19 Fast French Recipes for Elegant Weeknight Meals
Fromage fort is the ultimate way of using leftover cheese. Jacques Pépin's father used to combine pieces of Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese and goat cheese together with his mother's leek broth, some white wine and crushed garlic. These ingredients marinated in a cold cellar for a week to a week-and-a-half (he liked it really strong). Now Pépin's wife, Gloria, makes a milder version in a food processor that takes only seconds. It is delicious with crackers or melted onto toasts. It also freezes well.
Gail Simmons was so disappointed during the Top Chef Season 5 finale when she learned that Carla Hall's soufflé never made it to the plate: It had curdled in the oven. To make sure her soufflés rise, Gail folds lots of fluffy whipped egg whites into a Roquefort- and-Parmigiano-Reggiano base.
Tuna Niçoise Burgers
This tuna burger offers the flavors of a Niçoise salad, on a bun.
Melissa Clark's favorite part of the chicken is the drumstick, because it's juicy and easy to brown. She likes using only drumsticks in this mustardy stew—thickened with tangy crème fraîche—so that all the meat cooks at the same rate.
Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, of the food science blog ideasinfood.com, are beloved by chefs like Richard Blais for culinary innovations. Here, they share their method for creating a fluffy omelet from their new book, Ideas in Food.
Tuna with Provençal Vegetables
After Bruce Sherman poaches tuna in an exquisite homemade tomato oil, he serves it alongside an array of vegetables and homemade herbed pasta. In the easy way, sear the tuna in a garlicky oil, then serve it with sautéed vegetables, omitting the pasta.
Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee
Daniel Boulud makes this oozy appetizer with Vacherin Mont-d'Or, a creamy cheese sold at top cheese shops. Camembert is as rich and runny as Vacherin Mont-d'Or, but much easier to find.
Jacques Pépin adds dried figs to his tapenade, a spread that is often called the "butter of Provence."
Marseille-Style Shrimp Stew
Large shrimp make this a knife-and-fork stew. Melissa Clark spreads a garlicky French rouille on toasts for dipping in the stew.
In his reinterpretation of the classic Provençal seafood stew bouillabaisse, Aaron Whitcomb piles seared fish fillets, tangy tomato and shaved fennel on bread slathered with saffron mayonnaise.
Creamy Anchoïade with Crudités
Anchoïade, a Provençal puree of anchovies, garlic and olive oil, is often slathered on grilled bread or served as a dip. Use any combination of crudités—from thin shavings of spicy black radish to florets of broccoli romanesco, a relative of broccoli and cauliflower.
Brown Rice Pilaf with Green Olives and Lemon
Alain Coumont makes this creamy (yet cream-free) rice dish with lemony Lucques olives and nutty organic Camargue red rice, but almost any green olive or short-grain brown rice would be terrific. Vegans should leave out the tangy goat cheese shavings.
Seared Cod with Spicy Mussel Aioli
This simple, sophisticated dish relies on store-bought mayonnaise to enrich the sublime garlicky mussel sauce.
Double-Baked Cheese Soufflé with Parmesan Cream
Hearty and filling, this soufflé proves that pastries can be savory as well.
Crêpes with Strawberries and Muscat-Yogurt Sauce
Nichole Birdsall tops these crêpes with strawberries, a superfruit high in vitamin C and potent antioxidants, and a creamy, orangey sauce sweetened with a splash of Bonterra Muscat dessert wine instead of sugar.
Lemony Chicken Fricassee with Shallots and Morels
Typically, a fricassee is made with chicken or another kind of white meat stewed in a white sauce with vegetables. For her version, Katy Sparks sizzles chicken in butter until it's crisp, then cooks it with shallots and morels, finishing with lemon for a hit of tartness.
Joseph Humphrey simmers this soup with the corn cobs to deepen the flavor.
Steamed Mussels with Tomato-and-Garlic Broth
Mussels have three things going for them: They're cheap, quick to cook, and delicious. Using clean farmed mussels negates their one big drawback—the tedious chore of scrubbing and debearding.
A French classic that never seems to go out of style, this dish combines mushrooms and chicken in a tomato and white-wine sauce.