I’ve got an exciting new feature coming to French Fridays every second week! From today until, well, I’m finished, I’ll be posting about cooking through David Lebovitz’ My Paris Kitchen along with a group of friends who “met” when we cooked our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table from 2010 – 2015. I’ve written about David’s My Paris Kitchen before and am a huge fan. It’s not just a cookbook, it’s a storybook as well! And it’s food I love to eat. A lot of the recipes in the “First Courses” remind me of the time I spent living in Paris and how I used to eat: céleri rémoulade, tabbouleh, frisée salad with bacon, egg and garlic toasts, oeufs mayonnaise, carottes rapées – these made regular appearances on my table. Might not sound like much but when you combine dishes like that with a few choice fromages, you’ve basically got yourself a meal (if you are a poor student/ teacher like I was!). My friends all “got it” re the cheese, as does David – he says he simply points at the closest cheese store when people ask him why he lives in France (there’s a lovely chapter all about the “cheese course” in the book).
The book includes an interesting section on ingredients David uses a lot as well as his “can’t do without” equipment and at the back of the book there’s an excellent list of places to source some of the ingredients/ equipment that might be hard to find in some places in the world. I also loved the “Pantry” section where David lists “ingrédients de base” – things he always keeps on hand in his fridge, pantry or freezer. I’m nosy like that 😉
If you’re looking for a “French food” cookbook this might not be the book for you. As David says, the food he cooks is influenced by where he has lived and where he lives now, as, to a certain extent we can all relate to. He’s guided in his cooking by the influence of other cultures that is felt throughout Paris these days, reflected in its many multicultural neighbourhoods and food stores. So although the food he cooks isn’t what you’d think of as typically French it is how many French people eat these days. If you are the type of person who keeps cookbooks alongside fiction on your nightstand, then this is absolutely the book for you. It’s as much about the stories that go with the recipes as the recipes themselves.
Out first recipe from the book is Winter Salad – basically a bringing together of ingredients I always have on hand in the cooler months: endives, Greek yoghurt, Roquefort (or another blue cheese), chives, lemon juice and some chopped pecans. It’s a lovely salad that feels substantial enough for a cooler day for those of you worried about eating salad in the winter.
I did find that the Greek yoghurt the recipe called for was too thick to make a “dressing”. With the cheese mixed in it felt a little like eating “cheese yoghurt” which, in itself is not altogether that bad but if you are after a dressing to toss your veggies in, you might like to go with a (full fat) plain regular yoghurt. I’ll do that next time because the flavour was unbelievably good!
I made a few modifications to this recipe (sorry, David!) – I mandolined the endive before I realised how thick the dressing would be (the endive needs to be a bit chunkier to handle the dressing). (Sidenote: I love my mandoline – I have the Swissmar V-Power Mandoline that you can find on Amazon here). David suggests slicing some apple very finely which I did and I also added some radishes I had in the fridge because, well they are so very pretty! It was a lovely combination of sweet and bitter and sharp which played off the dressing really nicely. I halved the recipe and ate most of a portion “for two” (not all the dressing though, it made a lot).
I’ll be making this again.
Get the recipe for David’s Winter Salad on p98 of My Paris Kitchen.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “My Paris Kitchen” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.