What comes to mind when you hear the words French food? I know several people that this frightens. Okay perhaps frighten is too severe of a word so I shall replace it with intimidates.
The excuses I have been offered for why some people prefer not to attempt cooking French recipes include too many ingredients, too rich, too complicated, blah, blah, blah.
I, myself, adore French cooking. The herbs, the creams, and one of the reasons for living…butter blend together to create a wonderful dining experience. I am not one who fears quality, complexity and freshness.
I have prepared several French dishes all of which, if I do say so myself, were successes. Rosemary chicken is one of my mainstays and is especially good with the fresh rosemary plucked from my garden. I’ve also dabbled in ratatouille, lemon thyme chicken, gougères, and most recently salade niçoise with all fresh ingredients.
And while I love the challenge of complex cooking, I also find the need to create something simpler during the weeknights. The weekends, on the other hand, all bets are off.
Since time is short during the week due to lengthy work hours, I do not wish to sacrifice taste and quality for time. I refused to rinse and repeat each week offering the same menu. How ennuyeux!
Enter Voila! Effortless French Cookbook by Cecile Delarue.
I first came across Cecile (I hope she does not mind my referring to her by first name) via Facebook. I’m not quite sure how I found her. Perhaps it was my love of Paris and France and during my search I stumbled upon French and Parfait. So I began following her. Then lo and behold she posted that her new cookbook was about to be released. And of course I had to purchase it.
I have this ritual whenever I get a new cookbook. I will close my eyes and open it to a random page. Whatever recipe appears is the first I will make. When Cecile’s book arrived, I ripped the package open, closed my eyes tightly, held my breath and opened the book. What was revealed? Saumon à l’oseille. Translated into English: Salmon in Sorrel Sauce.
I was mesmerized. A total of 9 ingredients were listed and a prep time of five minutes and cook time of the same. It couldn’t get any easier than that.
Living in a coastal town has its advantages, very fresh seafood. Shrimpers Seafood Market is a quick trip from my house. I love these people! They offer such fresh products at a reasonable price. And you know it’s good if the likes of Emeril Lagasse shop there.
But we also face our disadvantages, the challenge of finding ingredients. I searched high and low for sorrel. Even Whole Foods failed me. So I had to substitute arugula and fear I did not purchase enough. However, two steps to make the sauce and three to cook the salmon including plating, I could not complain.
Cecile took me through this easy recipe one step at a time and I especially loved how she offers suggestions of wine pairing. I took her advice and it was a match made in heaven!
My taste buds are seriously starting to salivate as I write this entry. The word that springs to mind when I think of this dinner is delightful. Absolutely delightful!
The sauce was a bit runny which was no fault of the recipe at all, but rather due to my lack of enough arugula but it tasted fabulous. The salmon was cooked perfectly. I had made a pot of jasmine rice that I laid on the plates first followed by the sauce and then the salmon acted as the crowning jewel. But there was no lead role in this recipe as the sauce and the salmon merged into one blissful bite.
For those who fear French cooking, banish those thoughts. I highly recommend Cecile’s book. She offers a vast array of simple recipes many of which I will be trying very soon.
Merci Cecile! You have helped us embrace French cooking without fear. And for making our hectic lives easier without forfeiting quality and taste.
By the way, she has another cookbook out The Everything Easy French Cookbook that I have added to my wish list since my birthday is this month.
File this one under: Make This One Again and Soon!
You can find Cecile’s books here:
Want to learn more about Cecile Delarue? Click below:
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Follow her on Twitter: @ceciledelarue
Stay tuned for another recipe from Cecile’s books.
Until we meet again…au revoir!