with salt and pepper.
The moment before sauteing, drop each into flour to coat both sides, and shake off excess.
Set the frying pan(s) over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay in as many fillets as will fit easily. (make sure there is a little space between each).
Saute the fillets a minute or two on one side, carefully flip, and saute on other side for a minute or two.
The fish is done when just springy (didn’t know this was a cooking term either!) rather than squashy (or this!) to the touch of your finger. Immediately remove from the pan to warm plates of a platter. (Or, if you are sauteing in 2 batches, keep the first warm for the few minutes necessary in a 200 degree oven).
Sprinkle each fillet with parsley and decorate with lemon wedges.
(Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child)
Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce:
2 Bunches Asparagus (if you can find white asparagus, use this! It is a favorite in France!)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 to 6 cup medium-weight, enameled, or stainless steel saucepan
3 Egg Yolks
1 TBSP Cold Water
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
Big Pink of Salt
2 TBSP Cold Butter, split in half
1 TBSP, Melted Butter
Pan of cold water (to cool the bottom of the saucepan if necessary)
Hold clean spears of asparagus by the tip and end. Snap the asparagus and throw away tough bottom.
Toss with olive oil and spices and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus.
While asparagus is cooking, beet egg yolks for about 1 minute in saucepan, or until they become thick and sticky.
Add the water, lemon juice, and salt, and beat for half a minute more.
Add the tablespoon of cold butter, but do not beat it. Then, place the saucepan over very low heat or barely simmering water and stir the egg yolks with a wire whip until they slowly thicken into a smooth cream. (will take 1 to 2 minutes). If they seem to be thickening too quickly, or even suggest a lumpy quality, immediately plunge the bottom of the pan in cold water, beating the yolks to cool them.Then continue beating over heat. The egg yolks have thickened enough when you can begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes, and the mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whisk.
Immediately remove from heat and beat in the cold butter, which will cool the egg yolks and stop their cooking.
Then, beating the egg yolk with a wire whisk, pour on the melted butter by droplets or quarter-teaspoonfuls until the sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then, pour the butter a little more rapidly. Omit the milk residue at the bottom of the butter pan. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Transfer to bowl.
When asparagus is finished cooking, place on plate to serve.
(Excerpted from Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child)
(or use THIS Food Network recipe from Emeril Lagasse)
How good does the picture of our dinner look?! Well, it tasted even better than it looks!!
With an amazing main course behind us, it was now time to move onto my favorite course…dessert!! I decided to serve an elegant and rich chocolate mousse!
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup instant sugar (very finely granulated)
1/4 cup orange liqueur
A pan of barely simmering water
A basin of cold water
6 ounces or squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
4 Tb strong coffee
A small saucepan
6 ounces or 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely diced, glazed orange peel (optional)
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp sugar
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur.
Then set mixing bowl over the not quite simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger.
Then beat over cold water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.
Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream.Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar, then beat in the optional orange peel.
Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.
Spoon mousse into serving dish, dessert cups, petits pots, or wine glasses. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
(Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child)
(if you think this recipe is tough, follow the one pictured below!)
During and after the meal, both of my guests raved about how good the food was. While I loved hearing this from both of my friends, I especially loved hearing it from my friend visiting from France! If you would like any of the recipes for the other main dishes I mentioned above, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!