Tag Archives: Bastille

An Annual Treat — Bistrot La Minette’s Bastille Day Velouté

It seemed only fitting to dine at one of my favorite Philadelphia restaurants – Bistrot La Minette – on Bastille Day.  Last night, my party of three dined at Philly’s top bistro to celebrate La Fête de la Bastille.  Atop the special four course prix fixe menu (of a very reasonable fixed price of $40), Chef Peter Woolsey shared that this is his favorite meal of the year, and I understand why…

A myriad flavors were possible for a Kir Royale, but we chose the traditional cassis for our bubbly apéritif.

It was unanimous that the most intriguing taste of the evening was the Velouté Glacé de Petits Pois.  This chilled pea soup served with a drizzling of lemon crème frâiche and truffle oil was  refreshing with an earthy undertone on a humid summer night.  The fact that the soup was chilled was a special treat as the Bistrot’s dinner menu typically offers a hot pea and parsley soup.

The second course consisted of an elegant buffet including a variety of French appetizers.  This was the ideal way to sample the culinary talent at the Bistrot.  Some of our favorites were…

  • Rillettes de Canard (duck confit)
  • Terrine de Campagne (country style paté atop toasted brioche)
  • Salade de Lentilles (Puy lentils with mustard vinaigrette)
  • Poivrons Rôtis (oven roasted peppers with olive oil and garlic confit)
  • Salade de Tomates (sliced Roma tomatoes with basil, sherry vinegar and olive oil)

Then, we selected three of the four main course options…

  • Poulet Rôti (half roasted chicken with tarragon jus)
  • Pavé de Saumon (pan seared filet of salmon with beurre blanc)
  • Côte de Porc Sauce Vinegrée (pan seared pork chop with sherry vinegar jus)
  • Each was served with a gratin dauphinois (scalloped potatoes), tomato Provençal (slow roasted tomato) and haricots verts (French green beans).  The chicken skin was crisped to perfection while the salmon and pork were seared to the same degree of excellence.  The fourth option, an exotic mushroom tart, was also appealing…but will be atop the list of choices for next year.

Our trio allowed for a tasting of each of the three decadent desserts…

  • Tarte aux Pêches (peach tart with almond cream and cassis sorbet)
  • Mille Feuille aux Framboises (puff pastry with vanilla cream and raspberries)
  • Gâteau Mousse au Chocolat (chocolate mousse layer cake with pistachio)

Until next Bastille Day…although we are sure to visit our friends at the Bistrot before then!

Slow Down…Take the Time to Celebrate Bastille Day — Escargots au Beurre

Add a French flair to your dining experience today — Le quatorze juillet.  One of the simplest ways to do so is to prepare this appetizer of snails with butter.  It will take quatorze minutes, at most…

Ingredients:

1 baguette

1 dozen escargots

3 tablespoons French butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Additional extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on the baguette slices

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 scallions, sliced or 1 shallot, chopped

1 handful parsley, chopped

Finishing salt

Fresh ground pepper

I use Roland escargots, which can be found in the grocery store.  Each can is 8.75 ounces and contains one dozen escargots.  This is ideal for serving three to four guests, but you can modify the above quantities for a larger celebration of La fête nationale.  The advantage to using these escargots is that they are already cleaned and cooked – you only have to heat them!

Preheat the broiler.  Slice the baguette into pieces lengthwise and then each piece in half as if making a sandwich.  Drizzle olive oil on each slice.  Place the slices under the broiler until they are golden brown on one side.  Then turn the slices over to lightly toast the other side.  Remove the slices from the broiler and place one slice on each small plate.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of French butter.  Allow the pan to heat up and the butter to foam.  Tilt the pan around so that the olive oil and butter coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the garlic and scallions/shallot to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon.  Allow these ingredients to cook for about 2 minutes.  Drain the liquid from the can of escargots and add them to the pan along with the parsley.  Turn the heat down to low and stir.  The escargots should be heated through in just a few minutes.  Place three or four escargots on each slice of baguette and drizzle some of the butter mixture so that no richness goes to waste.  Season with finishing salt and pepper to taste.

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 Bonne fête!