Boots on the cobblestones. A glass of rosé, pale as a summer sunset, on a terrace overlooking the Seine. A light jacket, or even a scarf, just enough to handle the chill.
To each her own, but for many, late August tapering into September—when the streets begin to fill with locals returning home from vacation and the tourists start to taper off—is the time to be in Paris. Even if you can’t get on a plane this year, there’s no reason not to have an homage right at home. Keep it simple, with as many courses as you want. Start with un apéritif like a glass of wine and a small dish of nuts or olives, and then traipse through the following courses, picking and choosing, as though you’re winding down the evening in the 11th arrondissement. Bon appétit.
L’Entree/ Hors D’oeuvres
Oui, you deserve it. If you’ve found a high-end piece of beef and want to enjoy it in all its glory, consider tartare. (It’s still summer, after all, and do you really want to deal with a stove or grill for every course?) This recipe employs our beautiful Himalayan salt plate, which keeps everything the right temperature and makes it all pretty as a picture.
There’s something so marvelous about starting the meal on a decadent note, even if your plat principal is a simple piece of fish. Why not serve a decadent liver mousse, such as this so-French-it-hurts duck liver number spiked with Armagnac`? It’s easier than you’d think, it’s incredibly unctuous, and it’ll impress the socks off anyone around.
Say it with us, please: There is nearly no wrong way to do mussels. The classic French white wine, garlic, lemon juice and parsley is a knockout. So are curry mussels. But consider these gorgeous saffron mussels, redolent of the white wine and butter you crave, but with a knockout color, to boot. Buy twice as much bread as you think you’ll need, using the cash you saved in treating yourself to such a frugal main course.
There’s a reason whole Parisian restaurant chains are built around this dish. Steak frites is a classic, and this recipe is the one you want. An air fryer makes it a simple, grease-free daydream. Have plenty of red wine handy, and cook enough meat for leftover steak sandwiches tomorrow.
Listen, we don’t want to tell you how to live, but if you have any kids about, you might consider chocolate mousse. At Chez Janou in Paris, a giant bowl of chocolate mousse makes the rounds, table to table. You tell the waiters when to stop scooping. (Sometimes, much to a parent’s dismay, they’ll leave the whole bowl on the table for the kids to decide!) You want something ethereally silky. Consider a mousse spun with olive oil, so the parents can enjoy it equally. The kids will be too busy scarfing it down to notice the sophisticated note.
We know it looks complicated, but this tarte tatin involves a flaky, super-simple storebought puff pastry crust. It features pears, not apples, and since they’re already in season in much of the nation, you should spy them. (If not, even supermarket pears tend to turn glorious in this recipe!) Warm with winter spices like ginger, cloves and cardamon, this is the recipe to make if the weather has rounded the bend into autumn where you are. It’s the flavor equivalent to welcoming Parisians themselves back home to their city.