French Cooking Friday: Savory Tartlets, Steak & Chocolate Tarts!

The sun might be shining a little more these days but the air still holds a chill. That means comfort food is still in season and I can’t say I’m mad about it. It provides the opportunity to enjoy tasty bites like what we’ve got for you in this week’s French Cooking Friday! From decadent tartlets to melt-in-your-mouth steak and rich, indulgent chocolate. Each of these dishes are easy to prepare (well, the tart will go smoother if you have baking skills. I struggle.) and they pair together well. Check them out and Happy Friday!

APPETIZER: Cepe and Parsley Tartlets
Tartlets have fast become my favorite appetizer. They’re versatile, easy to make and always tasty. These particular tartlets are quick to whip up and make a nice savory start to a meal. Cepes are a type of mushroom found in Europe but here in the states, especially the Midwestern states, you’re forced to improvise. Any wild mushroom will do fantastic. I love using shiitake mushrooms when Mimi has a recipe that calls for cepes or a wild mushroom mix. If those are still hard to come by, portobellos or bellas will be just as tasty.

Store-bought puff pastry dough is one of the best things ever invented. Considering how many times I’ve had to use this stuff while cooking through A Kitchen In France, I should buy stock in it. Sometimes it can be tricky to find but as long as you can get the kind that unfolds or comes in square form, you’ll be set. Dough is not my personal specialty. I don’t have the patience for it and it doesn’t have the tolerance for me. So don’t be embarrassed to give in to store-bought help.

MAIN: Grilled Entrecote a la Bordelaise
Translation: steak with a bone marrow sauce and sauteed shallots. Now, before I lose you with the bone marrow, I have to confess that I didn’t actually do that part. I would have though! I couldn’t find the ingredients that I needed. Bone marrow is actually a fantastic ingredient. If you can buy bones at your grocery store or butcher, do it! The marrow in the bone lends incredible flavor to things like soup and pasta gravy. That extra level of richness takes your cooking to the next level and has everyone asking for the recipe. Since I wasn’t able to grab all the ingredients I needed, I seared the steaks in butter in a cast-iron skillet and topped them with shallots. No marrow unfortunately but they were still quite tasty.

SIDE DISH: Butternut Gratin
This was the star of the show. I had butternut squash haters eating this. Similar in theory to a traditional potato gratin, this version is a bit sweeter with a nice salty kick. Butternut squash and onions come together with heavy cream, butter, brown sugar and delicious Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a weakness of mine. It’s so tangy and salty, the perfect cheese to pair with an otherwise sweet dish. Regardless the time of year, this is a side dish for any dinner menu.

DESSERT: Chocolate Tart
It can take me two or three times to whip up desserts, especially ones that need dough. I got this one on the first try though. The tart dough for this recipe is a little different than a traditional kind. Almond flour lends a little bit more graininess and flavor. It’s also a heavier dough so it’s more sturdy but at the same time, not as pliable as you’d like a dough to be. The chocolate filling is simple to prepare as well. Melted chocolate, cream and a few other ingredients blend together for a rich dessert everyone will love. I suggest a very small sliver of this at a time. The chocolate is rich and becomes almost overpowering in excess. Then again, this is coming from someone without a sweet tooth.

Catch up on our French Cooking Series HERE. In case you’re new or haven’t had a chance to read about our journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorrisson, read our very first post HERE.