Classic French Recipe: sauteed potatoes with persillade

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I have an unapologetic addiction to potatoes in all their forms, and one of my favourite dishes is simple sautéed potatoes, but I had never made them with a persillade before. I don’t know why, as it doesn’t get more ‘classic French recipe’ than potatoes and parsley.

Before you start worrying about how complicated this recipe is likely to be, let’s look at what ‘persillade’ actually means. It comes from the French word for parsley, ‘persil’, and in its most classic form it is a simple mixture of parsley and garlic. There are a few other ingredients you can add depending on what dish it means to complement. Its freshness and crunch lends itself well not just to potatoes, but also to fish, meat and vegetables.

French recipe for Sautéed Potatoes with Persillade

Ingredients

1 kg waxy potatoes, cut into 2 cm pieces

2 tbsp vegetable oil

300 g smoked bacon lardons (optional)

25 g butter

For the Persillade

Small pack of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tsp/1 sprig tarragon leaves, chopped

1 echallion/banana shallot (or 2 small round ones), finely chopped

2  garlic cloves, crushed

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes for 5 minutes so they are nearly cooked. Drain and leave in the colander for a minute to steam out.
  2. Mix all the persillade ingredients together in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the lardons and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until they are slightly caramelised. Add the potatoes, then the butter.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until they turn golden brown. Spoon out any excess fat and stir in the persillade. Adjust the seasoning for taste and eat!

We had roast chicken with our sautéed potatoes with persillade but you can serve them as a side dish to just about anything. Bon appétit!

Classic French Recipe: Tarte aux pommes {day thirty}

 

{day thirty} Classic French Recipe- Tarte aux Pommes

One should never under-estimate the power of a good picture. To conclude my 31 days series, I was all set to make my favourite dessert, a delicious puff pastry filled with frangipane (almond cream) and black cherries. Then I posted a picture of a French Apple Tart I made at the weekend on my personal Facebook page and got so many comments and likes I decided there and then that I would share the recipe here today. There is something very satisfying about this picture, don’t you agree?

French apple tart

The recipe comes from Michel Roux Sr‘s Pastry book, that I mentioned on Day 5.

Ingredients

  • 300 g shortcrust pastry or sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 6 dessert apples (about 850 g) like Cox’s
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 60g butter
  • 80g caster sugar

cut apple tart

Method

1. The pastry: Roll out the pastry to a round, 3 mm thick, and use to line a lightly buttered 24 cm diameter (3 m deep) loose-bottomed tart tin or flan ring. Pinch up the edges with your index finger and thumb at 1 cm intervals to make a fluted edge a little higher than the rim. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

2. Make the apple compote: Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Peel, core and halve the apples. Place cut-side down on a board and cut into 2 mm thick slices. Put a third of the apples (the outer smaller slices) into a saucepan. Keep the other two-thirds packed together (to stop them discolouring). Add 50 mls water, the vanilla pod and butter to the apples in the pan and cook gently until tender. Take off the heat, discard the vanilla pod and work the apples, using a whisk, to a compote consistency (it should be creamy). Leave to cool.

3. Make the glaze: in a small pan, dissolve the sugar in 40 ml water. Bring to the boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes to make a syrup. Leave to cool.

4. Put it together: Take the pastry base out of the fridge and prick the base lightly with a fork. Pour in the cold apple compote and spread gently with a spoon. Arrange a border of overlapping apple slices around the tart, then arrange another circle inside, with the slices facing the other way. Fill the centre with a little rosette of small slices, trimming to fit as necessary. Bake for about 35 minutes until the pastry and apples are evenly cooked to a light golden colour.

5. Leave the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the flan ring or tart tin. Brush the top with the glaze, place the tart on a wire rack and leave until just cooled. Transfer to a place and serve cut into slices (with vanilla ice cream).

French apple tart

Notes:

  • I didn’t have a vanilla pod, so I used a teaspoon of pure vanilla paste, which worked very well.
  • I had problems with the glaze, maybe not enough water, but whatever the reason it hardened as it cooled rather than staying syrupy. I had no choice but to reheat it to brush over the tart and of course, it turned rather gloopy. The tart tasted great, but was not as glossy as it could have been.

slice of apple tart

 

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Classic French recipe: Gratin Dauphinois {day sixteen}

{day sixteen} Classic French Recipe- Gratin Dauphinois

I love a good Gratin Dauphinois, I mean, what’s not to like about potatoes and cream with a hint of garlic and a beautiful melted cheese on top? It is one of my favourite comfort foods and works brilliantly as a side to most types of roast meat, especially beef. I usually serve it as a treat as part of a ‘favourites’ dinner so it always ends up being served with steak, a blue cheese sauce and a simple green salad with shallot vinaigrette (see last week’s recipe to make your own vinaigrette).

‘Gratin’ refers to the browned topping, usually made of either breadcrumbs or melted cheese. In this case, we are definitely NOT putting breadcrumbs on top of potatoes, because that would be wrong.

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Ingredients

  • 800g floury potatoes like Maris Piper
  • 200 mls milk
  • 200 mls crème fraîche (I like crème fraîche because it is the nearest to the original French taste, but single or double cream both work fine)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 150g grated cheese (ideally gruyère or emmental but I’ve had to make do with cheddar and it’s perfectly suitable if not quite the same – just make sure it is a cheese that melts well)
  • 100 g butter
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg

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Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Peel the potatoes, wash and dry them, and cut them into thin slices. Place the potatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them over the potatoes; add the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Mix well together.
  3. Butter an oven-proof dish generously and spread the potatoes and milk in it. If you are using crème fraîche, add it in between layers of potatoes; if using single or double cream, you can just pour it over the top.
  4. Scatter the grated cheese on top, add a few knobs of butter and put in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Serve hot.

Gratin Dauphinois Collage

Note 1: if you like the smell and taste of garlic but don’t actually want to eat any, here’s a neat trick. Don’t rub your dish with butter, instead, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub each half over the dish instead. It works just as well to stop the food sticking and infuses the dish with garlic without leaving the taste in your mouth.

Note 2: If you’re wondering why the knife on the ingredients’ photo is white, that is because it is a ceramic knife. I’ve only seen ceramic knives in France, where they are popular and readily available in cookery shops and supermarkets. The best thing about them is that they never become dull, as I discovered a couple of years ago when I gained another scar.

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