For dessert: These scallops are often served for Christmas. So what better dessert than a bûche, the traditional French Christmas dessert to go with it? And who said you can’t serve this dessert any time of the year? Here is the recipe.
For dessert: A tarte tatin, a French apple pie, to end the meal on a sweet and light note. Here is the recipe.
3. Moules Marinières
The association between mussels and french fries is a Belgian specialty, but it’s very widespread in France and we brought our own twist to the recipe. There are many ways to cook mussels, my favorite is the moules marinières, a recipe from the west of France where you cook the mussels in a white wine broth with shallots and parsley.
For dessert: A Paris-Brest, a cream puff filled with whipped cream. Find a recipehere and here.
6. Soupe à L’oignon
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The queen of all soups. This is how New York Times food critic Amanda Hesser described it: “It is one of the strangest and most delicious soup recipes I’ve encountered. … By the time it is done, the ‘soup’ is like a savory bread pudding and the top has a thick, golden crust that your guests will fight to the death over.”
You don’t need fancy preparations to get an awesome result, especially when it comes to fish. Sole meunière is thus a very straightforward and easily prepared recipe. The final dish is flavorful, crispy, buttery, and lemony, all at once.
A layer of mashed potatoes and a layer of juicy ground beef (or, as I like to call them, two layers of heaven). Hachis Parmentier is often described as a French version of shepherd’s pie. It is French comfort food at its best and it is fairly easy to prepare.
Boudin noir is a blood sausage. If you’re not repelled by the concept, you’re in for a treat. There are several varieties of boudin (in the French Caribbean they produce a delicious spicy blood sausage that’s worth the trip alone). The traditional French boudin noir is excellent on its own or served with baked apples.
Like Audrey Hepburn’s culinary school instructor in Sabrina puts it: “The soufflé it must be gay, gay, gay. Like two butterflies dancing the waltz in the summer breeze.” Doesn’t it make you want to channel your inner French chef?
Piperade is a specialty from the French Basque country. It is a little bit like ratatouille, except not really since you use mostly onions and peppers for the Basque specialty. Bake a few eggs in the dish and you’re in for a treat.
For dessert: A pastis landais, a sweet brioche from the same area as the garbure.Here is a recipe.
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A legendary French chef once said this duck and beans stew was the god of southwestern French food. He was wrong. Cassoulet is the god of ALL FOODS. Nothing — and I mean NOTHING — can match the comfort brought to you by a good cassoulet. It is the most heartwarming and delicious dish there is. Making a good cassoulet takes some time and effort, but it’s all worth it.
You may think the way we make foie gras is cruel. And maybe you’re right. But there is no better way to soothe the guilt than to taste pan-seared foie gras. Foie gras paté is delicious, but pan-seared foie gras is unique and amazing. The hardest part of this recipe is finding a fresh whole foie gras at a local store. Once you have it, the recipe is actually fairly easy and the result mind-blowing.
I don’t know who had the idea to cook a duck in its own fat, but that genius should be canonized. Even the strongest atheist will believe in God after tasting this specialty, especially if it’s served with duck fat-fried potatoes.
This dish is not for everyone and the preparation itself is quite gruesome. You have to bleed a lamprey — aka the ugliest animal EVER —and collect the blood that you then use in the sauce along with red wine. It was already served in some parts of France in the Middle Ages and became widespread in most European courts in the 17th century.
For dessert: Cannelés, a specialty from Bordeaux. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, with a subtle taste of rum and vanilla. Here is the recipe.
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21. Quenelles of Pike with Lobster Sauce
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The first time I tasted quenelles of pike I heard angels sing. This specialty from Lyon is rich — and if you’re watching your cholesterol you should try something else — but it is never heavy. The texture is light and fluffy and the pike flavor very subtle. But it is the lobster sauce that brings the whole thing to an enchanting dimension.
This fish soup was born in Marseille. It used to be a fishermen’s dish, so the fish involved in its preparation is pretty cheap. Tomatoes and saffron give it a beautiful color. The final, and crucial, touch is the “rouille,” a saffron mayonnaise that goes on top.
What to drink : My grandmother, who makes a killer fish soup, told me a rosé was in order. For the wine snobs who roll their eyes at the mention of rosé, a Provence white wine will also work very well.
For dessert : Navettes de Marseille, a sweet pastry flavored with orange blossom water. It is shaped like a boat, to stick with the fishing theme. Here is the recipe.
23. Gigot D’Agneau Pleureur
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A “crying lamb gigot.” The meat is cooked in the oven, slowly, on a grill, with the potatoes placed on a rack underneath it. The meat’s juices fall on the potatoes and cook them.
For dessert:Profiteroles, cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with hot chocolate sauce. Here is the recipe.
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This saffron-flavored stew is the most iconic dish from Marseille and it shares the warmth of the city. It involves four different types of fish and a variety of shellfish. It’s a classic that will be appreciated by all seafood lovers.
What to drink: A red wine or a rosé from the south of France. A merlot will work well too.
For dessert: French almond nougat, one of the best French candies. To be honest, I’m not sure making it at home is very realistic, but if you feel adventurous, you can try this recipe.
28. Roasted Chicken and Garlic
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Roasted chicken with potatoes is the traditional Sunday lunch in France, whether you buy it already roasted at the local farmers market or you make it at home. There are several recipes, but my favorite includes whole garlic cloves roasted with the chicken. When you eat the chicken you crush the roasted cloves on the meat. It’s unbelievably good.
Calf liver. It may not sound appetizing at first but if you prepare it well it will wow your taste buds. In Lyon, they make it with caramelized onions, but you can also use shallots. Another option is to sauté the liver with parsley and garlic.
For dessert: Some madeleines, Marcel Proust’s favorite delicacy (he is not alone).Here is a recipe.
32. Fondue Savoyarde
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Melted cheese with white wine and garlic served in a communal pot where everyone dips their bread. This typical dish from the French Alps is very convivial and a perfect way to feed a group of friends after a long winter day.
For dessert: To end the meal on a light touch, some homemade fromage blanc with some seasonal fruits. Here is a recipe.
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35. Coq au Vin
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This may be one of the most famous French dishes in the U.S., thanks to Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was originally made with a rooster, but chicken is now more commonly used. It is cooked in a red wine sauce with bacon, butter, and beef stock. And it is ridiculously delicious.
A thin-crust pizza with crème fraîche, onions, and bacon that comes from Alsace, the French region at the border with Germany. It won’t help you achieve your daily intake of vegetables but no vegetable tastes this good.
Another brilliant melted cheese specialty. It is originally from Switzerland but it’s a very common winter dish in France, where regions such as Savoie and Franche-Comté make a cheese very close to the Swiss raclette. It may be one of of the easiest meals to prepare — you just cover baked potatoes, ham and salami with the melted cheese. It’s obviously delicious.
Back in the days when laundry machines were not even a dream, women used to spend one day a week washing clothes. They didn’t have time to cook that day so they would make baeckeoffe ahead of time, cover the dish with a bread batter and leave it at the local bakery on their way to the lavoir. The baker would leave the dish in the oven to bake for the rest of the day. Even though the days of the lavoir are over, baeckeoffe is still around because it’s fucking amazing.
For dessert: A damson pie, another specialty from Alsace. I couldn’t find a recipe in English for the Alsatian version, but here is one from Luxembourg that’s very similar (the recipe measurements are in the metric system).
40. Quiche Lorraine
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A classic and one of the easiest recipes on this list, it is always a hit. The secret is to achieve the perfect balance between the soft and creamy batter and the salty and crunchy bacon. Perfect if you feel like cooking but don’t have much time.
Its name may be hard to pronounce but boeuf bourguignon is always easy to eat. It is basically a delicious red wine beef stew. It is also one of the rare dishes that is even better the second day. So if you’re hosting a dinner and want to cook in advance, this is a perfect option.
As a friend of mine puts it: “No one really likes cod but somehow everyone loves cod accras.” These deep-fried French Caribbean specialties can be served as appetizers or in a sandwich. They are very good and highly addictive.