The latest Diced! cooking contest by The Ranting Chef is here. In this competition, contestants make four dishes: a breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert. After each dish, I will put up a poll for you to vote for your favorite. Votes for the breakfast/brunch post are worth one point apiece, lunch are worth two points, dinner votes are worth three points and dessert posts are worth five.
Parisian Luncheon ~ Oh Là Là
Lunch is quick, luncheon is leisurely. Lunch is fast food, luncheon is to be savored. Lunch can be relatively tasteless, luncheon is tasteful. Lunch is often at my office desk, luncheon is in a cafe with a white tablecloth and china.
I am reminiscing about my favorite luncheons and my mind keeps wandering back to a Paris cafe, sitting outside … a sweet breeze softly flickers across my cheek as I sip a refreshing beverage. In France they call this lovely mid-day meal Le déjeuner .
I begin my Le déjeuner with a refreshing glass of mint water, followed by a tartine (open-faced sandwich – mine is topped with Black Forest ham and a triple-crème cheese)and crème de poivron (chilled red bell pepper soup):
Fresh Mint Water is especially nice to offer guests when hosting a luncheon in your home. Very refreshing…just add a few sprigs of spearmint or pineapple mint in ice water and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
A tartine originated from the “tranches” (meaning “slice” in French) or thick slabs of coarse bread that were used as plates (before plates existed) during the Middle Ages. At the end of the meal the food-soaked trencher was often given to beggars to eat.
For my Le déjeuner I always use the best quality ingredients that I can find. My Black Forest ham and triple-crème cheese tartine begins with a bakery fresh slice of crusty French bread spread with what I consider to be the best French mustard “Pommery” available in my area (Fresh Market):
Topped with Black Forest ham and fresh arugula.
Topped with St. Angel triple-crème cheese and broiled in the oven until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Très bien!
Crème de Poivron (Chilled Red Bell Pepper Soup)
Chill soup bowls and soup spoons in freezer while preparing the soup so that the bowls will be icy cold for service.
4 red bell peppers
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 slice hearty white bread (1/2″ thick)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon medium peri-peri sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Sour cream and chopped chives or basil leaves for garnish.
Roast peppers (link below includes a video about how to roast and peel bell peppers), cool, remove stem and seeds and peel peppers. Chop peppers into quarters and place in blender. (Peppers can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator.)
Melt butter and add shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until shallots and garlic are soft. Remove from heat and brush this mixture over a piece of hearty white bread. Broil bread in oven until top is lightly toasted. Remove from oven and cool. Crumble toast and add to blender.
Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the blender and blend the peppers, bread and chicken broth until all ingredients are combined. Add the remaining chicken broth (1/4 cup), peri-peri sauce and salt and blend until liquefied. Strain soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill until service. Garnish each serving with 1 tsp sour cream on top (do not stir into the soup because it will alter the flavor of the soup) and chopped chives or basil leaves.
For dessert I had a bakery fresh macaroon and a flute of chilled champagne.
Oh Là Là ~ a little “pear face” I found in the neighborhood grocery store today…