Besides a perfectly made baguette, brioche is my favorite bread. Brioche is versatile and can be used in a number of savory and sweet applications. The best way to enjoy brioche is lightly toasted with a smear of good salted butter and some fruit preserves. Here at Julia’s I use it for two different dishes. At lunch I use brioche for our croque monsieur which is a ham and cheese sandwich topped with Mornay sauce and lightly browned in the oven. We also serve a version of Tarte Tropezienne, the famous pastry from Saint Tropez in the south of France, which consists of brioche filled with a lightened pastry cream and topped with pearl sugar. Our version consists of two thin slices of brioche lightly brushed with Grand Marnier and topped with vanilla pastry cream and orange zest. For crunch we add a layer of almond crumble in between the two layers. Our Tropezienne is served with vanilla poached apricots and orange-cardamom ice cream.
Bread flour, sugar, salt, milk, yeast, eggs, butter.
Mix flour, sugar, salt, milk, yeast and eggs until dough is formed.
Add softened butter piece by piece until all incorporated.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic and place in a warm spot to rise.
Knock dough back down and place in baking pans. Cover and allow to double in size.
Egg wash the top of risen dough and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Allow to cool completely on a rack.
Our version of the Tarte Tropezienne.
It’s our last night in Paris, so we decided to check out a small restaurant around the corner from our studio that is always busy for dinner, La Mère Michéle. To start we ordered the bacon wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese and the aspic of beef vinaigrette. The figs were roasted and contrasted well with the salty bacon and tart goat cheese. The aspic of beef was delicious! It reminded me of Jambon Persillé, the famous ham terrine of Burgundy. For mains we ordered the roasted salmon with chorizo & roasted vegetables and the roasted Iberico pork shoulder with polenta & piquillo peppers. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a nice flavor from the Spanish chorizo. The Iberico pork was tender and moist with a drizzle of balsamic to give it a nice acid kick. The polenta was tasty too. For dessert we had the Molten chocolate cake with Gianduja ice cream and the strawberry tartare with pistachio & basil. The molten cake was textbook perfect with a good quality Gianduja ice cream. The strawberry tartare was a fun play off of the classic beef tartare. When they first brought it I thought it was beef tartare. The strawberries were ripe and fragrant with a nice herbal note from the basil. To drink we ordered a carafe of of the house white which was a Sauvignon blanc/ Viognier blend from Languedoc. Our dinner at La Mère Michéle was the perfect ending to our food journey here in France.
Bacon wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese
Aspic of beef vinaigrette
Roasted salmon with chorizo and veggies
Roasted Iberico pork shoulder with polenta & piquillo peppers
Molten chocolate cake with Gianduja ice cream
Strawberry tartare with pistachio & basil
Walking through the Latin Quarter we stumbled upon Au Bon Cous Cous for dinner. Surprisingly after almost two months in France, we had not eaten any Moroccan food. Moroccan food, particularly cous cous, is one of the most popular foods in France. To start we ordered the salad maison and the Pastilla. The salad had lettuce, tomatoes, onions, artichoke hearts, olives and potatoes. The Pastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish which consists of saffron braised chicken wrapped in brick dough and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The Pastilla was delicious, kind of a sweet and savory empanada. For mains my wife ordered the chicken cous cous and I had the lamb tagine. My wife’s cous cous came with a roasted chicken leg and the vegetables with broth on the side. My tagine had two large pieces of tender lamb shoulder along with prunes, onions and a hard boiled eggs. Garbanzo beans, soaked raisins and Harissa were served on the side. Two drink we got a half bottle of Moroccan Rosé. This was a nice hearty meal.
Chicken cous cous
Cous cous, garbanzos and raisins
Rosé wine from Morocco
We decided to take a day trip to Reims, best known for its sparkling beverage Champagne. We had a tour booked at Lanson Champagne at three o’clock, so we booked a lunch reservation for noon at La Parenthese. Located in a residential neighborhood, La Parenthese is a small bistro which recently opened in April. We opted for the lunch pre-fixe which includes wine, appetizer, main, dessert and coffee. To start my wife ordered the pork terrine and I ordered the bay shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were dressed in a creamy grain mustard dressing, which was nice and light. For mains we both ordered the pork chops with sauce charcutière. The chops were nicely cooked and the sauce was delicious with grain mustard and cornichons. For dessert we both ordered the chocolate mousse, which was well executed. Overall a very good meal in a nice neighborhood bistro.
Bay shrimp cocktail
House rosé and white wines
Today we decided to try out Chez Raja, a small Indian restaurant around the corner from our studio here in Paris. We ordered: vegetable samosas, tandoori chicken, aloo gobi (cauliflower & potato stew), dal tadka (curried yellow lentils), palak paneer (braised spinach with fresh cheese), basmati rice and naan bread. To drink I ordered an Indian beer. The everything was tasty and well seasoned. However nothing was spicy, not even the hot sauce garnish. The good thing is that my wife can’t eat spicy food, so for her this was perfect.