Category Archives: French

Asparagus with Grapefuit Sauce

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that I get SO excited to see at my local store/market.  It means spring/summer is here and it reminds me of good times at family get-togethers and not to mention, grilling season.

With that said, I find that after a few weeks of grilled asparagus with lemon butter sauce, I grow a little tired of the simple preparation.  Since asparagus is in high season right now in France, I was dying for a new recipe.  We were out for dinner in La Rochelle and my friend ordered an asparagus salad with orange strawberry sauce.  Needless to say, I was really intrigued – a sweet sauce, with asparagus?  I am usually not a fan of sweet and savoury together (let alone sweet itself most days), but he gave me one bite of his dish and I was hooked (not to mention that every other part of that meal was amazing – I am dying to re-create the fish dish I had!). The earthy flavours of the asparagus were the base for a bright, acidic sauce that just took it to another level.  I knew that this had to be on my table soon.

When we got home from our weekend, I went to work trying to find a recipe for an orange sauce.  I came across many, but I literally jumped for glee when I saw that my Laura Calder cookbook had a recipe for asparagus with orange sauce.  She even quoted that this was “one of those dishes that people eat at my house, ask for the recipe, go home and immediately add it to their repertoire, which is the greatest compliment any cook can hope for – that’s why it baffles me that anyone would ever be stingy about sharing recipes”.  Thank you LC for those absolutely perfect words – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

So now, I added my twist by using grapefruit instead of orange and let me tell you, it was even BETTER than the sauce we had in La Rochelle.  It is the quintessential summer dish and as in the words of LC, I am sure you will have people asking for the recipe after two bites (and yes, I am happy to share it with you!)

If you are looking to switch-up your go-to asparagus recipe, or make your asparagus a little more elegant, this is a recipe for you.  This would also make a beautiful started dish to a fancy summer dinner party.

Bon Appetit!

Asparagus with Grapefruit Sauce

Yield:  2 main servings (4 side-servings)
Prep Time:  10 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pink shallot
  • 3 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 large grapefruit (well ripened)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil
  • S&P
  • 20 spears of green asparagus, trimmed
  • parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:

Mince the shallot very finely and place in a small dish. Pour the vinegar over the shallot and stir to coat.  Set-aside for 5 minutes, or while you prepare the other ingredients.

Wash the grapefruit.  Using a fine grater, zest about 2/3 of the grapefruit.  Set aside.

Juice the grapefruit (cut in half and squeeze!).  Place the juices in a small saucepan and heat over medium.  Boil the juices down until about 3 TBSP remain.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl.

Add the grapefruit zest to the warm juices and slowly whisk in the mustard.  Drain the shallots, discarding the vinegar, and add shallots to the grapefruit mixture.  Slowly, 1 TBSP at a time, whisk in the oil.  Season with S&P, taste and adjust seasonings (you may need a pinch of sugar to balance it out – just depends on the sweetness level of your grapefruit).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and then add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp (around 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus).

Drain asparagus and immediately rinse with cold water to set the color and stop the cooking.  Pat the asparagus dry with paper towel and place on a platter.

Spoon the dressing over the warm asparagus and grate fresh parmesan on-top!

Enjoy.

Recipe Adapted From Laura Calder – French Food at Home

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, French, Healthy, Mains, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Spring Vegetable Tumble

And tumble I did for this dish. Okay, sorry – that was really nerdy!  But this dish warranted a little hoopla.

In order to use a variety of vegetables from the local market (with the supply and variety that is available at the market – I can’t keep buying just tomatoes and cucumbers!), I saw this recipe in my French Taste cookbook, I knew I had to make it – not to mention that it looked so pretty.

CH is not a fan of radishes normally (I love them, especially in potato salad), so I was curious to see how he’d react with not only radishes, but turnips too, in one dish.  I am happy to report that not a peep came out of his mouth as we enjoyed this dish with a glass of Chinon Blanc and there was not a pea left on his plate at the end of dinner.  I’d say that was a resounding success.

The fresh vegetable and bright herbs, combined with the soft butter flavour created a perfect spring dish that paired amazingly well with the roast chicken we had with it.  I just love the bright colors of the dish and the variety of vegetables it offers all in on one plate.  It is truly a dish that celebrates that spring/summer has finally arrived.

Although this dish took a bit of time to prepare (blanching all the vegetables), it was well worth it. I think it would be a welcome addition to any bbq buffet or as a side-dish to Sunday dinner – it is really that beautiful yet so simple.

Feel free to use whatever vegetables appeal to you or whatever looks the freshest at your farmer’s market or local store.  This dish is all about enjoying what’s in season, so I am sure you will enjoy the fresh taste of spring regardless of what vegetables you use!

Enjoy.

Spring Vegetable Tumble

Yield:  4 side servings (two main course servings)
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 baby garden carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 10 stalks of asparagus, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup of green beans, trimmed
  • 6 radishes, halved
  • 5 baby turnips, quartered
  • 1 cup frozen or shelled peas
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas (I couldn’t find them at my market, so I didn’t have them in mine, but I know they would be a delicious addition)
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of chives, parsley and tarragon
  • S&P to taste

Directions:

Prepare a large bowl (or your sink) full of ice-cold water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and blanche all of the vegetables separately.

Exact time it will take to get each vegetable just shy of tender will depend on the thickness and quantity of each, but it will likely be around 2 – 3 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the water using tongs or handheld strainer and immediately dunk into the cold water (this sets the color and stops the cooking process).   I left all of my vegetables soaking in the cold water until I was done blanching all of the others.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and the melt the butter until just about brown.  Add all of the vegetables to the pan and toss to coat.  Allow the vegetables to warm through (2-3 minutes).

Season vegetable mixture with S&P, toss with the fresh herbs and serve.

Enjoy!

Receipe Adapated from Laura Calder’s French Taste

Leave a comment

Filed under French, Healthy, Mains, Salads, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian and Vegan

A Day in Paris, Through a Food Blogger’s Stomach

CH and I took a day-trip to Paris this weekend and it was amazing.  We seriously had one of the best days in a long time.  I’ll let the picture tell the story of our day….there is a general theme 🙂

Step 1:  Locate the “best baguette” in Paris (Jacques Bazin according to Le Figaro)…

Step 2:  Locate the “best croissant” in Paris (Au Levain du Maraisaccording to David Lebovitz)…

Step 3:  Enjoy a espresso at a cafe in Bastille Square, people watching of course (the favourite pasttime of the French)

Step 4:  Leisurely walk down Champs-Élysées

Step 5:  Locate the best falafel place in Paris (Maoz – according again to Mr. David Lebovitz)

(no picture, too busy eating. It was seriously delicious and SO reasonably priced – I am craving one as I type this!)

Step 6:  Locate and purchase 8 gorgeous, breathtaking Ladurée Macarons (world famous and again a favourite of David Lebovitz).  Two might not have made it to our little patch of grass under the Eiffel Tower…could not resist!

For the record, we had: Chocolate, Granny Smith Apple (my favourite), Mint & Strawberry (new spring flavour), Caramel with Salted Butter (x2), Lemon, Vanilla, Orange Passion.

Step 7:  Purchase a bottle of 5€ wine and walk to the Tour Eiffel (stopping for the required tourist photo)

Step 8:  Find shade and enjoy a bottle of wine and macarons with CH, under the Tour Eiffel.

Step 9:  Nap under the Tour Eiffel, because of sugar high + wine (while CH played in a tree – yes he is about to become a lawyer!)

Step 10:  Dinner at amazing French bistro – Les Cocottes – where they serve all of their dishes in mini Staub cast-iron pots (another recommendation of David Lebovitz)

(no picture – too busy eating!)

Step 11: Home, to dream of the amazing life in France we are living!

If I told you that until we looked at our list of “to-do’s” for the day in Paris, we didn’t plan for all of them to be food related/based.  Hey, what can I say, I love my life!

3 Comments

Filed under French