HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Suggestions for easy French party food?

  • c

We're holding a party and want to prominently feature French food. I'm looking for suggestions for fairly easy, preferably make ahead, options.

So far we've got crepes (savory and sweet), quiche (anyone have a killer quiche recipe?) and of course, cheese.

What else?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Re. a good Quiche recipe, you can't go wrong using the ones in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

    Are you looking for main courses, or finger-type food? For the former, there are any number of good choices from the above volume. JC's roast chicken recipe is excellent, as is the tarragon chicken. Add some fried potatos and a nice salad with a traditional french vinagrette and you're good to go.

    For something that you can make ahead, which is quite delicious, I like the poached salmon with tarragon sauce from Epicurious. I made it once to take to the Hollywood Bowl, and not only was it delicious, but we got jealous stares from people nearby because it looked great too.

    Link: http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/...

    7 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      LOL, I've been dying for an excuse to buy MTAoFC, after avidly reading The Julie/Julia Project. Looks like I've got my excuse :-)

      I think I am looking more for finger foods, or buffet style foods.

      I wonder how hard it is to find fresh tarragon this time of year. Wouldn't you know I've got oodles of the stuff in my garden all summer long, and none now that I need it.

      Link: http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/

      1. re: Chris VR

        A couple of other dishes that I've made many times from MTAofFC, which would work well for a buffet is blanched, chilled asparagus or green beans served with her mustard sauce, and salade nicoise.

        Another idea would be to make a green lentil salad. I don't have a recipe off hand, but there's a pretty traditional one at epicurious (linked below).

        I would also put out a good variety of french cheeses and some olives to round out the buffet.

        Link: http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/...

        1. re: Chris VR

          As long as you are going to buy Julia, look in volume 1 in the section "Cocktail Appetizers." Also, under luncheon dishes, she suggests making small cream puffs, hold the cream, stuffed with a variety of fillings.

          Pat G.

          1. re: Chris VR

            Bread & Circus usually has tarragon. So does Arax in Watertown. Or Russo's in Watertown.

            1. re: aromatherapy

              Since this is beginning to sound like a local board, please tell us which board it would be at home on?

          2. re: DanaB

            My favorite quiche, which we call spani-quiche-ita, is one with spinach (fresh, cooked, squeezed), sauteed leeks and lots of feta cheese.

            Another great French party food is pissaladiere, the tart with golden onions and anchovies.

            Bon apetit!

          3. Hey, I'm having a similar party. Except I will be serving food and drink from Germany, Russia and France.

            We're going to have three service stations:
            1) German Beer & Sausage with a selection of mustards & rolls
            2) Russian Vodka and Perogies
            3) French Bread, Cheese & Wines

            I do a French-style tart that is popular at parties...
            Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, put down a layer of cheese (I usually use a creamy cheese) then top the cheese with a complementary vegetable (asparagus is in season). I fold over the edges to prevent spillage and to make it look nicer. Then I pop in a medium hot oven until the edges are light brown. When I take it out, I usually sprinkle toasted, chopped nuts or minced herbs as appropriate.

            On the other hand, you could serve "French Devil Eggs" - most recipes use Mayonnaise, Tarragon & Dijon Mustard which are typical French ingrediants. ;-)

            Link: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/...

            1. I *think* I did this recipe from Mastering hte art of French cooking, but maybe it was from Silver Palate.

              Anyhow, blanched leek salad - with hard boiled eggs, nicoise olives, tomatoes, and a tarragon vinaigrette. Very nice.

              1. Gougeres (essentially cheese flavored savory cream puffs) always seem to be a big hit. FoodTV.com has a number of recipes. I second an earlier posting for pissaladiere. Tapenade is great for parties since it's best made ahead. Baked brie and escargots are also delicious appetizers.

                1. For hors d'oeuvre - savoury gougere,mini palmier or profiteroles, escargot, alsatian onion tartlets, Coquille St Jacques, brioche based canapes, mini croque monsieur (use cocktail bread). Buffet fare - terrine, duck confit, brandade, composed salads, fois gras and pate. Dessert - Sweet palmiers, madeleines, profiteroles, tarte tatin, sabayon or Grand Marnier Mousse. Special Cocktail - a French 75. If any of these appeal, you will find a lot on www.epicurious.com. Voici aux bons amis et aux bon temps (heres to good friends and good times)

                  1. Yes, gougeres are great! I made two kinds for a party--the red pepper ones from Food & Wine and blue cheese gougeres. The red pepper ones were really good, so I recommend those highly.

                    I also served brie en croute, and though the cheese oozed out of the puff pastry and all over the baking sheet, it still looked relatively decent, and I think it was the most popular dish I had (at least everyone ate it up).

                    Madeleines would be fun, too.

                    1. Yes, brie en croute... I sometimes add a topping (can be sweet or savoury) to the brie before encasing it in puff pastry. Simply remove some of the rind on top and apply your topping. Some examples- 1.Brie with roasted sliced sweet peppers and pesto. 2.Sauteed mushrooms (drained) with mashed roasted garlic. 3.Sundried tomatoes (drained & julienned)4.Layered with lox. LOL

                      1. On the easy side:

                        Always popular is pate - two kinds, one smooth, one country - served with cornichons (little crispy pickles), a good Dijon mustard, and small toasts or freshly sliced long French bread.

                        If you are near a Trader Joe's, they have a good selection of frozen appetizers, including tartlets, spinach or mushroom turnovers, etc. that just need heating in the toaster oven. We've been served their stuff at very upscale parties.

                        Quiche is easy, especially if you use a frozen pastry shell. Lots of recipes on Epicurious or just google it.

                        1. Fromage fort. It's really a way to use those last little bits of cheese you wouldn't otherwise know what to do with, but you could certainly buy cheese specifically for it. It's basically a melange of a few different cheeses, puréed with a some good strong booze (marc is preferred, I think) and seasoned as you like it. I usually use a little pastis and toasted cumin seed, S&P. Spread on toasted baguette slices.

                          I could be wrong about this, but I think the baked brie with toppings thing is an Americanism.

                          1. How about some salads/vegetables? Easy because they can be made ahead and all served at room temp. Lentil salad (preferably with green Puy lentils) with carrots and beets, celery root salad with creamy dressing, dressed grilled or roasted leeks, frisee with lardons, dressed steamed asparagus, roasted Provencal tomatoes.

                            Crudites with anchovy dip (is it anchouade?).

                            Little individual goat cheeses baked and placed on the table (assuming it's a buffet?) alongside a big bowl of lightly dressed mixed salad.

                            For a main, roasted thyme-rubbed bone-in chicken breasts with a layer of tapenade spread betw. skin and meat. Prep ahead of time and just pop them in the oven 30-45 mins before serving.

                            1. In addition to the recommendations below (definitely do gourgeres--using the best gruyere you can afford -- and rillettes--make either pork or duck version), consider an excellent and easy app from Patricia Wells - spread a soft, fresh goat cheese in the bottom of a gratin dish, top it with a thin layer of your best fresh tomato sauce, top with pieces of black olives and run under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble. Serve with some good bread to spread. I can't tell you how good this is.

                              1. I love gougeres, any kind- Roquefort, olive&pistachio, gruyere....
                                Brandade de morue with toasted baguette
                                Rillette (duck, salmon or chicken)
                                Endive spears with chèvre, beets and walnuts
                                Fougasse (a savoury bread similar to focaccia)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: DowntownJosie

                                  Congratulations! You just bumped up an 11 year old thread!

                                  I had to stop for a moment to remember where I was 11 years ago and how much has changed for me during those years. Wow.

                                  I hope the OP had a wonderful party, if he can still remember it. But thank you, I now have some great ideas for dinner tonight.

                                  1. re: Roland Parker

                                    I guess this happens when you get suggestions from chowhound then get distracted and read the posts quickly. I should really learn to be more attentive.

                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                    You can make savoury ones as well. I have seen them made with butternut squash.

                                    1. re: DowntownJosie

                                      Nice, maybe with some pieces of brie inside to melt out and blend with the squash :-)

                                  2. Um.... 11yrs later the OP probably had the party already....

                                    1. - Paté and dried sausages (with cornichons).
                                      - Pissaladière (onoin, olive and anchovie pie)
                                      - Gougères

                                      There are a lot of classic braised dishes that can be made in advance that you could do:
                                      Cassoulet, Blanquette de Veau, boeuf bourguignon

                                      You could make a Choucroute Garnie.

                                      For dessert,

                                      Kouign-amann, cherry Clafoutis, ...

                                      Good luck.