This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was filled with conflict and confusion. Starting with the title. I initially thought it was a sweet potato side. Turns out, this Breton version of potato pudding is both salty and sweet, the sweet component contributed by prunes. The potatoes are just regular white potatoes, not sweet potatoes.
Anyone who knows how things roll in my kitchen knows that prunes weren’t going to go over with my dear husband. I wasn’t so sure how they would go over with me either. Prunes with potatoes and bacon does sound a little weird. I went for His and Hers. Half with prunes (Hers) and half without (His).
This was relatively easy to put together. You start by crisping some bacon lardons. Then, you make a simple custardy batter, grate some potatoes, and stir them into the batter. Finally, you add bacon and chopped prunes. Because I’d heard from some of the other Doristas that the final dish was lacking something, I stirred a quarter pound of grated Emmenthaler cheese into the batter.
I loved how the potato pudding puffed up and crisped on the outside. When I divided the potato far into two smaller dishes, I didn’t adjust the cooking time. It might have been a little too much, though it still tasted good.
Because I wasn’t sure how this would go over, I was hesitant to serve it as the main course. Instead, I roasted chicken thighs and served the potato far as a side dish.
The prunes weren’t terrible, but to me, they were a little jarring with the other flavors. I would have preferred more bacon and cheese and no prunes. Howard liked his pruneless version. However, I don’t think potato far, sweet, salty, or otherwise, will be making a repeat appearance chez moi. It just wasn’t interesting enough.
The opinions of this one are bound to be feisty. Check them out by following the links here. If you’re curious and want to try it, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.
Thanksgiving falls between now and the next French Friday, so to my Dorista friends, I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope your table is laden with a delicious feast and that the seats are filled with the ones you love. Enjoy the holiday!
To me, asparagus means spring has arrived. Local asparagus where I live doesn’t arrive until late spring, early June, usually, but with Easter this weekend, asparagus is abundant at the store this week, and on sale.
The recipe for French Fridays with Dorie this week is Asparagus with Bits of Bacon. This was a relatively simple side dish. Boiled asparagus tossed in a light citrusy dressing and topped with bacon and onion. Whoa!
When I cook asparagus, it’s usually steamed in the microwave and served plain, so this was much fancier. This recipe said to boil the asparagus in salted water, so I followed suit. I have to admit that the asparagus spears stayed a nice bright green and looked prettier than when they’re microwaved, so I’ll have to remember that.
The bacon is fried until crisp, and then chopped into bits. Then, you warm chopped onion and the bacon bits in some of the bacon fat. You aren’t supposed to cook the onion, but I really didn’t like the flavor of raw onion, so I just let the onion bits soften completely. The only bacon I could find was maple-flavored. I was nervous the final dish would have an off flavor, but it wasn’t noticeable.
Of course, the dilemma for me is always was to serve with the side, especially on with so much personality. The asparagus, with all the bacon, could almost have been the main course, I wasn’t sure how to round out the plate. I ended up going with something more traditional, leaving the bacony veggie as a side. Nigella Lawson helped me out. I had a porky meal with her Mustardy Pork Chops as the entrée, and her Rapid Roastini (sautéed gnocchi) for the starch.
I liked the asparagus, but if I made it again, I’d use less bacon to lighten it up. Otherwise, it was a nice change from plain veg.
Check out the other Dorista’s asparagus experiences here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. It’s definitely worth adding to your library.
Next week’s French Friday recipe is a little controversial, Sardine Rillettes. I’ll admit up front that I’m looking forward to it, but tune in next week to see if it lives up to my anticipation.