Eat Good Food

Vinaigrette Recipe: Classic Dijon Salad Dressing

This classic Dijon vinaigrette is simple and delicious. It is traditionally mixed together in the bottom of a large salad bowl. After it’s made, lettuce and any other ingredients are added to the bowl and gently tossed to completely coat the greens, while leaving any excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl.

Dijon Vinaigrette

Small clove of chopped garlic
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons good olive oil

Salad greens such as endive, bibb, or other leaf lettuces plus fresh tarragon leaves

Wash the greens and dry them well, first in a salad spinner and then by rolling them up in a towel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place a small clove of chopped garlic into a wooden salad bowl, add a pinch of coarse salt and some freshly ground black pepper, and use the back of a wooden salad spoon to mash them into a coarse paste.

Add dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, mix that around a bit, then pour in olive oil and stir together.

Let the vinaigrette sit in the bottom of the bowl until just before serving, then add the salad greens and a few fresh tarragon leaves.

Bring the bowl to the table and toss the salad toward the end of the meal.

Bon appetit!

Cooking, Field Notes

Summer Reading: French Cooking Edition

Take a page from the French and savor the summer with good books and good eats. We have collected a few of our favorite cookbooks that celebrate French cooking, eating, and reading. Bon appétit!

Simple French Food by Richard Olney
Originally published in 1974, Simple French Food has become a classic French cookbook. Richard Olney was an influential American food writer who brought the joys Provençal cooking to the American table. His promotion of local, seasonal ingredients influenced the food movement in California and inspired prominent chefs like Alice Waters, who keeps a copy of this book at Chez Panisse. Simple French Food is as much a work of literature as it as a cookbook. It deserves to become well-worn and cherished, in a kitchen cabinet or tucked away in the living room.

Simple French Food is a training manual for the dedicated home cook. Olney’s words flourish across the pages in deliberate and robust explanations. Appreciating his language is as important as the content of each dish. Within are recipes for braised fennel, squash gratin, crêpe batter, and marinated roast leg of lamb. Some recipes appear simpler than others, though they all maintain the integrity of the Provençal kitchen. An essential addition to any cookbook collection, this is a timeless classic of ingredient-driven cooking.

Tasting Paris by Clotilde Dusoulier
Tasting Paris is a snapshot of the contemporary Parisian foodscape. This modern cookbook offers 100 recipes to eat like a Parisian. Paris native Clotilde Dusoulier writes as if she is sharing a secret with the reader—each page offers advice for finding authenticity in a city notorious for tourist traps. Well-suited for the coffee table, this sizable book transports the reader to Paris through elegant photographs and stories. Tasting Paris is a gentle approach to French gastronomy that encourages you to cook like the locals do.

Dusoulier includes some classic French dishes such as brioche with café au lait for breakfast and duck magret for dinner. Less traditional (but no less delicious) is the potato chip and chive omelet, made famous by Michelin-starred chef Éric Frechon at the Saint-Lazare train station bistro. Even more impressive are the dishes from immigrant communities in the city. Among these are baghrir, Moroccan crumpets served with melted butter and honey, and Turkish lamb served over roasted eggplant and cheese sauce. Together, these recipes create a memorable and flavorful taste of Paris.


Le Picnic by Suzy Ashford
Le Picnic is a playful recipe book that elevates the average picnic to a sophisticated affair. It offers a spread of chic food for on-the-go excursions and afternoons in the sun. Suzy Ashford, an Australian writer and avid Francophile, brings whimsy to the packed lunch with impressive yet straightforward recipes. Le Picnic is both a practical guide for meal prepping and also an excuse to daydream of summer fun and frivolity.

Ashford categorizes her recipes into Le Snack, Food for Sharing, La Salade, Sweet Delights, and La Drink. Some standouts include baked savory figs with goat cheese and walnuts, comté and asparagus tart, salade Lyonnaise, and rosé granita. These recipes are perfect for summer entertaining, whether along the banks of the Seine, in your local park, or on your back patio. Crafting stylish picnic food is a delightful way to spend a summer day with friends.

Find these books and others in our French collection. Happy reading!

Cooking, Eat Good Food

Provençal Vegetable Tian Recipe

A Provençal favorite, the tian is typically a vegetable gratin baked in a ceramic dish. This recipe highlights the best of the summer season with alternating rows of yellow squash, eggplant, and tomato. These simple ingredients are seasoned with thyme, garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil; when cooked, the melded flavors taste somewhat like ratatouille. We baked ours in a Digoin stoneware dish, perfect for serving à table (best at room temperature).

Here’s how to make your own.

Provençal Vegetable Tian
Makes a 9 x 13-inch ceramic dish

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large white or yellow onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium yellow squash
1 1⁄2 pounds small, firm eggplant
1 1⁄2 pounds ripe tomatoes
Basil leaves, to garnish

Cook thinly sliced onions with olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add thyme, chili flakes, and garlic and cook for two minutes.


Cut the squash, eggplant, and tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices.


Spread onion mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch ceramic dish. Arrange the sliced squash, eggplant, and tomato in tightly packed rows. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Add sprigs of thyme.


Bake at 400°, uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for 45 minutes to an hour.


Serve at room temperature and garnish with basil leaves.

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.

Eat Good Food

Aperitif Recipe: SHED’s French 25 Twist

The traditional apéritif, also called an apéro for short, is a French ritual. Before eating dinner (and sometimes lunch), the French like to enjoy a low-alcohol apéritif with friends and family – whether it be a cocktail, liqueur, or wine.

A chance to relax and chat before eating a meal, the apéritif is normally served with light snacks such as olives, cheese and crackers, nuts, or crisps and is an opportunity to whet the appetite before the meal.

It’s common to touch glasses and say “Santé!” (good health!) or “Tchin-Tchin!” (cheers!)

The French 25 is a twist on the classic French 75 apéritif. Created by SHED Beverage and Café Manager Patricia Philitsa, this summer cocktail features Meyer lemon juice and lavender. It’s perfect for a French-inspired afternoon on the terrace.

French 25 Aperitif
Serves 2

1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce oz D’Pampe Vermouth Rosé
3/4 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice (can substitute fresh orange juice)
2 dashes lavender bitters
Sparkling wine
Sprig of lavender

In cocktail shaker, combine Lillet Blanc, D’Pampe Vermouth Rosé, Meyer lemon juice, and lavender bitters.

Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

Strain into chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.

Garnish drink with lavender and serve.

Santé!

Eat Good Food

Pan Bagnat Sandwich Recipe

sandwich

Pan bagnat, or “bathed bread,” is the Provençal sandwich found at every bakery and market in the region. A sandwich in name but packed with tomatoes, local bell peppers, black Niçoise olives, anchovies and tuna, pan bagnat is basically a salade Niçoise on crusty bread. What’s not to like!

Here’s how to make your own.

Pan Bagnat

2 ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1 (5-oz.) can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup arugula
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 rustic baguette, split
1 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced crosswise
8 salt-cured anchovies, briefly soaked to remove salt, then dried
1-2 tbsp Nicoise olive powder
Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt, to taste

Sprinkle tomato slices liberally with salt and transfer to a colander; set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, break up tuna with a fork. In another small bowl, whisk together oil and mustard; set dressing aside.

Scoop the insides from the bread loaf and reserve for another use. Place tomatoes evenly over the bottom of the bread and then top with arugula, fennel, and red onion; spread tuna over top, then top with egg slices, anchovies, and Nicoise olive powder.

Pour dressing evenly over ingredients, and season with salt and pepper; cover with top of bread, pressing lightly. Wrap tightly and allow time for flavors to mingle before slicing in quarters.

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine

Meet the Makers

Coutellerie Ceccaldi Keeps Tradition Alive in Corsica

On the mountainous French island of Corsica, situated in the Mediterranean just north of Sardinia, the Ceccaldi family has been making knives for 40 years. The family trade started with patriarch Jean-Pierre Ceccaldi, but in a way, it started centuries ago. Corsican knives have long been admired for their craftsmanship and utility. One classic style, the elegantly curved shepherd’s knife or curnicciulu, is said to date back to antiquity.

But with the advent of industrialization and mass production, these traditions became endangered. Jean-Pierre studied Corsican knife-making under Paul Santoni, who was one of the last remaining Corsicans who knew the ins and outs of traditional craftsmanship. In 1978 Coutellerie Ceccaldi began production out of Jean-Pierre’s home in the village of Zoza.

Jean-Pierre got his start making traditional shepherd’s knives. Demand for his exquisitely crafted curnicciulu led to expansion—both into new lines of knives, and into a larger workshop in the town of Porticcio. That’s where Jean-Pierre continues to make knives today, and where his sons Sylvestre and Simon have learned the family trade.

The Ceccaldi family’s knife-making practice is still rooted in creativity and craftsmanship today. In addition to traditional shepherd’s knives, they produce kitchen knives, table knives, pocket knives, and cleavers. Ceccaldi knives are hand-forged, then placed in an incredibly hot oven and immediately cooled, a process called quenching. The quenched blades are heated in a low oven to strengthen the steel, then ground and polished. These traditional methods not only lend sharpness and durability, they imbue the knife with character and soul. Their handles are crafted from a wide variety of natural materials, including wood, horn, and precious metals, and often engraved as a special touch.

Ceccaldi’s pursuit of excellence dovetails with our mission to offer high-quality, thoughtful, and beautiful products that will last a lifetime. We consider ourselves fortunate to carry their horn, olivewood, and walnut knives on our website. Ceccaldi’s knives exemplify one of our core beliefs at SHED: that the objects we bring in our home should not only get the job done, they should inspire us every time we use them.