13 French Foods You Should Know About That Aren’t a Croissant
French food: the impossibly rich cuisine that seems to make you chic just by eating it. Or at least that’s what we imagine. Although we like to think we know all about French cuisine thanks to some mid-century expats, I had an inkling that there was more to it than escargot and crepes. So I asked my Parisian partner what some classic dishes were that Americans were likely to never have tried. After he presented me with an extensive list, I narrowed it down to these 13 recipes that are emblematic of a country with a rich and delicious gastronomy, most of which is based off a love of fresh ingredients. Click through for a taste, and bon appétit!
Galette Bretonne: Surprise, there's more than one kind of crepe in France! While we're all familiar with the thin, sweet, white pancakes slathered in Nutella, there's a buckwheat version that's been waiting in the wings for us to discover. Hailing from Brittany, this nutty, grainy crepe is widely enjoyed with some combination of meat, cheese, and mushrooms. Often there's a fried egg that lands in the middle to complete that beautiful presentation that all French dishes are known for. (via Aime & Mange)
Steamed Mussels: If you ever find yourself in the South of France, you'll likely come across moules frites. Meaning "mussels with fries," this dish is gorgeous in its simplicity. You can choose between white and red sauce for your mussels, but regardless of your choice, the salty scent of the sea pairs exquisitely with unsalted fries for the most upgraded fast food experience you’ll ever have. (via Local Milk)
Bouillabaisse: Provençal fish soup in tomato saffron broth, bouillabaisse is a celebration of fresh seafood at its finest. This stew highlights the bounty of the sea through the typical flavors of the region: garlic, saffron, olive oil, and tomatoes. You’ll have a hard time deciding whether it's the delicate broth or the big chunks of seafood that are the best part. (via Family Style Food)
Navarin d'Agneau: Navarin or mutton is associated with springtime, and for the French, one of the most classic and comforting ways to prepare it is by turning it into a ragout with turnips, pearl onions, and carrots. Because this is French, don’t forget to top the stew with a handful of parsley. (via Cuisine d’Ici Et d’ISCA)
Paupiettes De Veau: Think of these as spiced pockets of veal. The delicate spices that scent the meat teeter on the verge of overpowering, yet somehow things manage to find an exquisite balance to make each bite better than the last. (via Panier De Saison)
Cassoulet: Cassoulet is yet another hearty dish to come out of France’s cookbook. Okay, maybe it’s not originally French; historians have found record of a cookbook with a form of Arabic cassoulet that's believed to have been brought to France in the seventh century. Regardless, by now this herby meat and bean stew has reached iconic status. However, there's still no consensus on the recipe. "Classic" cassoulet will contain everything from duck to short ribs to sausage. Really, this uncertainty is great, because it gives you license to play with the recipe until you find one that's exactly how you like. (via Bacon Is Magic)
Magret De Canard À L’Orange: Duck in France is as commonplace as chicken in America. It just happens to be far more delicious, especially when it's seared at high temperatures and drizzled with a sweet and slightly bitter orange sauce. You’ll find yourself reconsidering your preconceptions about what fowl can be. (via Mon Petit Four)
Fondue Au Mont D’Or: Fondue is essentially a bowl full of melted cheese and wine. Although delicious, it's not terribly light, which makes it the ideal dish for cold nights. Originally from the Alps, fondue can be made with many kinds of cheese, but Mont D’Or — if you can find it — is a delicious option. Add walnuts and rosemary for flavor and textural interest. All you’ll need to complete the meal is some bread. Make sure it’s the highest quality you can find so it won't ruin your decadent meal. (via Aime & Mange)
Tartiflette: Nothing can go wrong when you’re presented with a casserole full of creamy potatoes, ooey gooey cheese, and bits of bacon. In fact, it's possible that tartiflette is France’s solution to bad days; you can’t help but be happy when you take a bite! The key to this recipe is that you use a hefty amount of soft, nutty Reblochon. If you can’t find any, Brie or Camembert will do, but it just won’t be the same. (via Simply Delicious)
Gratin Dauphinois: Gratin dauphinois is basically creamy scalloped potatoes. It holds such an esteemed position in France’s gastronomy that there are arguments over how to properly make it. If you want to side with the purists who adhere to Escoffier’s 1903 recipe, you best be ready for some heavy fare. Real cream, real cheese, and a whole lot of potatoes are used. (via Jujube en Cuisine)
Blanquette de Veau: Unlike in America, veal is a common thing to appear at the table in France. In this particular recipe, however, vegetables are featured with a cream sauce and the veal is incorporated to accent the dish rather than be the star of the show. (via C’est Moi Qui l’a Fait)
Sauté De Veau À La Moutarde: By now you’ve probably realized that veal is used in a lot of classic dishes. This one features the meat dressed in mustard, white wine, and herbs and is left to slowly roast to render the flesh even more tender than one could possibly imagine. It’s a bit like what Americans do to barbecue when we roast low and slow. (via Papilles & Pupilles)
Pot Au Feu: Pot au feu is beef stew. Simple, satisfying, and typical of almost every region in France, it's a great recipe to have in your back pocket when you want to feel très fancy but aren’t willing to wade through the 30 steps required to prepare many French dishes. (via Chef Nini)
What other classic French dishes have you tried? Tell us your favorites @BritandCo.