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Mar 18, 2003 01:30 PM

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?

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  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.


    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.


      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.


        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. ;-)


            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. 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 Voici aux bons amis et aux bon temps (heres to good friends and good times)