Our Classic French Menu

by Alice White Walker
roasted asparagus, lamb and lemon tart, served on their own plates

In honour of World Food Day, we are sharing three delicious recipes to create a classic French menu. Beautiful, delicious and simpler than they look! Read on to get the entrée, plat, dessert in My French Country Home‘s favorite classic French menu.

Entrée : asperges rôties au four

Oven-roasted asparagus are a light and tasty dish to ease guests into the meal. And, for you, they are wonderfully easy to make! A sour cream and herb sauce is the perfect tang to the sweet and earthy flavor of this spring vegetable. This classic French dish can also be served as a side.

asperge roties au four, sauce aux herbes

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

500g (1lb) green asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, sliced

For the herby sauce

200g (1/3 cup) sour cream or Greek yogurt
A handful of fresh parsley, coriander, and basil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the ends. Place in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic. 

Roast for about 20 minutes, turning the asparagus halfway through using tongs or a flat spatula. 

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the fromage blanc with a big pinch of salt and lots of pepper. Add as much chopped herbs as you like and the vinegar. Stir together and serve with the roasted asparagus.

Tip: For more of a kick, you can also add piment d’espelette to the sauce. Serve at room temperature.

 

Plat : un carré d’agneau en croûte d’herbes

Looks accomplished enough to propel you to MasterChef status. Half oven, half pan lamb that is totally achievable. The main course of this classic French menu, but it also a great Sunday roast centerpiece all by itself.

herby lamb mfch magazine

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

Approximately 1 kilo (2 lbs) rack of lamb

For the herb crust 

1 bunch of tarragon
1 bunch of curly parsley
4 slices of dry/stale white bread
114g (½ cup) room temperature unsalted butter
Salt and pepper

 

Make the herb crust in advance. In a food processor, blitz the stale bread into a fine crumb. Roughly chop the herbs by hand and add them to the food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the butter pulsing briefly to form a homogenous paste. 

Roll the butter mixture between two sheets of baking paper, until you achieve a thickness of 2 mm or approximately 1/10th of an inch. Place in the freezer. Once cold, cut a precise rectangle, the exact size of the flesh part of the rack of lamb. (This will be placed on top later.) Keep in freezer. 

French the lamb bones, removing any extra bits, so they are exposed and of equal height. 

Preheat the oven to 210C/410 F. In an oven-proof pan, sear the lamb on each side to a golden crust. Cover the bones with aluminium foil, to ensure they will stay white during cooking. 

Roast the lamb for approximately 10 minutes, until the temperature of the lamb comes to 60C/140F. Remove the lamb from the oven, place the herb crust onto the flesh part of the lamb, and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. 

When cooked, let rest by removing from the oven and carefully covering with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Serve with roasted spring vegetables or our petit pois à la française.

 

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Accompagnement : gratin dauphinois

Potatoes, cream, butter, garlic. . . who can resist? Certainly not us. A side you can make in advance, and make plenty of it – there will certainly be calls for seconds.

gratin dauphinois recipe mfch magazine

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5 kilos (3 lbs) potatoes (gweenie or blue belle)
5 cloves garlic
500 ml (2.5 cups) whole milk
200g (¾ cup) crème fraîche, full fat
1 bay leaf
4 pinches ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

 

Finely slice 3 garlic cloves, and mince the other two. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin rounds. Cook the potatoes in the milk, with a dash of salt and pepper, boiling for 5 minutes. Strain.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/375°F. Rub a garlic clove that has been cut in half on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Line the bottom of the dish with the potato slices, then cover with the creme fraiche, nutmeg, and chopped garlic. Decorate the top with the sliced garlic and the bayleaf.

Cook for 45 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 160°C/350°F and cook for another 45 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. 

Tip: Gratin is always better the longer it cooks and makes for delicious leftovers.

 

Dessert : tarte au citron

The classic sweet and sour lemon tarte is amongst our favorite dessert. Its acidity has enough freshness to round out a meal and homemade pastry (click here for a fool-proof recipe) satisfies that sweet spot. Win win.

tarte au citron de nice mfch magazine

 

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 pre-made pie crust
3 lemons (organic if possible)
Zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
150 g granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a pie pan or tart dish with the pie crust. (If you have pie weights, it would be a good idea to use them here by putting a piece of parchment on top of the raw pie crust, then adding the pie weights on top.) Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown all over, removing the pie weights after 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a small saucepan, add the juice of the three lemons, zest, and the granulated sugar. Then add the four eggs, whisking everything together. Heat, whisking constantly, over low to medium flame until the mixture thickens.

Immediately pour the mixture into the parbaked pie crust, and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

Tip: For a variation of this recipe, replace the lemons with oranges.

 

We thought we’d finish on the timeless words of Julia Child: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We couldn’t agree more!

What does your classic French menu look like? Do you have any other favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments below!

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