This soup is a treat for the cooler days. It makes for a light dinner or a first course for a dinner party. It appeals to the diner in you. In Paris it is a quintessential bistro staple.
Whenever I am in Paris I have to have French onion soup. It’s usually my first meal. I am jet-legged and just want a light, comforting, tasty, and very French meal. The restaurant has to be right around the corner from my lodging. I am so happy just to be in Paris after a long flight. If the sun is shining, I like sitting at a small table in an outdoor cafe enjoying my surroundings.
That was the case this last time when I visited Paris in late August. (Click here to read more about Paris.) Everything was just the way I like it, except the onion soup. It was horrible—the broth had no depth, it tasted like dishwater with vinegar added. This prompted me to try my hand at making my own onion soup. Why not? Years ago, I made Julia Child's recipe from her book Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Unfortunately, I have no memory of it. I do remember making my own broth by roasting beef bones. This time I choose to use organic beef broth from Trader’s Joe’s. The soup was excellent but I think it would be even better with homemade stock. For vegetarians, you can substitute vegetable stock. If you choose to make it this way, add some juniper berries and one star anise for additional flavor.
Whatever broth you use, make sure the onions are cooked slowly and caramelized. This is how you get the rich intense flavor, making this soup a savory delight. My main taster (my one and only) loved the soup. His only request was to add more cheese and maybe cut the toast into bite-sized pieces. I will give him more cheese, but the toast stays in one piece or cut in half.
Time has been flying by. We have had some beautiful fall weather here in Santa Cruz. The fires around us have been polluting the air making it hard to breath. My heart goes out to all the people that experienced pain and suffering.
I have been cooking simple meals like baked salmon with broccoli and my German green sauce. I made my quinoa salad and baked shrimp with feta for my monthly book club. I also baked my banana bread and I made my lentil salad for my girlfriend’s Open Studio. Cooking always improves my life.
This soup serves two as a main course or four as a starter using smaller heat-proof bowls. The soup will improve by sitting in the fridge for a day or two. If it is too thick, add water. Finish with the toast and cheese before serving.
The caramelized onions by themselves are a treat and can be served many different ways—on hamburgers, sausages, or bruschetta.
It is best to cook this soup in a heavy four-quart covered saucepan. I keep some leftover baguette slices in my freezer. I used a grated mixture of Gruyère but many recipes use Comté cheese. A mixture of Swiss and Gruyère will also work.
I will always love Paris even though every time I return it seems to get a little bit noisier with more tourists. But that is just the way it is. So, it is important to stay away from the masses by finding passages or side streets that are less traveled.
We walk and walk and walk , in-between we take a break on a bench or in a cafe , resting and watching the people.
It was still August when we arrived and many of our favorite restaurants were closed but we discovered some new places and had some wonderful meals. We had our first dinner at Le Grand Colbert where the oysters were great. It was a pleasant evening with a satisfying meal. We slept well on our first night. This is the place were the the mesmerizing birthday cake scene in “Something Gotta Give” was filmed.
The next day we had dinner at the old Brasserie Le Dome Cafe in Montparnasse. This is a fish restaurant and I understand their Sole Meunier is outstanding but we shared a plate of fruits of the ocean ( plateau fruits de mer) with a nice bottle of muscatel.
Near Le Halles is E. Dehillerin, my favorite kitchen store, a heaven for foodies. You want a mandolin specifically for slicing truffles, they have it. Whenever I am in Paris I have to go to this iconic store where Julia Child bought her copper pots. They have everything and more and they will ship. I still use my crepe pan I bought twenty years ago.
Another night we ate at La Fontane De Mars which is a retro style bistro with an old fashion ambiance. The cuisine is traditionally bistro style food . The menu is vast with daily menus on the blackboard. I especially enjoyed my Floating Island Dessert ( Ile Flottante) . President Obama and his wife dined here.
On a hot Sunday we took the RER to Versailles and enjoyed the beautiful gardens. Here we had a nice lunch just outside the garden.
After returning from Burgundy we spent the last day of our trip in Paris . Dropping our rental car off at the airport was not an easy task but we managed. We took the RER into Paris and did some shopping at Lafayette, they have a wonderful food section. I bought some herbs and tea for my friends at home and some food to take back to our hotel at the airport to have a picnic in our room while we were getting ready for an early departure. While downtown Paris we ate lunch at an outside cafe and did some more shopping at Ladurée, an upscale bakery specializing in macarons which my girlfriend in Santa Cruz had requested.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.