Best Laid Plans
My husband is the first man I ever really loved. I’m not sure if that is sweet or just plain sad given that we didn’t start dating until I was 33. While I endured many obsessions, flirtations and well documented humiliations, none would qualify as love. But nonetheless, this is the truth. My mother claims my dad as her only love so I feel as if I’m in good company.
On Sunday, we celebrated our sixth month wedding anniversary. Ryan claims that this milestone doesn’t qualify as an anniversary, but I decided to make a special dinner to celebrate anyway. Given our love for Paris, I chose a French theme to incorporate two of our favorite dishes from the honeymoon – Sole Meuniere and Crepes. Ryan’s love for crepes actually challenged his love for ice cream during our visit and we became frequent customers of the hundreds of crepe stands that line the streets of Paris. His favorite is nutella, so nutella it will be.
Following a few hours of writing on Sunday morning, I headed to DiBruno Brothers for the remaining ingredients I needed – nutella, crème fraiche, lemons, spring mix, goat cheese, and a French baguette. Our friend Liz was gracious enough to donate a bottle of French white wine to the occasion as well.
And just as I was getting to prepare this lovely meal, my husband came home and went right to bed because he wasn’t feeling well. Obviously there would be no dinner together. Without any cable or internet or a functioning DVD player in the living room, I decided to make the salad and a couple of crepes anyway while I read a good book. Hopefully we will get a do-over on this one. Feel better Ry.
Easy Sole Meuniere (Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready
Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.
Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish filets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they’re done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.
My Nutella Crepes
- Crepe batter mix (I cheated and bought the mix because I’m on a writing deadline and needed to speed up the process).
- As much nutella as you like
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche
- Two handfuls of toasted almonds dusted with raw sugar for garnish
Blend crepe mix, eggs and butter then transfer to a bowl and let it stand, covered, for one hour. Heat a crepe pan and brush the pan lightly with the butter, heat the pan until it is hot and then remove it from the heat. Stir the batter, half fill a 1/4 cup measure with it, and pour the batter into the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan quickly to cover the bottom with a thin layer of batter and then turn the pan to the heat, loosen the edge of the crepe until the underside is browned lightly. Add couple of tablespoons of nutella, turn the crepe, brown the other side lightly and transfer the crepe to a plate. Make crepes with remaining batter in the same manner, brushing with butter as necessary. Top with crème fraiche (or whipped cream or vanilla ice cream) and garnish with the toasted almonds before serving.
**The crepes may be made in advance, stacked, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled for up to 3 days or frozen.
Goat Cheese Salad
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 4-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese, each halved crosswise, halves pressed to 1/2-inch thickness
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ baguette
- Mixed baby greens
Place garlic and oil in small glass measuring cup or ramekin. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 30 seconds. Transfer garlic to small bowl. Reserve oil. Using fork, coarsely mash garlic. Add basil, vinegar, and mustard to mashed garlic. Whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in reserved garlic oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature and rewhisk before using.)
Mix first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Toast goat cheese on small baguette slices to make cheese rounds. Bake cheese rounds at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to plate. Place greens in large bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Add 3-4 cheese rounds to each plate. Serve.