Look out, Jean-Robert
A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for biscotti that I successfully made for a supper club that a friend of mine recently started. We meet again a couple of weeks ago, each charged with making something French this time (I’m happy to report that no one showed up wearing a beret). I think it was our best meal yet. I made a French leek pie as a side dish and it was cheesy and delicious. (It was also one of about six recipes that came up on allrecipes.com when I checked “dinner,” “French,” “vegetarian” and ready in less than an hour. Hey, I’m a busy girl.) Appetizers included baked brie with apricot preserves and a couple of salads, including a pear salad with creamy gorgonzola dressing, which paired (ha) fantastically with a fruity Riesling. The main dish was pasta shells with tilapia (rather than the halibut the recipe calls for) with Cajun seasoning and oven-roasted ratatouille. Sorry I didn’t take pictures—that seems to be what every other self-respecting food blogger is doing these days.
Anyway, here are the recipes in case you’re in the mood for (sort of) French food yourself. I also highly recommend this whole different-country-themed supper club concept, if you’re feeling even more adventurous. I think we decided on Indian food next – I’ll be sure to report back.
Pear salad with creamy gorgonzola dressing
1 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
1/3 cup plain yogurt (fat-free, if you like)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Bagged salad mix (with bitter lettuce like radicchio or chicory)
Three pears, sliced
Add dressing to salad and toss well. Top with toasted walnuts and chopped green onions (optional) and serve.
French leek pie
1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust
2 teaspoons butter
3 leeks, chopped
1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup light cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (I bought an 8-ounce block and it was more than enough)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and cheese, and warm through. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until custard is set and golden on top. Allow to sit 10 minutes before cutting pie into wedges.
Pasta shells with halibut and oven-roasted ratatouille
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1-pound eggplant, unpeeled, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, flattened
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (dried herb mixture available at specialty foods stores and some supermarkets)
1 12-ounce halibut fillet
2 cups medium-size pasta shells
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread next 5 ingredients on sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of sheet. Place fish in center of sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just opaque in center, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Add roasted vegetables and enough reserved pasta cooking water to pasta to moisten; toss. Cut fish into 1/2-inch pieces; add to pasta and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper.