LEFT BANK BISTRO, TABLE FOR TWO
Familiar bistro fare, a menu designed to
celebrate romance, love, or simply the fact that
you're alive and well. With this, try a
Saint-Veran or a Macon-Villages.
SAUCISSON CHAUD POMMES A L'HUILE, Warm Poached
Sausage with Potato Salad
CANARD AUX OLIVES CHEZ ALLARD, Chez Allard's
Roast Duck with Olives
TARTE AUX POMMES A LA CREME, Golden Cream and
Chez Allard's Roast Duck with Olives
Chez Allard one of Paris' longtime popular bistros, has
had this dish on the menu for decades. The recipe comes
from the notebooks of Marthe Allard, the restaurant's
first cook. While many recipes for duck with olives
simply call for olives to be tossed into a warm sauce at
the last minute, this version offers a more intense
reduction of flavors, a subtle blending of herbs, wine,
stock, tomatoes, and delicious green olives---a perfect
sauce to serve with the simplest roast duck. With this,
sample a fruity red, such as a Beaujolais cru, Fleurie.
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (or substitute 1
tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter)
2 pounds (1 kg) chicken wings or backs, cut up
1 duck (about 4 pounds; 2 kg), well rinsed, patted dry,
and trussed, with neck and gizzard reserved
3 onions, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons superfine flour
2 cups (50 cl) dry white wine
2 quarts (2 l) chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 bouquet garni: 12 parsley stems, 8 peppercorns, 1/4
teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed and 1 imported
bay leaf tied in a double thickness of cheesecloth
1/3 cup (8 cl) tomato paste
8 ounces (250 g) brine cured green olives, pitted
2 tablespoons (1 ounce; 30 g) unsalted butter, softened
1. In a large nonreactive stockpot or stovetop
casserole, melt the chicken fat over medium heat. Add
the chicken pieces and reserved duck neck and gizzard.
Cook, stirring over medium-high heat, until golden,
about 8 minutes. Add the onions and cook until softened,
about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook,
stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, stock, bouquet
garni, and tomato paste. Simmer, uncovered, over low
heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the
sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a nonreactive
saucepan; discard the solids.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 quart (1 l) of water to
a boil. Add the olives and boil over high heat for 2
minutes; drain and rinse under cold running water; drain
well. Taste an olive. If it still is very salty, repeat
the blanching. Add the olives to the strained sauce. Set
over low heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is
just thick enough to coat a spoon, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
4. Pierce the duck skin all over with a knife; rub the
skin with the butter. Place the bird, breast side down,
on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C); turn the
duck breast-side up. Continue to roast the duck until
the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a
skewer, about 1 hour more. If you find that the breast
is brown before the bird is cooked through, shield the
breast by covering it loosely with aluminum foil.
5. To serve, carve the duck. Arrange the meat on a large
serving platter and surround it with the green olives
Yield: 8 servings
Tarte aux Pommes a la Creme
Golden Cream and Apple Tart
This beautiful, golden, homey apple tart is a joy.
Typical of the simple fruit tarts one finds in bistros
all over France, this version comes from the Savoy,
where apples and cream can be found in abundance. The
first time I made it my guests wanted to know where I
bought the tart. Was I delighted to tell them it was
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (18.5 cl) creme fraiche (see Index) or heavy
5 tablespoons (60 g) sugar
1 Pate Brisee shell, prebaked and cooled
4 cooking apples such as Granny Smith (about 1 1/2
pounds; 750 g)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°c).
2. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and beat with a
fork. Add the creme fraiche and 3 tablespoons of the
sugar. Mix until well blended. Set aside.
3. Peel and core the apples; cut them in half. Cut each
half into quarters. Starting just inside the edge of the
pastry shell, neatly layer the apple slices-slightly
overlapping them in 2 or 3 concentric circles, working
toward the center. Pour the cream mixture over the
apples. Sprinkle on the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
4. Bake the tart in the center of the oven until the
cream filling is set and the apples are very brown, even
slightly blackened at the edges, about 45 minutes.
Remove to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room
Yield: 8 servings
Saucisson Chaud Pommes A l'Huile Warm
Poached Sausage with Potato Salad
What would bistro food be without steaming,
well-seasoned sausage served alongside warm potatoes
bathed in oil and shallots? This dish always makes me
think of one of my first visits to France, when my
husband and I would sometimes just wander into places
that looked interesting. It was on one of those visits,
after exploring a narrow side street in Lyons, that I
first sampled this dish. It's no wonder that six weeks
later, we left New York and moved lock, stock, and
barrel to France! With the potatoes and sausage, try a
Burgundian white, such as a dry Rully, or Saint-Veran.
If you prefer a red, make it Beaujolais.
1/2 -cup (12.5 cl) extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, finely minced
1 large fresh country-style pork sausage, or several
individual fresh pork sausage links (weighing a total of
about 12 ounces, or 360 g)
1 1/2 pounds (750 g) small new red skinned potatoes,
1/4 cup (6 cl) best-quality sherry wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small handful of fresh parsley
1. Combine the oil and shallots in a small bowl; set
aside. As the shallots marinate in the oil, they will
lose any bitterness.
2. Place the sausage in a saucepan, cover with cold
water, and bring just to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Adjust the heat and simmer gently-do not allow the water
to boil or the sausage casings may burst-until the
sausage is cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. The sausage
may be kept warm in its cooking liquid for up to 30
3. While the sausage simmers, cook the potatoes in
plenty of salted water, just until tender.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar into the oil and shallot
mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Drain the potatoes. As soon as they are cool enough
to handle but are still warm, cut into thin, even
slices. Toss with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the
parsley. Mound in the center of a serving platter.
6. Drain the sausage. Cut into thin, even slices.
Surround the potatoes with the sausage and serve.
Yield: 4 servings