French Restaurant Menu Recipes

French Onion SoupThe French have an ongoing Affaire de Coeur with food. They are known for the quality of their dishes, and French words like gourmet, cuisine, apéritif, bon appétit, and crème brûlée have become common culinary terms.

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French cuisine is extremely diverse, and ranges from a complex style of cooking, called haute cuisine (splendid meal of many courses served by leading restaurants) to hearty regional dishes made from market-fresh, locally produced ingredients.

Popular French Dishes for Your Dinner Table

For the French, wine and food goes together like ham and eggs, so it is of little surprise that including wine as part of the French dining experience is an absolute necessity.

French bread, especially the long, crusty baguettes, is appreciated worldwide. These breads make great side dished for meals. The experience of biting into a fresh, oven-warm, crusty from the outside and chewy from the inside French bread is hard to pass up.

French Onion Soup
Another must have on a French menu is the famous thick onion soup. Dipped into bread or served on its own, onion soup is a classic French dish that is enjoyed by everyone, and a must on any French restaurant menu.

Foie Gras
One of the most popular French gourmet dishes is pate de foie gras, a liver spread made from the fattened liver of goose or duck, from Perigord in Southwestern France. Foie gras has been a delicacy for centuries, and until today it is one of the most desired dishes worldwide and a menu must-have in every French restaurant.

A French bistro classic is Moules marinières (steamed mussels with white wine sauce, garlic and shallots). Moules marinières are traditionally served with pommes frites (French fries), which can be dipped into the delicious sauce of the mussels.

The French are also famous for their gourmet cheeses, producing almost four hundred different varieties of cheese, more than any other country has to offer. The wide selection includes cheeses made from cow’s, ewe’s or goat’s milk, and range from hard cheese, to soft cheese, over to cheese that is flavored with nuts or herbs. In a typical French restaurant, cheese is served after the main dish and before desert. It is without a doubt a mandatory dish in any French kitchen.

Crème brûlée
French restaurant menu must-haves also include an extensive list of rich desserts, whereby Crème brûlée (French burnt cream) is probably the best-known French dessert.

The French are internationally famous for their gourmet food. In comparison to other European cuisines, the French cuisine uses a more extensive variety of meats such as goose, duck, and turkey as well as hare, roe, wild boar, and domesticated rabbit. Classic French dishes also include brains, eel, little birds like woodcock and thrush, kidneys, sea urchins, and snails. While these latter dishes are typically French, they are nevertheless not classics on a French restaurant menu due to their particularity.

Additional Recipes:

French Onion Soup:

Ingredients (Serves 4, Preparation time: 30 minutes):
4 large onions
1 liter of beef stock
1 tbsp of flour
½ cup Butter

1. Cut the onions into rings and fry them gently in the butter. Let the onions brown gradually. Don’t worry if you see some brown segments on the bottom of your pan, as this is the caramelized sugar from the onions. It will dissolve once the stock is added.
2. Add the flour and stir. It will seem as if the flour has disappeared, but it has been absorbed into the butter. This will give the soup its typical thickness.
3. Add a quarter of the stock and stir. Add another quarter of the stock and stir constantly. Repeat this procedure for the remaining stock.

Crème Brûlée:

Ingredients (Serves 8):
3 pints Heavy Cream
¾ cup Granulated white sugar
¾ tsp. Salt
1½ tsp Vanilla extract
12 Egg yolks

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a flat pan and fill it with ¾" to 1" (2cm to 2.5cm) water and place it on the middle shelf of the oven.
2. In a large mixing bowl, carefully mix the granulated white sugar, salt, vanilla extract and egg yolks.
3. In a saucepan, heat the cream until it is very hot (stir gradually), but don’t let it boil.
4. Pour the hot cream, about 1 cup a time, into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, while whipping quickly. Don’t add the cream too quickly because it will otherwise cook the eggs.
5. After having combined all the ingredients, pour the mixture into eight ramekins or custard cups.
6. The ramekins or custard cups should now be placed in the water bath in the oven, and bake until "firm" (texture of Jell-O). The time varies by the size and depth of the dishes you use, as well as by the material they are made of. Usual time ranges from 25 to 50 minutes.
7. Remove the dishes from the oven and allow them to cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; afterwards cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate until ready for serving.
8. Before serving, remove the crème brûlée from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top.
9. Place the crème brûlée on a fire-proof surface. Sprinkle a thin coating of granulated white sugar on the top of each brûlée.
10. Use a propane blow-torch only to melt the sugar topping until it forms a solid caramel sheet. Try not to burn the sugar, or the custard beneath it.

Allow the creme crème brûlée to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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