Many people think French cooking is… well, hard, complicated and rather expensive. And although some dishes (like boned duck, for instance) can be, some are much easier to make than you think. So instead of regular spinach dip or boring salad, why not attempt one of these easy-to-replicate French appetizers?
If you're feeling a little nervous in the kitchen, grab your favorite Julia Child rerun and get cooking! Don't worry, you don't need a degree from Le Cordon Bleu to make these fun party foods, they are as simple as they come. But beware, once you go French, you'll never want to go back.
Yields about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
Mix the black olives, green olives, Kalamata olives, olive oil, mustard and herbs de provence together in a bowl. Serve with French bread.
Creamy goat cheese fondue
Serves about 8
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Salt and pepper
Heat goat cheese, milk and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter, oregano, basil and salt and pepper.
Pour into a bowl and serve with bread.
Single-serve French onion soups
Yields about 8 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups yellow or white onions, sliced thinly (or chopped if you prefer)
38 ounces beef broth
4 ounces dark beer
4 slices French bread, cut in half
4 slices Muenster cheese, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and reduce heat to low. Cover the onions and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until completely caramelized. Pour in broth, beer and salt and pepper.
Cover mixture again and let simmer for another 20 minutes, or until very fragrant. Remove from heat and pour into 8 small ramekins, single serve Le Creuset cocottes or shooter glasses. Top each ramekin with a slice of bread and cheese.
Preheat the broiler. Place the ramekins on a cake pan and broil for about 2-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted.