Results tagged garlic from David Lebovitz

Soupe au Pistou

soupe au pistou

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of soup. (Well, if it was, it’s not anymore.) I just feel odd ordering it in a restaurant, since I’m paying for a bowl of glorified liquid. And I rarely eat it at home, since when I want to eat, I want something more substantial as a meal. And if I eat it as a first course, then it takes up valuable real estate in my stomach for something more interesting.

(Confused? Imagine how I feel.)

However since moving to France, I’ve seen the value of soup—on occasion. Such as in the dead of winter when it’s so cold that only a bowl of very hot liquid will stoke my fire. Yet in the summer, the idea of hot soup isn’t exactly appealing. But I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables lately, and less meat, and the Soupe au Pistou, vegetable soup from Provence, somehow seems okay.

Continue Reading Soupe au Pistou…

Al Taglio

Al Taglio

For quite some time, whenever I’d go out to eat in Paris with a visiting friend, their gaze would invariably land on something Italian on the menu. And they’d want to order something like risotto or salad Caprese, which I’d warn them away from. Or pizza, which might come to the table with some unexpected topping, like canned corn or pineapple. When I moved to Paris, I thought it odd that Italian food wasn’t as well- represented here as I assumed it would be. After all, France shares a border with Italy. But on the other hand, look at how Canadian food is represented in the United States. So I guess that explains that.

When I asked a friend who came last year what she wanted for dinner, she said, “I don’t care. As long as the food is good”, which sounded fine to me. The only problem was, that I’d had a long day and wanted to eat somewhere in my neighborhood and I couldn’t think of anywhere decent—except for the pizza place run by the Sardinians. When I suggested it, she said, “I didn’t come to Paris to eat pizza.”

But it made me realize that in the past five years, Italian food has really come into its own in Paris, and last week, a place that makes their own pasta was turning people (including us) away in droves when we tried to get a couple of seats. When I decided to hit Grom on Sunday, the line trailed out the door and onto the street.

There are some really great pizza places now across Paris serving the real-deal, including Al Taglio, which unlike the other places, serves pizza like they do in Rome, meaning they bake off large rectangles of pizza then cut off squares as you order them. The pizza pieces are weighed, priced, and then warmed up and brought to your table, living up to the name al taglio, or “by the slice.”

Al Taglio

I immediately knew I would like Al Taglio as soon as I walked in because I like sitting at high counters. Although there are tables overlooking the small square outdoors, there’s something about sitting on a high stool at a communal table that’s always been my very favorite way to eat. It’s just so convivial. When friends came in to eat in restaurants where I worked, I just pulled up a stool next to where I was working so I could talk to them when they had dinner and I love cooking while talking to people, as long as they’re seated and at a distance. And pouring me wine.

The pizzas range from a simple Melanzane (eggplant and garlic) to more ambitious Zucca e pancette (bacon and pumpkin cream). I tried three: Patate tartufo (potato and truffle cream), Salami piccante (artichokes and spicy salami) and Amadriciana. (Even though I said the French are embracing authentic Italian cuisine, I guess these things are considered exotic by some, though, because the Le Fooding guide called their toppings ‘chic‘. Black truffles aside, I’m not sure what’s so chic about eggplant, bacon, salami, and potatoes.)

All the pizzas are sold by the kilo, and prices vary depending on the topping. All three I tried were great, with nice, crunchy crust, and flavorful topping. It made a perfect early afternoon lunch along with a very full glass of Anghelia (€3.8), which brought the total of my meal to just over €13. It also made me a wee-bit tipsy.

cucina 100% Italiana

One thing that’s a bit curious is the counter service, which some might consider authentically Italian: one woman was busy taking the orders, cutting the pizza, and weighing the squares, while the fellow next to her watched, then brought out the pizza to the customers. The kitchen was a bit more active: just a few feet away, two guys were working on the next batch of pizzas, scattering them with cubes of mozzarella and bits of speck and other toppings, before sliding them into the oven.

But I’ve learned not to be in a hurry when it comes to food, both in France and Italy, and to relax. And I’ve let go of all that racing to get through a meal or expecting service with a snap. When you do, you have a much better time. Indeed, everyone here was smiling and friendly, including her.

And after working in restaurants for three decades, I always advise people to never mess with people who are making their food or serving it to them. (And that applies to nurses and flight attendants, too.)

I’d imagine Al Taglio gets packed at prime time. But since they’re open continuously throughout the afternoon, my advice is to go for a late lunch. So along with places to get good gelato in Paris, I can confidently add Italian pizza to that list.



Al Taglio
2, bis rue Neuve Popincourt, 11th (off rue Oberkampf)
Tél: 01 43 38 12 00
(Map)

Open daily, Noon-11pm, no reservations.

and

27, rue Saintonge (Upper Marais)
Tél: 09 50 48 84 06




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(Note: The blackboard sign in the post isn’t related Al Taglio, which does not offer a tavola calda.)

Potato-Leek Soup Recipe

potato leek soup mache

I don’t think I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution. Even if I did, I likely didn’t have much success sticking with any of them, so I just don’t bother with them anymore. Usually resolutions involve quickly-forgotten rules about eating better, losing weight, and saving money. (Which is probably why I never make them in the first place.) So I wouldn’t place any bets that I’m going to stick with doing any of those three things this year, I’m happy to report that for those of you with more will-power than I, this Potato Leek Soup falls neatly into all three categories.

soup dinnertable

I kind of have a funny relationship to soup. If I’m going to eat soup, I eat it as a main course for lunch or dinner, not before. And since for me, soup is a meal, I like thick soups. I’m not a fan of slurping up thin broth from a vessel. If I wanted to lap up watery liquid from a receptacle, I’d slip a collar around my neck and get down on all-fours for my supper. No thank you. (Well, at least not at dinnertime.)

peeling potatoes cubed potatoes

So where do I start with this one?

Continue Reading Potato-Leek Soup Recipe…

Aïoli: Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe

yolks

On a recent visit with my friend Tricia Robinson, who lives in the small village of St Jeannet, overlooking Nice and the Côte d’Azur, after a huge lunch, we weren’t that hungry for dinner, so we decided to just sip some rosé and wait for inspiration to strike. I was admiring her mortar and pestle, there was some violet-colored spring garlic, a bottle of local olive oil was nearby, and voilà…suddenly, there was our dinner.

aïoli

Frugal me toasted some stale rounds of baguette au levain, which I brushed injudiciously with olive oil that was pressed just a few kilometers away, sold in her village, and scraped them with just-cut garlic cloves while still warm from the oven. (Try it…it’s the best! Or crumble and toss the garlic toasts into your next salad.) But having them simply slathered aïoli, we were content.

The great thing about aïoli is that you always have all the ingredients on hand; olive oil, garlic, egg yolks, and salt, and it pretty much goes with everything. The downside is you should only eat it with others who are eating it as well, since you’ll likely develop a distinct garlicky aroma that will also follow you around for a few days afterward.

Continue Reading Aïoli: Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe…

Arthur Schwartz’s Homemade Kosher Dill Pickle Recipe

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one having wrestling with foreign languages around here. A couple of weeks ago I was buying some olives at an épicerie, and the woman, who wanted to practice her English, as she spooned olives in to a sack, reassured me; “Don’t worry. I will give you some brain with that.”

sliced pickles

Thinking maybe it was some odd French thing, but I wasn’t really keen on having someone add a few brains to my bag of olives. After a bit of mental maneuvering, I realized she was letting me know she would be adding some “brine” to my olives—not “brain”.

Which was such a relief.

saltuncooked cucumbers

Ok, so fast-forward back to last Sunday. Noting that Monday was a holiday, since I’d already bought the cukes, it dawned on me that the giant Tang Frères, Paris’ Asian supermarket, was open on Sunday. So I rushed right down there.

Of course, they’d have coarse salt.

Navigating the mobs of people, working my way through the aisles, I bought a whole bunch of things.

Continue Reading Arthur Schwartz’s Homemade Kosher Dill Pickle Recipe…

Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi

If it seems to you like I’ve been dividing my time between chocolate shops of Paris and visiting Korean épiceries, stocking up on gochujang, cochutgaru, and gokchu garu, you’re right. The odd thing is that the Koreans understand me better than the French. They’re always surprised when I speak a few words of Korean and last week, I met some wonderful Korean gals that were pretty surprised to see me filling my shopping basket with chile peppers, fermented shrimp, and garlic-chili paste.

kimchi cabbage

Since the state of recipes—like my French—are always in a state of flux, after my first batch of cabbage kimchi (which came out pretty darn good), I kept thinking of ways to improve it. That, coupled with a newfound addiction to fried rice and French-style omelets with kimchi, meant I was going through it at an alarming rate.

So I headed over to Ace Mart on the rue Saint-Anne, loaded up my shopping bag again, and armed with The World’s Most Expensive Scallions (3.8€, or $5.50 a bunch), I set out to make the penultimate batch of kimchi.

Continue Reading Kimchi Recipe…

Preserved Tomatoes Recipe (Confit of tomatoes)

tomato plate

Recently the proliferation of heirloom tomatoes at greenmarkets harkens back to the days of yore, when tomatoes were beautiful and irregular and presumably so full of flavor that after one bite you could boast about how good it was for the remainder of your life and try to make everyone feel like you know something that they don’t know and how much richer your life is than theirs because you’ve had this amazing tomato experience and they haven’t.

Tomatoes

Nowadays the marketers and growers have gotten smart. It’s fairly easy to come across tomatoes sold ‘on-the-vine’ that look old-fashioned. But when you get them home and slice them open, they taste negligibly better than any of the other tomatoes at the supermarket…and cost twice as much. They just have a redder color and come with their stems attached.

campari tomatoes

Here’s an excellent recipe for encouraging flavor and sweetness from any tomatoes, even ones that are less-than-ideal, using a technique called making a confit. The slow roasting with olive oil concentrates and sweetens flavors, making ordinary tomatoes boast-worthy.

tomato.jpg

Confit of Tomatoes

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris

1. Buy some tomatoes, just about any variety will do. 2 pounds (1 kg) is a nice amount.

2. Wash and dry them, then slice them in half. Pour enough decent-quality olive oil in a baking dish so that it just covers the bottom of the dish, somewhere between 1/4 cup (60 ml) and 1/3 cup (80 ml) should do.

3. Sprinkle in coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper, add a few branches of fresh thyme and/or a few sprigs of rosemary. Then line the bottom of the baking dish with the tomatoes, sliced-side down. Don’t be bashful; it’s okay to really pack them in.

4. Peel and slice 3 or 4 garlic cloves, slice them in half lengthwise and tuck them in the gaps between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit more salt and a small sprinkling of sugar (less than 1 teaspoon) and add a few bay leaves.

5. Bake the tomatoes in a 350 F (180 C) oven until they are soft and cooked throughout (a paring knife should pierce them easily), which should take at least 45 minutes.

6. Once they’re soft, remove them from the oven and let stand until room temperature. You can scrape the tomatoes and juices and herbs into a container and refrigerate them for up to 4 to 5 days or use them right away. They will actually improve as they sit.

Use them to toss into pasta, slightly chopped, or warm them and spoon them whole onto hot garlic toasts, perhaps with a few filets of good anchovies, and shower them with lots of fresh herbs. They’re also nice served alongside a summer salad with some goat cheese, all drizzled with a bit of the tasty olive oil and juices.


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