Summer is hanging on as hard as it can. For those of us who are bigger fans of fall, we are waiting ever so patiently for the cooler weather to make an appearance for good. These 90 degree days on the horizon are making me sweat just to think about it. It's the time of year for over-sized sweaters, pumpkin mania and hot cocoa. Let's face it, if there were a competition (which I'm pretty sure there's an unspoken one), fall beats out every other season by a landslide. But until then, we have four summer menus left from A Kitchen In France and I am savoring every bite. Although fall flavors might be my favorite, there's something about the freshness and brightness of summer produce. This week's menu is all-encompassing when it comes to summer. From juicy tomatoes to sweet strawberries, these are by far the best flavors of summer.
STARTER: Tomato Tart
When you think of late summer produce, I'm willing to bet the first thing that comes to mind is tomatoes. The juicy, delicious fruit that pretends to be a vegetable pops up all over from farmer's markets to restaurant menus. It's no surprise Mimi would have several summer recipes with tomatoes at the center. This particular dish is no different. The same day I made this tart, I was planning to make another as well and I only have one tart pan. So I used a pie dish instead which is why it didn't turn out very pretty. It made up for looks in flavor though. The tart dough is the same recipe as the Sugared Almond Tart, simple enough to prepare, even for those of us that are baking novices. The rest of ingredients are simple with tomato and basil being the all-star combo. It makes a delicious appetizer and would even be good for a light lunch with a side salad or sandwich.
MAIN: Mustard-Roasted Poussins
I swear the poultry gods hate me because I can never find what I need in the store. This dish calls for four 1.5 pound poussins, aka, a very young chicken and there were zero. So instead I went for the trusty, classic whole chicken. I love how the first time I cooked one of these I said that I'd never do it again and since then I've roasted a whole chicken four more times. Each time has been just as unpleasant as the last but it is what it is. This particular recipe is fantastic. I love a good spicy mustard and the pairing of Dijon and crème fraîche is perfection. Marinating the whole chicken overnight guarantees a flavorful, juicy chicken the next today. The roasted potatoes around it are phenomenal as well. This would be a great dish to serve any time of year.
DESSERT: Strawberries in Wine with Mascarpone Cream
Summer's greatest asset is the berry. Strawberries and cream is a classic dessert that is easy to prepare. Mimi took this to the next level by soaking the strawberries in wine and making a homemade mascarpone cream. It's light and decadent, perfect for summertime. My biggest note would be to choose a red wine that you particularly enjoy. That will make all the difference because if you choose a varietal that may not be your favorite, you won't enjoy it enough.
If you are new to our French Cooking series, check out this post talking about A Kitchen In France and the journey we've embarked on. It's a little bit of Europe here at home until I can catch a one-way flight for infinite travels.