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Nov 3, 2009 03:16 PM

Doing a Coq au Vin dinner for 9. Any suggestions for an appetizer?

I foolishly agreed to cook a French dinner for my friends at the end of the month. Was wondering if anyone had any easy - no prep, appetizer ideas. I was thinking a nice pate with cornichons and a green salad. But I really want to make everything myself and pate sounds rather challenging. Any ideas welcome.

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  1. paté can actually be very easy, but it's rich and brown, just like your main dish. why not a fresh green salad, with lots of assertive greens, like endive and watercress? or a salad of fennel, orange and black olive? these take some slicing for prep, but that's it and will be bright on everybody's palate.

    what are you doing for sides?

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      OMG - so weird! As I was scrolling down to write you my suggestion, hotonoodle had beat me to it!! I, too, think the fennel/orange/olive salad is a perfect starter. I think you need something fresh and light to balance the meal. Pate, usuallty served w/ thin baguette slices or crostini would be too heavy and filling and your lovely coq au vin will be compromised.

      I don't think you will need any sides w/ the C.A.V. except a nice crusty baguette to soak up the juices. I assume you will have tiny new potatoes, the babiest of carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms. Don't forget to sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley before serving.

      As a dessert, I can taste a nice cherry clafouti with REAL whipped cream or REAL vanilla ice cream.. Yum. Please provide address and another place setting ;-)

    2. I suggest this one a lot, but I like endive "boats" where you fill the leaves with bits of goat cheese, clementine or mandarin orange segments, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with honey blended with balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper. Easy, beautiful presentation, tastes great....vaguely French.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChristinaMason

        i'm with you, I love this as an appetizer. Just the pefect food to serve, not too heavy and different than the dinner. Crostini tend to get to heavy for me ( I know-light weight) or they just aren't the best if they sit.

        I think this is perfect, I just love goat cheese, and the combination you've described sounds divine! I'll be using your idea during the holidays.
        thanks ChristinaM!

        1. re: chef chicklet

          Yay! The plus being, with a "light" app., you have more room for those delicious, sinful, heavy things during the rest of the meal ;)

      2. I also think a bagna cauda with lots of fresh, crisp, colorful vegetables would be nice with this meal. But it's more Italian than French.

        1. Walnut salad in endive is a nice hors d'oeuvre; it's light and flavorful and would be a great simple accompaniment to your Coq au Vin. You can prepare the walnut salad up to one day ahead, and chill it covered. You can trim the endive and separate the leaves one day ahead, keeping them in the refrigerator wrapped in dampened paper towels in a plastic bag. Here's the recipe for walnut salad, enough to fill the leaves from 4 belgian endives.

          1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed into a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
          2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
          2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
          1 tablespoon mayonnaise
          a 1/4-pound piece of Parmesan, cut into 1/8-inch dice (about 1 cup)
          1/2 cup finely chopped celery
          1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly lightly and chopped fine
          1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
          4 heads belgian endive, trimmed and leaves separated

          Whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, oil and payonnaise and stir in the parmesan cheese and celery. If you are preparing ahead, prepare up to this point and chill, covered.

          Just before serving, stir the walnuts and parsley into teh salad. Spoon about 1 tablespoon salad onto the wide end of each endive leaf and arrange in circles on a platter. Makes about 40 hors d'oeuvres.

          1. A favorite and simple dish from the south of France is figs wrapped in Bacon

            Cut Bacon in half, wrap bacon around fig and pick or skewer – bake or Grill until bacon is done.

            Another is roasted goat cheese topped with honey and thyme.

            Slice cheese (use a sharp goat cheese for this) into squares – brown under broiler top with honey and thyme.

            For salads the endive one is classic French but so is Pear / beets and blue cheese and a pear salad would go with the season too.