Let’s Eat Paris!

Do you know someone who’s a Francophile, or who loves to eat and cook, or just a history buff?

Preferably, you know someone who has all these admirable passions and qualities (ahem)…. If so, you might consider gifting them this amazing book, Let’s Eat Paris!

 

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This encyclopedic tome exists in both French and English.
The author, François-Régis Gaudry, is no stranger to French cooking. A longtime fixture on the culinary scene here, he’s a journalist and restaurant critic. His radio and television shows are known nationwide.
But please don’t imagine coming to Paris, buying the book, and carting it around in a suitcase during your European tour. Weighing in at 2 kilos (4-½ pounds), you’re better off ordering this tome from a bookstore and having it shipped, while you flirt your way around the Continent, footloose and cinderblock-free.
The 400-page book contains all manner of useful information: tidbits of gastronomic history, the people who fashioned the Parisian food scene from the ground up, and several of today’s movers and (cocktail) shakers. Food trends, favorite addresses, a “best-of” list for the city’s most amazing egg-mayo and other succulent French classic dishes: it’s all here.
francois regis gaudry
Photo Marielle Gaudry
But wait, there’s more! (Just when you thought I wasn’t trying to sell you a Vitamix….)
ersonally, a book about food without recipes isn’t any book, in my book.

This one, then is really a food book, because it has 88 classic recipes, including this one for a so-easy-it’s-ridiculous watercress soup.

The page shown here (right) explains a little of what French soups are all about.

In my family, we make this soup all winter long, and at least twice a month. It comes together quickly, and goes down even faster when we add a generous dollop of crème fraiche – or a swirl of heavy cream, either is delicious – over the top.

It really is the simplest of soups.

Simplest Watercress Soup

ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter

1 medium onion (225 g), finely sliced

4 cups (1 liter) vegetable or chicken stock, optional

14 ounces (400 g) Russet, Idaho, or other high-starch potatoes, peeled and placed in a bowl of water to wait

1 bunch of watercress (about 7 ounces or 200 g), stems cut off, leaving only 2 inches (5 cm) of leaves at the top and washed

2 teaspoons salt, white pepper to taste

garnish:

1 extra pat of butter for each bowl

1 large dollop crème fraiche per person, or more to taste

how to make it:

  1. Heat the butter in a medium soup pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook gently and without browning, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add 4 cups (1 liter) of water or stock and bring to a boil. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
  3. Carefully add to the boiling water the potatoes and the watercress.
  4. Add salt, and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.
  5. Purée the soup using an immersion blender (or cool and use a blender). If it seems too thick, add a bit of water and stir.
  6. When ready to serve, heat the soup gently, serve in bowls, and add butter and cream. Or have these ingredients directly on the table so guests can help themselves.

Serves 3-4 as a starter, 2-3 as a main course with bread

 

 

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Watercress Soup