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ahhh… Paris

Paris is truly an amazing city.  I guess there are those people out there who don’t care to visit but I LOVE IT!  I don’t know how you can’t.  It is so beautiful and there are so many different things to explore.  Do you like art?  Do you like history?  Do you like architecture? Do you like leisurely strolls along the river? Do you like food?  Everyone has to like at least one of those things, right?

People will complain sometimes that Parisians aren’t friendly.  Well, there are people everywhere that aren’t friendly, not just in Paris.  And all those people who complain about the “unfriendliness” of the Parisians… do you even try to speak French?  Do you walk up and say, “Hello” or do you walk up and say, “Bonjour?”  Just that little difference will go a long way.  Add, “Parlez-vous anglais” (Do you speak English) and a whole new world might open up for you.  And don’t forget your “s’il vous plaît” (please) and “merci” (thank you’s).  I’m not trying to lecture, I’m just trying to help you get the most out of your visit.  Just a little effort really will make a big difference.

Now on to my favorite part of Paris… the food!

In general I wanted classic, everyday French food.  The very first thing I ordered, at the very first restaurant, on the very first night was steak tartare.  It was wonderful.  The difference is that I’m used to having it as an appetizer in the US and it is a meal in Paris, complete with salad and fries.  img_1464

The next day was a Croque Madame from a bistro recommended to us by the concierge at our hotel, Le Compas.  It was the best croque madame I had the whole time I was in France (and I ate quite a few).img_1477

Of course we ate way too many macarons over the course of our visit… but I think it’s required.  Someone told me that.  In Paris, we got them from Ladurée.

And I got a traditional jambon et beurre from Café de Flore (the café frequented by Hemingway).  Yes, that is two of my very favorite things: ham and butter- and only those two things- on a sandwich.img_1892

For our “fancy” dinner we went to a little restaurant near the Eiffel Tower called Mariette.  It was AMAZING!  I recommend anyone going to Paris or anyone living in Paris eat at this restaurant.  Not only is the food spectacular but the owners make the entire experience.  The husband is the chef and the wife is the hostess/server.  I can’t say enough good things about this place just please go!  It was the best meal we had in France. And I said it was a fancy restaurant but that is because I wanted to wear my fancy dress.  The atmosphere is sophisticated but laid back at the same time.  Again, I don’t know how to explain how great it is, just please go.

My food pictures from Mariette didn’t turn out great, which is a shame.  They don’t do the food justice AT ALL.  But, the owners were so nice that they explained how to make some of the dishes we had.  I took notes…

…and I went for it.  I tried to recreate my dinner from Mariette at home.  And it wasn’t too shabby. When we were there, I had a delicious Pollack served on a bed of zucchini noodles with beurre blanc (a white butter sauce).  Delicious!

Mariette’s Pollack

I just couldn’t get that delectable sauce out of my head.  The zucchini and the fish were pretty easy to prepare at home.  I went to Whole Foods to ask about Pollack.  They didn’t have any but said it is similar to Cod.  I was thinking Halibut would be great because, when is Halibut not great.  But it is always so pricey.  Then the knowledgeable guys at Whole Foods suggested I try Blue Hoki.  They said it was in between Halibut and Cod and bonus- it was the least expensive of the three!

So, I spiraled my zucchini with a handy little tool I picked up at Target.  To cook, I heated some butter and olive oil in a pan.  Once heated, I dropped in the zucchini, sprinkled with salt and pepper and tossed with tongs.  Only took about 4 minutes.img_3136

I seasoned both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.  I cut each fillet in half but only to fit in the pan easier.  To cook the Hoki, I heated a drizzle of olive oil in a pan on med-high to high heat.  Placed the fish skin side down and cooked for about 4 minutes then flipped and cooked for about another 4 minutes.img_3137

To make Beurre Blanc you put some shallots and wine in a little sauce pan and let the wine reduce.

I was nervous I didn’t mince my shallots small enough so I removed a portion of them (making sure to press any reduced wine out so I wouldn’t lose any flavor).img_3142

Then, you whisk in cold butter one piece at a time.  (I don’t think I needed to cut my pieces that small)

Add a pinch of Herbes de Provence and a dash of Paprika and you are ready to go…img_3147

On your plate, put a little mound of zucchini and top with fish.  Then, drizzle the beurre blanc over the fish and around the edge of the plate.  If you want to make it look extra pretty, sprinkle some paprika on the sauce for extra color.

I know my photo below isn’t great.  I told you from the beginning I’m not a food photographer, I take pictures with my phone.  Well, I took one picture and was trying to take a much better one… hitting the button, nothing happened … hitting the button, nothing happened… “Storage Full.”  Oh well, still tasted fantastic.

My Blue Hoki

Beurre Blanc

Makes about 2/3 cups

2 T finely minced Shallots
2/3 cup White Wine (such as Chardonnay)
Salt & Pepper
Squeeze of a Lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) of cold Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
Pinch of Herbes de Provence
Dash of Paprika

Heat the shallots and wine in a small saucepan.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper and squeeze a little lemon juice in.
Continue to simmer until the wine is reduced by 3/4. There will only be about a tablespoon or two of liquid left.
Turn the heat off or very, very low and begin to whisk in the cold butter one piece at a time.
Just before the first piece of butter melts completely, begin whisking in the next piece.
After most or all of the butter is mixed in, sprinkle in the herbs and paprika. Whisk to combine.
Drizzle sauce over fish.

This is delicious and goes wonderfully with a variety of seafood.

Bon Appetit!

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