a very French dinner

it was French night at supper club

It was French night at Supper Club.

salmon rillettes

herbed goat cheese tart

We started off with two different French aperitifs: Lillet Blanc and Pastis. There were salmon rillettes made by Linda, topped with pink peppercorns and served with cornichons and caperberries. Georgiann’s herbed goat cheese tart was a great success, made with Gothberg Farms chevre. If there hadn’t been so much good food to come I could have happily made a meal out of just these two dishes.

first course

Our first sit-down course was made by Jenise: a delicate vegetable terrine and a small pastry that turned out to contain a mushroom stuffed with foie gras. Good lord.

vegetable terrine

While the foie gras pastry was rich, salty and knock-your-socks-off good, the terrine was beautifully subtle as well as gorgeous to look at. One layer had pureed watercress, and another had mushroom duxelles to connect it to the pastries. Carrots and snap peas adorned the center. It was served on a light salad with a shallot dressing, I think.

crevettes a la provencale

The next course, made by Roger while we ate our terrine, was crevettes a la provencale: prawns on a bed of tomatoes and olives. A nice change of flavor from the first course, bold and rustic, it went well with the French red country wines that had been opened and led us into the main course.

untrussing the chickens

the main course

This was chicken ballotine, roasted beets, and petatou. Linda and Mike made the ballotine, boning out two whole chickens and stuffing them with bacon, spinach, croutons and gruyere, then tying and roasting them. A real showpiece of a dish, it was fun to look at as well as eat. Georgiann did the beets, which were tossed with champagne-raspberry vinegar and orange juice. And Jon made the petatou, which was a major production but well worth it.

petatoupetatou

We found the petatou recipe in Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook (a hilarious read as well as a great reference for classic bistro cooking) . Essentially a potato and olive salad topped with goat cheese and broiled, it made a fabulous side dish with the chicken. It was enriched with reduced cream and egg yolk, which helped bind the potatoes together for molding, but I can see that it would be wonderful simply made up to the point of adding the cream and served as a cold salad instead of the broiled timbales. This was one of the most delicious things we’ve ever done with potatoes – I’ve copied out the recipe below if you’d like to try it yourself.

carrots

Linda also made some carrots with olives, from a Jacques Pepin recipe. Like everything else on the table, it was beautiful.

dessert wine

Finally, everyone found room for a slice of my tarte tatin, which we washed down with pineau de charentes and coffee. Apparently I ate my slice without even considering taking a picture, but I did do a post on it a while back. This version was made with an extra-short buttery pie crust and Jonagold apples. There were no leftovers.

molding the petatou

Petatou

From the Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain. The recipe claims it makes four servings, but we doubled it and (using a 2″ biscuit cutter) got close to 15 servings. Depends on what you’re using for a mold and how tall you make them, I suppose. Leftovers are delightful.

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 pound nicoise olives, drained, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese (chevre)

Cut the potatoes in half, place in a pot and cover with water. Add 2 Tbsp of salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender (about 20 min), drain and cool. Remove the skins and dice the potatoes, putting them into a large bowl. Add the olives, thyme, olive oil, and the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss gently.

Put the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil – watch out, it boils over fast! Reduce it by half, stirring to prevent scorching. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk. When the cream is ready, beat it into the egg, whisking constantly. Add all but 4 Tbsp of this mixture to the potatoes.

Preheat the broiler. Using a biscuit cutter or other ring mold, form the potato mixture into cylinders and arrange them on a baking sheet. Cut the goat cheese into circles and lay a piece on each potato tower. Drizzle the remaining cream mixture over the top, and broil until golden brown. Serve with parsley oil (below).

Parsley oil (for garnish)

  • 2 Tbsp parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Chop the parsley quite fine, and put it in a bowl or jar with the olive oil. Stir or shake well. Spoon around or over the finished petatous before serving.

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