A Taste of France


Entertaining is not about perfection, it’s about connection.

It had to happen, a repeat of one of the dinners we prepared during the Foodie Adventure in France, and what better time than the first summer gathering of the Maine gourmet group.

French country tableWere I at my daughter’s house, it would be no problem coming up with a French themed table as she has all the right stuff.

tablescapeMe, I have to make it up starting with this linen table runner silkscreened with a bird.  Looks kinda French, don’t you think?

tablescapeAdded to it are terra cotta pots of orchids (shhh, they’re not real) and plaster pears, all of which I did buy at a shop specializing in French decor.  I think I’m on the right track.

tablescapeNow, for the dishes.  Here we will have to pretend that these from TJ Maxx are the real thing.

tablescapePaired with black bowls for the first course, the table is shaping up.  Now that I think about it, the napkin rings actually came from France so there is some authenticity.

tablescapeOnce again, these subtly tinted wine stems appear and for water, I just happen to have these glasses from Williams Sonoma.  Look closely and you will see they have the French word for the fruit that is on the glass.

Herbed SoleWith the table set, it’s now time to think about the menu.  There are so many good recipes from the Foodie Adventure that it’s hard to choose, but a real favorite was Chef Michael’s  Herb Breaded Sole Provencal.  I don’t think he will mind if I share the recipe.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

Herb Breaded Sole Provencal

2 T. plus 1 t. olive oil

8 plum tomatoes

2 red bell peppers

Kosher salt, black and white pepper

4 4 oz. fish filets

flour

2 eggs

1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs

1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 c. chopped chives

 2 t. Herbes de Provence

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 c. sliced red onions

2 cloves minced garlic

4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced

1/4 c. coarsely chopped pitted olives (Nicoise, kalamata, etc.)

1 t. Herbes de Provence

1 T. chopped flat leaf parsley

1 T. chopped chives

1/2 lemon, juiced

 Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper with 1 t. olive oil.  Core tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise.  Place them cut side up on baking sheet and drizzle with 2 T. olive oil.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt, black pepper and Herbes de Provence.  Bake for 2 hours.

Burn skin of bell pepper over open flame and place in plastic bag to steam for 3 minutes.  Peel away the charred skin. Cut in half, removed seeds and stem.  Cut into 1” pieces.

Place filets on plate and sprinkle with salt and white pepper, gently coat with flour.  Whisk eggs in a small bowl.  In another bowl, combine Panko crumbs and herbs.  Dip floured filets into beaten egg, then into herb/crumb mixture.  Press mixture into the fish.

Heat large saute pan over medium high heat.  Cover bottom with thin layer of olive oil.  Gently lay fish in the oil and brown, cooking on one side for about a minute or until crumbs turn light brown.  Flip and repeat.  Remove fish to cookie sheet and keep warm in 250 oven or warming drawer.

Remove crumbs from pan with paper towels and return it to medium high heat.  Add 1/4 c. olive oil and stir in onions and garlic; cook for 30 seconds.  Add diced tomatoes, roasted peppers and olives and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in herbs, lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper.

To serve, arrange the fish on a plate and top with the sauce.  Surround with oven roasted tomatoes.

I have also tried this recipe with haddock and halibut, and it works great as would any flaky, mild flavored white fish.  Part of the secret to the success of the fish is pan frying it, according to Chef Michael.   I’m not questioning his advice!

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39 thoughts on “A Taste of France

  1. Well here we are in parallel again! My birthday falls on Bastille Day so this past weekend I threw a party for 100 of my closest friends and made Duck Confit en Cassoulet, Escargot, Dijon Encrusted Pork Loin, 4 different Pates, 6 different caviars, millions of pounds of cheese (I swear it felt like that much) and Madeleines……….it was a marvelous event, but I am still tired. Would that you could have been here for advice! Your table looks marvelous and the food incredible. J’admire ainsi votre attention pour exposer en détail et votre capacité d’attacher tout ensemble. Vous êtes un artiste!

  2. Lulu, your table looks very classy and frenchy to me! Your daughter has a beautiful home and collection of all things francophone. Love the colors! And your centerpiece turned out great. I must try that fish!! I absolutely adore fish and I think this recipe would be amazing. Thanks so much for sharing. xo marlis

  3. Your table is gorgeous! I am loving those pears, well, all of it really! Yes, it looks very French, you’ve captured to mood perfectly! I’d love to try this recipe, the veggies look wonderful and the breading on the fish just delicious.

    Try to stay cool and thanks for popping in!

    XO,
    Jane

  4. We both had France on the brain this week!!! I’m glad you were able to create a special gourmet dinner to go along with your fabulous tablescape! Or is it the other way around? 🙂

    Have a beautiful weekend!!!

  5. Lovely Table set for this wonderful meal you served I bet there was not one bite left on any of their plates.

    Enjoy!

    Not sure where you are but saw weather reports you were getting the rain and thunder in Maine and me less than 45 min south of all the action NONE. Stay safe.

    • Not so much rain this week, thank goodness. We were ready for som sunshine. Now, if the heat would go away all would again be perfect.

      • Yes horrible storms coming through around suppertime again and Monday and Tuesday I maybe have to travel the coast of Maine with WINDOWS down and let JT hang her head out 🙂

  6. Oh Lulu, your table came together so nicely! I think the runner looks very Frenchy and what perfect WS glasses! Those square plates are wonderful and love the black bowls. The fish dish sounds amazing. I’m thinking maybe tilapia would work in it, as I have some in the freezer! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love the easy going charm of the terra cotta pots with the small flowers. The square beaded edge plate is wonderful, and I love the soft green linens. The meal is incredible. Bon appetit! Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  8. Your table is lovely, especially with the pears – those are so French! I could dive right into the Sole – gorgeous plate full of food! Love the addition of those black plates and your beautiful centerpiece!

  9. Lulu, your eclectic table looks wonderful, and yes very French! The simple, down to earth combination of elements sends one straight to the french countryside, I especially love the fruit glasses! Of course the sole provencal is THE perfect meal to serve! How much fun to have a gourmet supper club, none of my friends like to cook!

    • Not many of my Houston friends are still cooking very much so there are lots of dinners out. Here, however, we share lots of at home meals and I love it.

  10. Lulu, your French tablescape is so pretty. I’m loving those beautiful pears, and those glasses with French words are great. Oh my! Dinner looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I’m saving this one. laurie

  11. Hi, Lulu. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my espresso post, and I’m so glad that it brought me to your post. Yes! The tablerunner DOES look French-y–I loved it immediately. Your table is lovely, and that recipe looks divine! ~Zuni

  12. “I opt to [use] something with a high oil content. Sturgeon works well, just make sure it is skin-off,” he says. Salmon is another sturdy fish that becomes delicate and moist and is commonly poached in olive oil.

  13. Ok dear Lulu..where should I start?! I guess from the great dishes of the great table to the great centerpiece and the yummy food…gosh! You did a magnificent setting and so inviting too! Enjoy your summer weekend.
    FABBY

  14. Pingback: Home Alone. Dinner For One | A Simple, Village Undertaker

  15. Excellent table and even better recip,, wow drop dead photo of the Sole Provencal and it looks DELICIOUS! I have duck fat in my fridge and duck pieces out of the freezer thawing right now to make Confit du Canard, it involves mostly time and patience and comes out great!
    Seems the French menu idea is spreading of late 🙂

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