French Cooking: Gazpacho, Tuna Rillettes & A Sausage Roll

Now that we've successfully finished spring (finally), we can celebrate the remainder of summer with summertime recipes. Having already cooked through most of the meals, I can say with completely certainty that the flavors are out of this world. From sweet berry-centric desserts to hearty pork roasts, this section has quite a few tasty numbers. If you're catching up, learn about my journey cooking through Mimi Thorisson's A Kitchen In France here.

Summer, especially the beginning and end of the season, is the prime time for produce. Anything you can think of is in season and as you get closer to the end, it holds the promise of cooler weather, comforting meals and heartier veggies like squash and pumpkin. Now that we're in August, tomato season is upon us which has made whipping up a few of these summer dishes a treat. Nothing is better than a tomato in the prime of its season. A little salt and it's delicious raw. Try eating it like a fruit one day. You might be surprised to find that it's actually quite tasty.

The first menu for summer is a long one. We have an appetizer, starter, main dish and dessert that each equally shine on their own. I'm a bit partial to the Tuna Rillettes. I wasn't sure how they would turn out, especially since I couldn't find fresh tuna steaks and used the canned variety instead. I know, I know...it's not ideal but sometimes you've got to improvise. Let's get started, shall we?

APPETIZER: Tuna Rillettes
The tuna mixture is rich and decadent thanks to my new best friend, crème fraîche. The tuna is meant to be prepared by steaming it over a boiling pot of water. Since there wasn't any tuna available at the store, I was left to work with the canned variety. I recommend White Albacore but work with whatever you can get. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and voila. You can either serve it on toasted baguette slices or just a sliced baguette like I did. It was scrumptious. I love eating it for a snack in the afternoon.

STARTER: Almond Gazpacho
This was interesting to say the least. Gazpacho is supposed to be chunky and full of tomatoes. This was smooth and there were no tomatoes. It was a cool, refreshing, kind of sweet cold soup that I am honestly still deciding how I feel about it. The amount of preparation that went into this no-cook soup for the lack of excitement I felt didn't feel quite worth it but everything is worth a shot at least once. 

MAIN: Lyonnaise Sausage Roll
Where to start...the brioche that I handmade was well worth all of the labor and sticky dough hands. It was buttery and delicious and eggy, exactly how I LOVE my bread. This was easy enough to prepare on a weeknight. All it takes is a simple bread recipe and cooked sausage. I couldn't not find anything resembling Lyonnaise Sausage at the store so I substituted Italian sausage and doubled up. I should have tripled though for more meat. It was quite tasty and something I would definitely make in the winter.

DESSERT: Cherry Clafoutis
At first glance, this looks delicious but knowing the cherries have their seeds was a tad worrisome. As soon as you take the first bite, the game is changed. It's like a gigantic pancake that tastes like cake with delicious baked cherries in every single bite. The seeds are easy to get rid of too. What's best is that this is so simple to make. The pie recipe is simple and you could substitute whatever fruit you'd like for the cherries. It puffs up a lot in the oven but it will deflate slightly after cooling so don't be alarmed.

Summer is off to a great start and if I manage to stay on schedule, we won't be pushing it into fall. How about them apples? The following four meals are just as fantastic as this one, some even more. There are also a ton of desserts so stick around every Friday the next few weeks. Happy eating!