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French Cooking - 6 courses

I am hoping to put together a 6 course menu with a French theme .

So far I am thinking

Goats Cheese Salad
Watercress Soup / Onion Soup
Duck Confit tart
Roast Lamb with spring veg
Cheese with eggplant sorbet
Pears in Red wine / Creme Brulee / Crepes

Any suggestiuons would be great. I am unsure whether to base it on a specific region. Which region would you pick?

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  1. If it's a European theme, you might want to reposition the salad...and serve it after the entree.
    As far as a region, Provence might be a nice summer theme.....

    1 Reply
    1. re: perk

      On the subject (and well after the point has been rendered a bit moot) of European conventions when you refer to the "entree" is that the first course/appetizer or the lamb? I will never entirely understand how we managed to get that mixed up over here.

      While it's certainly typical to follow the main course after something so heavy as duck confit it would be quite nice to have a cool salad with tangy goat cheese to refresh the palate before moving on to the equally heavy lamb.

    2. i like perk's suggestion of a Provençal theme.

      some random ideas for other dishes, including a few that would use some of the same ingredients you listed:
      - herbed white beans with tomato and chevre
      - white bean soup w/pistou
      - duck rillettes
      - eggplant gratin
      - pissaladiere
      - gruyere gougeres with ratatouille
      - apricot or cherry clafoutis
      - almond tuiles with sorbet

      4 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Yes I think Provencal is a good idea. I was thinking Burgundy which (from what I know) is more traditional. Provencal may have more options that are more contemporary and not as rich?

        Great ideas there. YUM!

        1. re: mandarin

          Burgundy isn't any more traditional than anywhere else...just ask the Provencales!

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Alternately, for the gougeres, serve with tapenade and tomato.

          The almond tuiles can be made into cups for the sorbet..

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            And....it's a great time of year to serve a bottle or two (or three) of rose from that region.
            Sounds like it would work with the menu.

          2. Cheese with eggplant sorbet seems unusual as eggplant is on the bitter side.

            How about Vichysoisse for the soup?

            16 Replies
            1. re: souschef

              ding ding ding -- we have a winner with the vichysoisse!

              1. re: alkapal

                oh, i was reminded that vichysoisse is not french in origin. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/vich...

                1. re: alkapal

                  Hey! The chef was French and the name is French-sounding, so it's close enough for me.

                  I never would have guessed!

                  1. re: souschef

                    yep…i think of vichy france. not so good for the french.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    Should have been called a Diat Soup

                      1. re: souschef

                        You're not a big fan of puns then?

                        1. re: Harters

                          Would you stoop to puns about soup ?

                          1. re: souschef

                            I also do alliteration. A lot. So I would periodically piss in the potage.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Are your alliterations always amusing, seeing as they're coming from a playful, prolific punster ?

                        2. re: souschef

                          yeah. that one would have udon. ;-)

                    1. re: alkapal

                      oops, i've been reversing the "ss" placement with the "s" (had bouillabaisse on my mind) -- forgive me! anyhoo, check this from wiki: """In 1917, seeking to "invent some new and startling cold soup" for the menu at the Ritz-Carlton, he recalled his mother's soup.[potage bonne femme with added milk]. His experimenting soon led to a combination of "leeks, onions, potatoes, butter, milk, cream and other seasonings". Diat named it "crème vichyssoise glacée" (chilled cream vichyssoise),[after Vichy, a spa town near his birthplace in France that is famous for both its exceptional food and its springs. The new item enjoyed "instant success". Charles M. Schwab was the first to sample vichyssoise and requested another serving."""

                      ok, that is your fun fact for friday!

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Diat was Frencher than French, so by gum it works in my book.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Charles M. Schwab was not as interesting a character as Charles M. Schultz.

                          1. re: souschef

                            Who made his money the old-fashioned way. I have the Gourmet French cookbook by M. Diat, incidentally. If it was French enough for midcentury Gourmet, it's French enough for me.

                      2. re: souschef

                        I actually like the idea of eggplant sorbet as it will be a nice pairing for cheese - not too sweet with some savory background.

                      3. I have always found that gougere are served hot out of the oven as the wonderful bite with a cocktail or first glass of wine. Made well they need nothing but to be crispy, cheesy and hot.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: escondido123

                          I agree that gougères are best on their own, but you should also try them with tapenade and tomato.

                          This is an adaptation of an hors d'oeuvre that I frequently serve - puff pastry squares topped with goat cheese and tomato, then baked, and as soon as they come out of the oven, topped with tapenade and served immediately. The texture, temperature, and flavour contrasts are great.

                        2. I'd drop the duck confit tarte -- very, very rich, pretty heavy, and with the lamb and veg, just a bit much, IMO.

                          It's more than okay to only have 5 courses -- most French restaurants and home tables go with 5.

                          I agree that the salad moves to after the main, if you're going for true French style...OR have the chevre salad as the appetizer. If you move the salad to the end of the meal, it's very appropriate/accepted to serve the salad with the cheese...in which case you'd put the chevre on the cheese plate and not on the salad.

                          I'd drop the eggplant sorbet, too -- I agree that it tends to the bitter side. Serve some grapes and walnuts with the cheese, or some dried fruit -- apricots or prunes -- depending on what sort of cheese you're serving.

                          Then dessert -- Crepes tend to be more cafe fare than restaurants -- and fair warning: they're a complete pita for a dinner party.

                          So:

                          Watercress Soup
                          Roast lamb with spring veg
                          Salad
                          Cheese
                          Pears or Creme brulee

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I'm generally with sunshine regards the salad.

                            My visits to France are to the north of the country where I have never seen salad served on its own as a separate course. It comes as a starter - the goats cheese salad would be nice - or as an accompaniment to the cheese course. When doing the latter in a French style, remember it's eaten with a knife and fork.

                            FWIW, the menu from our most recent restaurnant meal (in April):

                            Les Escalopes de Foie graschaud, Grains et jus des Vignes

                            ou
                            Les Noix de Saint-Jacques, sur une Crème d'endive et Caviar Avruga

                            ou

                            Le Demi Homard décortiqué au Beurre de Corail

                            ou

                            Les Langoustines Rôties sur Poireaux, compote de Pommes et Gingembre

                            ***

                            Les Noix de Ris de Veau aux Morilles, Panier de Printemps

                            ou

                            Le Curry de Lotte, Risotto aux Pommes, Raisins et Amandes

                            ou

                            Les Filets de Sole soufflés aux Ecrevisses
                            ou
                            Le Filet de Turbot aux Asperges, écume de Wissant

                            ou

                            Le Filet de Boeuf au parfum Irlandais

                            ***

                            Le Plateau de Fromages

                            ***

                            Le Chariot de Desserts

                            (Restaurant was in Calais - Le Cote d'Argent)

                            1. re: Harters

                              Harters, I thought you did not like French food, or is it that you like it but do not cook it?

                              Re: eating a salad with a knife and fork, that's what I do, and am always amazed when I see someone using a fork in the right hand instead of the left, and the forefinger of the left hand taking the place of the knife, stuck into the food.

                              1. re: souschef

                                I love French food.

                                Although, apart from the classic national dishes, much of modern European cuisine now crosses frontiers as easily as people now can.

                                I suppose what I mean when I say I love eating French food is that I love eating food in France. It's only 21 miles away so there's always been an interchange of cooking.

                                Re. the knife & fork, I meant that they're provided to eat the cheese course with (whether or not salad is served)

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              Lots of great ideas here... I often had salad as an appetiser before the main whilst in France and surprised to hear it is so common to serve afterward. Interesting...

                              I think the gougere would be great as a small nibbly before the sit down courses.
                              Watercress soup or the suggested Vichysoisse (will have a look into that one)
                              THe Salad (to decide where to place) - will most likely be goats cheese so may have to think of another tart or even souffle/gratin idea

                              The eggplant sorbet I mentioned I had served to me in France with a cheese dish recently and surprisingly it was not bitter. Although will have to do a few test runs on that one to see how it goes.

                              I would really like to use duck aswell but unsure where to squeeze that in. But, yes I think the tart may be too rich

                              1. re: mandarin

                                If you want to serve duck, how about a nice piece of seared foie gras. Yes, I know that it's super-rich, but all you need to serve is a small portion.