So my good friend Catherine from high school and I were supposed to go out for a French meal last night (we had quite the jaunt in Paris back in college). But after racking my brain and the internet for an affordable little joint that was potentially BYOB, I came up with...nothing. Because this place does not exist here. I know, I know, Ivo and Lulu, but really? Take a look at their menu and tell me what you would order. This is a challenge. I dare you.
Long story short, I ended up offering to just whip something up at my place. It'd be a heck of a lot cheaper and every menu I had looked at was lacking what I essentially craved. A warm goat cheese salad, chevre chaud. Plus, this dish was somewhat sentimental to my dinner guest and I as we shared this meal on her first day with me in Paris at my all time favorite bistro, Le Comptoir du Septième. So, menu? Done.
I ran through Manhattan Fruit Exchange (If you're like me and can't seem to make it to the Union Square Farmer's Market...ever...go here. Their selection and prices are phenomenal.) on my way out of Chelsea Market and picked up a box of baby greens, a shallot, a boucheron of goat cheese, and a round of Camembert. Quick stop in Amy's Bread for a baguette, and I was on my way home.
The vinaigrette was easy. Finely diced shallot, a touch of grated garlic, plenty of dijon mustard, a splash of white balsamic, and a stream of olive oil until it emuslified into a golden bowl of deliciousness. I then sliced my boucheron in two and slipped them into an egg white bath and straight into a dish of panko breadcrumbs. Back in the fridge they went to chill before my guest arrived. Thinly sliced bosc pear was also added to my salad bowl.
As soon as she walked in the door, two bottles of wine in hand (a bottle of Simi Sauvignon Blanc and an Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon -- smokey and sweet. Get this.), I seared my goat cheese "cakes" in a pan with a touch of olive oil until I could see the cheese begin to ooze. Then off the heat they went and straight onto a plate with a heaping mound of salad (apologizing in advance for picture quality).
As Catherine (one of the ultimate story tellers) recounted her most recent trip à Paris, we cut into our boucheron cadeauxs (goat cheese gifts) of gooeyness, loaded our forks with greens and some pear, and allowed the flavors of France to transport us back. Simple, easy, and always a crowd pleaser. We sipped, munched, and sipped a heck of a lot more into the night at my little French BYOB bistro. 'Cause ya know, if you build it...
Viva la France!