American Riffs on Classic French Dishes

By Kristin Donnelly Posted September 16, 2011

The October issue celebrates France. Here, delicious new takes on French classics.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup

© French (Canadian) Onion Soup
French (Canadian) Onion Soup

For years, few Americans would admit to loving French food. It seemed so decadent, so fussy, so old-fashioned. But now American bakers are tackling macarons, and chefs and writers are defending the beauty of cooking like the French.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup (left): Chef Hugue Dufour, an alum of Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon, combined French-Canadian style with American comfort food at M. Wells (moving soon to a new location in Long Island City, New York). This soup epitomizes his style.

Crab-and-Celery-Root Remoulade: At Portland, Oregon's Little Bird, Gabriel Rucker (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) tweaks French dishes like céleri remoulade, the mayo-dressed celery-root salad.

Zucchini-Tomato Verrines: Most Paris bistros serve at least one verrine: a multi-textured salad or dessert layered in a glass. This one comes from French-born food stylist Béatrice Peltre of the blog La Tartine Gourmande, whose book of the same name comes out in February.

Soubise: At Frasca in Boulder, Colorado, Brian Lockwood finishes leek risotto with this creamy onion sauce, usually served with meat or fish.

Hollandaise: Danny Grant of RIA in Chicago tops langoustines with a velvety, coriander-scented hollandaise.

Escargot: Pierre Calmels of Philadelphia's Bibou is such a fan of snails, he's been known to dedicate five courses in a menu to them. His signature dish: snails with mushrooms.

Gribiche: At Gather in Berkeley, Sean Baker turns this tartar-like sauce (thickened with hard-boiled eggs) into a salad with duck-egg wedges, herbs, shallots, garlic and mustard.

Related: A Surprising Guide to French Cuisine
The Radical French-Canadian Food of Joe Beef
April Bloomfield's First Trip to France

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