Monday, May 26, 2008

A French picnic!

Last week a friend of mine was feeling a bit down, so on Monday I decided to steal her away from work to enjoy a warm spring afternoon in a park and a simple, fresh French-inspired picnic.

I did a little research on the usual fare for a picnic in France and settled on four items. For starters, I made Provençal rosemary almonds.

Provençal Rosemary Almonds

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cups raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix seasoning into the butter, and then toss in almonds. Bake seasoned nuts for about 10-12 minutes, stirring once, until toasted and fragrant.

Remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

The main dish was a pan-bagnat (or a variation thereof), the traditional sandwich of Nice, based on the Salade Niçoise.


1 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 baguette
1/2 can quality solid white albacore tuna, drained
1/4cup red onion, sliced paper-thin
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced thin
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Tomato slices
Salt and pepper to taste

Split the baguette length-wise and dig out the center to make room for the filling. Rub the garlic all over the inside of the baguette, drizzle on the olive oil along with salt and pepper, to taste.

Layer on lettuce, onion, tomato, tuna, and egg. Add another little drizzle of oil.

Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours.

As a tangy side offering, I also made an easy, fresh cucumber and dill salad.

Cucumber Dill Salad

1 large cucumber, sliced thin crosswise (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon dried dill

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and give it a toss.

Chill a couple of hours, tossing every-so-often, until ready to serve.

Finally, I served it all up with a glass of chilled apple tea. I would much rather have gone with wine, but the local laws of Utah are very oppressive when it comes to alcohol. Thus, one cannot bring it into a public park without the risk of being stoned to death...or getting a ticket after some uptight soccer-mom sicks the cops on you.

Apple Tea

2 bags of black tea (or 3 tsp. loose leaf black tea)
2 cups apple juice, divided

Heat 1 cup apple juice on stove until just simmering. Pour over tea bags/leaves and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags (or strain out the leaves) and add the second cup of cold apple juice, to expedite the cooling of the tea. Chill your tea until cold.
Good food, good company, and a sunny afternoon...nice.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Love how elemental this whole meal is, wonderful.