August 14, 2012

My Big Fat French Salad & More Cowgirl Party Foods {Naptime Entertaining}

Ellise Pierce's Big Fat French Salad via The Naptime Chef

While in Cooperstown I’ve been catching up on my cookbook reading (they are stacked on my nightstand like novels) and trying out new recipes while entertaining friends. One book that has really caught my eye recently is Cowgirl Chef, Ellise Pierce’s new book about Texas cooking with a French accent. It is based on her popular blog of the same name. As you might guess, Ellise is a native Texan current living Paris and combines cooking styles from her youth with those of her current home in the City of Lights.

Stuffed Zucchini from Cowgirl Chef via The Naptime Chef

The cool thing about Ellise’s style is how she deftly combines two diverse cuisines yet keeps the recipes manageable for the home cook. We have already enjoyed the Cornbread Madeleines, Stuffed Zucchini, Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Slice and Bake cookies, and her Big Fat French Salad. Next on my list is her Green Chili-Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes (mmm…spicy!), and Chocolate Peanut Butter Souffles. When you read through the book you realize that in many ways French-Texan fusion really works. Who wouldn’t love the addition of spice to their favorite vegetable (she puts chipotle crema on her cauliflower!), or classic American peanut butter to their favorite traditional French dessert? Maybe this is just my baby belly talking, but I love her Texan twists on French classics.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies via The Naptime Chef

I put this in my Naptime Entertaining column because after cooking from the book I discovered that a lot of these recipes are superb for entertaining. For example, the stuffed zucchini were ideal when another couple came for dinner last week, and the slice and bake cookies served a crowd over the weekend. I even once doubled the recipe below and took it with me to a party as our dish to pass. It was a huge hit. I’ve also just made the regular portion for our family of 3 ½ and it was a perfectly satisfying main course. Though this salad leans more toward the French cuisine side of things I love how it maintains a Texas bent with the bacon and slightly spicy dressing.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I chat with Ellise and give away a copy of her awesome new book. You’ll love her take on approaching French cuisine in cowgirl boots!

Recipe

Ellise’s Big Fat French Salad

adapted from Cowgirl Chef by Ellise Pierce

Serves 2 to 4 adults – recipe doubles/triples well

Ingredients

½ pound red-skinned potatoes cut into 2-inch pieces
8 slices bacon
6 tablespoons fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 head of romaine lettuce, cut into 2-inch strips
1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper

Dressing:

1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
¾ cup grapeseed oil

salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread them evenly on the lined cookie sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes, then nudge around with a wooden spoon to flip over. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Cook the bacon on the stovetop and set aside. Break into small pieces when cooled.

3. Place the salad in a large bowl and add the crumbled bacon, warm potatoes, goat cheese, and halved tomatoes. Then, snip any fresh herbs you’d like (chives, thyme, basil, and/or parsley all taste great) over the salad.

4. To make the dressing combine all the ingredients in mason jar, seal a lid securely on top and shake vigorously. Drizzle it over the salad, toss and serve.

 

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Ellise serves the goat cheese on toasted baguette slices instead of crumbled into the salad. But since there was already bread in another part of our meal I opted to skip the baguettes. Do what pleases you most!

Naptime Stopwatch

15 minutes prep, 40 minutes cook time

Naptime Reviews

This was a huge hit with our friends and just as our home dinner salad. We’ll be adding this to our every repertoire!