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Just French Recipes

Postings on French cooking, food, and recipes from vintage cookbooks. One excellent source is "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve Them", by Cora Moore, 1919. All material is in the public domain.

Updated: 2018-03-05T13:11:03.880-08:00


A Plain French Omelet


A plain French omelet is, perhaps, one of the most difficult of all things to make; that is, it is the most difficult to have well made in the ordinary private house. Failures come from beating the eggs until they are too light, or having the butter too hot, or cooking the omelet too long before serving.

In large families, where it is necessary to use a dozen eggs, two omelets will be better than one. A six-egg omelet is quite easily handled. Do not use milk; it toughens the eggs and gives an unpleasant flavor to the omelet. An "omelet pan," a shallow frying pan, should be kept especially for omelets. Each time it is used rub until dry, but do not wash. Dust it with salt and rub it with brown paper until perfectly clean.

To make an French omelet: First, put a tablespoonful of butter in the middle of the pan. Let it heat slowly. Break the eggs in a bowl, add a tablespoonful of water to each egg and give twelve good, vigorous beats. To each six eggs allow a saltspoonful of pepper, and, if you like, a tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley.

Take the eggs, a limber knife and the salt to the stove. Draw the pan over the hottest part of the fire, turn in the eggs, and dust over a half teaspoonful of salt. Shake the pan so that the omelet moves and folds itself over each time you draw the pan towards you. Lift the edge of the omelet, allowing the thin, uncooked portion of the egg to run underneath. Shake again, until the omelet is "set." Have ready heated a platter, fold over the omelet and turn it out.

Garnish with parsley, and send to the table.

If one can make a plain French omelet, it may be converted into many, many kinds.(image)

French Creme Brulee (Crème Brulée)


Blend a tablespoonful of flour with the yolks of three eggs and place in a casserole. Pour slowly in a pint or more of milk, add a pinch of cinnamon, a few drops of extract of lemon or any flavor desired, and stir constantly over the fire.

When the cream is cooked, make a caramel sauce in a porcelain pot by melting five or six lumps of sugar and cooking to the browning point.

Pour this into a serving dish, pour the cream over it and allow to cool.(image)

Petits Pois a la Francaise


Cook a pint of shelled peas till tender, drain and place on the back of the fire with not quite a gill of the water in which they have been boiled, a little flour and an ounce of butter. 
Simmer for five minutes, adding pepper and salt to taste and just before taking from the fire add the yolk of an egg mixed with a tablespoonful and a half of cream. 
Serve very hot in china or paper cases.

Potatoes au Gratin (American Style)


An American twist on a classic French potatoes recipe:

  • 2 cups diced cooked potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • ½ cup grated American Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • More grated cheese for covering

In a buttered baking dish put a layer of diced potatoes, sprinkle with onion and bits of butter. Next, scatter on a thin layer of cheese and alternate with potatoes, onions and butter. Stir milk, egg, salt and pepper together and pour it on the mixture.

Top everything with plenty of grated cheese to make it authentically American au gratin.

Bake until firm in moderate oven, about ½ hour. (image)

A French Lunch, Entirely with Fish


For a lunch done entirely with fish done in the French style:Hors d'Œuvres. Little Necks or Blue Points.(At Monte Carlo one would be served Clovisses.)Lobster with Sauce Piquante.(A substitute for the French langouste, which is similar to a giant lobster minus the two long nippers. Or there might be served abroad for this course a little gelatinous fellow called supion, or sea-hedgehog, or perhaps nonnots, smaller and more delicate than our own whitefish.)French Sardines Grilled, or Shad Planked.(Shad is a most satisfactory substitute for the French restauranteur's delight—loup de mer.)Flounder, Sauce Meunière, or Shrimps.(In Dieppe sole and certain crevettes are both specialties and are served at this juncture, but little sole is being received here and our own flounder answers requirements admirably. Shrimps, too, will please an American palate fully as well as the crevettes.)Bouillabaisse.(This, for which we have no nearer synonym than fish stew, which is a libel, is the pièce de résistance of the luncheon. It is probably the most famous fish dish of France.)Salade de Poisson with Aioli.(Aioli is a Mediterranean mayonnaise and “the dressing,” the French say, “is the soul of the salad.”)It will be noted that there is no dessert given with the above menu, but the repast may be gracefully topped off with crackers and cheese and café noir. Tea is never served with fish, as the tannin is said to render fish particularly indigestible.To prepare this luncheon:Note that the French disdain the pepper, horseradish and tomato mixtures with which we are wont to dress raw oysters, preferring to get the full coppery taste peculiar to their home product, but the American oyster, even these artists of the culinary department agree, requires a dressing to bring out the flavor. As for the clovisse, which is, by the way, first cousin to our clam, it is eaten from the shell, each clovisse being opened immediately before being disposed of.Lobster as here served to take the place of the French langouste, tastes much like deviled lobster. The sauce piquante is made as follows: Into a saucepan put a tablespoonful of finely chopped onion with a little salt, grated nutmeg, black pepper and an ounce of butter. When this melts and blends add a little chopped red pepper along with three tablespoonfuls of vinegar and a teaspoonful of mustard. Stir together well, then mix in half an ounce of flour and half a pint of fish stock. Simmer for half an hour, skimming occasionally and, finally add a chopped pickled gherkin.Sauce Meunière, served with the sole, or, in this case with the flounder, is made by adding a few shrimps and mussels, minced, to a pint of white wine in a saucepan, along with a cupful of minced mushrooms, a teaspoonful of butter, salt and pepper and three or four cloves. Simmer for twenty minutes and pour over the fish just before serving.Salade de Poisson, Aioli, is made by taking any cold fish, say salmon, with this menu. It is flaked and marinaded in oil and vinegar seasoned well with pepper and salt. Allow to remain for an hour or so, then remove and arrange compactly in a salad bowl. The aioli, the Mediterranean delicacy with which it is served, is made by whipping two eggs, four teaspoonfuls of olive oil, a half teaspoonful of French mustard and a half cupful of cream together till stiff, in a bowl rubbed with garlic. Heap this on the center of the fish.As for the Bouillabaisse, it is like our own Welsh Rabbit in so far as hardly any two persons make it alike. Here are two recipes which gastronomic authorities have accorded the meed of highest praise:No. 1.—Cut into pieces and remove the bones from three pounds of fish; say one pound each of cod, halibut and bluefish, though any fish of like nature will do. To these add the cooked meat of one lobster or two crabs, and six shrimps and put all into a casserole in half a pint or more of olive oil to cook, adding one lemon, sliced, two tomatoes, one onion, [...]

Veau à la Suzette (Veal Suzette)


Trim saddle of veal neatly and put it into a saucepan with a good sized piece of butter. Turn it constantly on the fire till it is a rich golden color all over, then put it onto a dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Add more butter to the gravy in the saucepan and put in raw potatoes cut up in sections like oranges. 

Cover the saucepan and cook, shaking frequently, till the potatoes have a good color. Add an onion, finely minced, and when it is browned, a clove of garlic, minced very fine; next put in a tablespoonful of flour followed, when the flour is brown, by about two cupfuls of stock. Stir well and put back the meat and any juice that may have oozed from it. 

Lastly add a bouquet of herbs, simmer for an hour at least and serve the meat surrounded by the potatoes with the sauce poured over the whole.

French Salad Dressing with Garlic


From "Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners", by Elizabeth O. Hiller, 1913. 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper. 
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika. 
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil. 
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar.
  • Garlic. 
 Rub the mixing bowl with a bruised clove of garlic; add salt, pepper, paprika and oil; beat until ingredients are thoroughly blended, adding vinegar slowly meanwhile.

A piece of ice put into bowl while stirring will aid in chilling the mixture.(image)

Pêches au Vin


Put peaches into a stewpan and cover them with water. In ten minutes remove the skins. Then place them in a shallow dish and cover them either with Madeira or Moselle wine and allow them to stand for at least two hours.

Then drain them, place them in the dish in which they are to be served and cover them with vanilla sugar. Set the wine in which they have been soaked on the fire, add sugar to taste, and pour the sauce boiling over the peaches.(image)

Pommes de Terre, Loulou


From "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve Them", by Cora Moore, 1919
Chop raw potatoes fine and place them in a saucepan with butter and a seasoning of pepper, salt, paprika and a trace of nutmeg. 

Cover and cook very slowly, agitating them constantly. When they become soft, beat well and arrange a layer on a vegetable dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, put on another layer of potatoes, then more cheese, and so on, having the top layer of cheese. 

Pour over all melted butter and bake about twenty minutes in a slow oven.


French Pea Soup


Soak one cup of dried peas over night and then in the morning drain and place in a saucepan, adding two quarts of water. Simmer gently until tender and then pass through a sieve and add:
  • Two large onions, grated,
  • Two tablespoons of parsley, minced fine,
  • Six whole cloves,
  • One small bay leaf,
  • One-half cup of strained canned tomatoes.
 Simmer slowly for thirty minutes and then serve with toasted strips of bread.(image)

Wild Duck in Orange Sauce


Roast two wild ducks over a brisk fire, having them underdone, more or less, according to taste. Baste all the time they are cooking with butter and the juice of lemon and serve with the following sauce:

Shred finely the rind of two oranges and parboil in a little water. Melt an ounce of butter and stir into it a dessertspoonful of flour moistened with a little water. Stir well over the fire and then add the juice of the two oranges, some very clear gravy, flavor with pepper and salt and cayenne, then add the parboiled orange rind.

Let the sauce boil and keep hot till wanted.(image)

Fried Cauliflower


From "Domestic French Cookery", 1836.

Wash a fine large cauliflower, and cut it into quarters. Having boiled some water with salt, throw the cauliflower into it, and boil it till you can nip it easily with your fingers. Take it out and drain it. Then put it into a pan with salt, pepper and vinegar, and let it lie half an hour, turning it frequently.

Make the following batter, which must be prepared half an hour or more before it is wanted, that it may have time to rise. Take three table-spoonfuls of flour, three beaten eggs, a table-spoonful of butter melted in a little warm water, a spoonful of sweet oil, and a spoonful of brandy. Stir all together; and if you find it too thin, add a little more flour; cover it, and let it set half an hour. Then beat to a stiff froth the whites of the eggs, and stir them hard into the batter. Dip your quarters of cauliflower into this mixture, and fry them of a fine light brown.

When the cauliflower is done, let it remain in the pan a quarter of an hour before you send it to table. Lay fried parsley round it.

Broccoli may be fried in the same manner.(image)

Bechamel Sauce II


From "Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners", 1913.

4 tablespoons butter.
4 tablespoons flour.
1½ cups highly seasoned chicken stock.
½ cup hot thin cream.
Yolk 2 eggs.
Salt, pepper, few grains nutmeg.

Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour, stir to a smooth paste; add stock slowly, stirring constantly; add cream and continue stirring. Bring to boiling point, remove from range and add egg yolk slightly beaten. Add seasonings.

Beat until smooth and glossy. Keep hot over hot water. Do not allow sauce to boil after adding yolk of egg.

A Simple French Fish Dinner



Filets des Soles à la Provençal.

Sprinkle the filets with pepper and salt and a little allspice and fry in salad oil with a finely chopped onion and a little chopped parsley. Serve with a slice of lemon on each filet.

Poulet Sauté à l'Estragon.

Sprinkle the pieces of a cut up raw chicken with pepper and salt and cook in a saucepan with a little oil. Make a gravy of a cupful of clear stock in which tarragon stalks have been boiled for an hour, dish up the fowl on a hot platter, pour over the sauce, straining it, and sprinkle on top tarragon leaves blanched and coarsely chopped.

Artichauts à la Barigoule.

Cut off the tops and leaves of the artichokes and boil the bottoms in plenty of slightly salted water till tender. Scoop out the fibrous interior. Grate some cooked bacon into a saucepan with a gill of fine herbs and a cupful of broth. Cook for five minutes. Put a little of this mixture in each artichoke, cover the opening with a slice of lemon and bake in a sauté-pan in the oven for twenty minutes.

Petit Petac.

Peel tiny new potatoes and sauté in oil till a golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Soufflé Georgette.

Grate a half-dozen stale macaroons into a half-cup of brandy, add a pint of cream and two teaspoonfuls of dissolved gelatine. Whip in a dozen maraschino cherries and turn into a mould to harden. Serve with macaroons dipped into the liquid that comes around the maraschino cherries. A custard may be used in this recipe instead of the cream.


French Sauces, Simple and Otherwise


Excerpted from "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve Them", 1919.It is well that the American cook who desires to bring variety to her board should have some knowledge of those Gallic creations, the sauces, by which she is enabled to transform plain dishes into seemingly pretentious ones. In the first place every French chef keeps three kinds of what he calls roux on hand, ready for making meat and fish sauces. These are made by cooking together eight ounces of butter and nine ounces of flour. That intended for use with brown meats is stirred together till it becomes a medium brown in shade; white roux is cooked only sufficiently to banish the raw taste and not allowed to color, while pale roux is kept over the fire just long enough to attain a deep cream color. These are mixed with milk, soup stock, water or gravy as the case may be when a sauce for fish, meat or vegetables is needed.For instance, to make Sauce à la Crème, for use with white entrées, take two tablespoonfuls of the white roux in a saucepan with a cup of milk and a tablespoonful each of finely chopped parsley, shallots and chives. Boil fifteen minutes, pass through a colander into another saucepan, add a small lump of butter, more finely chopped parsley and salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon and it is ready for the table.To make a favorite Sauce Piquante, cut two onions into slices, also a carrot and two shallots and put into a saucepan with a scant tablespoonful of butter. While heating over a moderate fire, add a sprig of thyme, a tablespoonful of minced parsley, a bayleaf and two or three cloves. When the onions are golden brown add a tablespoonful of flour, a little plain stock and a tablespoonful of vinegar. Boil again, pass through a sieve and season with salt and pepper.A simple sauce is that Maître d'Hôtel, which is rarely made at home though so generally liked. Put a lump of butter into a small saucepan over a moderate fire and add to it chopped parsley and chives, or parsley alone. Season with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice and while it is sizzling pour over the hot steak or fish.Sauce d'Anchois, than which there isn't anything better with baked fish, is also easy to make. Take three or four anchovies and mash them up well with two tablespoonfuls of butter. Now make about a pint of brown sauce with brown roux and milk, and stir the anchovy butter into it. Just before taking from the fire add the juice of half a lemon or more, according to taste.Sauce Bearnaise was a favorite of Henry of Navarre, and it is excellent with steaks, chops and, particularly, roast beef. To make it beat the yolks of three or four eggs in a saucepan, add a tablespoonful of butter and a little salt. Stir over a slow fire till the eggs begin to thicken, then remove and stir in two more tablespoonfuls of butter, stirring till the butter is dissolved. Season with chopped fine herbs and parsley and pour in a teaspoonful of French vinegar.In many parts of France they have a favorite dressing for boiled fish called Sauce Ravigote. To make it mix half a pint of stock in a saucepan with a small amount of white wine or cider, then chop fine herbs such as chervil, tarragon, chives and parsley, or whatever other herbs are in season, to the amount of about three tablespoonfuls, and mix with the stock, adding salt and pepper. Stew gently for about twenty minutes, then blend a tablespoonful each of flour and butter, stir into the sauce and continue to stir till thick. Just before serving squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.The word “Ravigote” means, literally, “pick me up,” and it is applied to minced tarragon, chervil, chives and parsley, the herbs be[...]

French Potato Pancakes (Croquettes de Pommes)


From "Easy French Cookery", by Auguste Mario, 1910.

Boil some potatoes in the ordinary way, drain off the water, and allow to steam in front of the fire for ten minutes ; mash by pressing through a fine sieve ; replace in saucepan, with a piece of butter, the yolks of four eggs, a pinch of sugar, salt to taste, and a little nutmeg ; add finally half a teacupful of grated Parmesan cheese, mix thoroughly together, and let cook for five minutes.

Next divide the mixture into equal parts and roll in the form of a big cork on a floured table. Dip in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, plunge into boiling fat, cook till brown, season with salt, and serve.(image)

Tomato Sauce (Sauce aux tomates fraiches)


Cut in two five or six medium tomatoes (very ripe) ; squeeze out the seeds ; put them in a stewpan with a cupful of water or stock ; salt, pepper ; a bouquet of laurel, thyme, parsley ; a chopped onion. Let the tomatoes dissolve ; they must be covered and on a good fire until all moisture has disappeared, then pass through a tammy-cloth.

Prepare a white thickening with i oz. of butter, the same of flour ; add the pure'e of tomatoes into it ; thin the sauce with stock. Let it cook ten to fifteen minutes ; see if seasoned to taste ; finish with a pinch of sugar and i oz. of fresh butter. This sauce should be of a good thickness.

Sole with Chablis Sauce (Sole au Chablis)


Excerpted from "Easy French Cookery", 1910

Cut into long thin strips one onion, a leek, two carrots, and a stick of celery, and boil for five minutes. Mince finely half an onion and half a leek, cook until quite brown in a little butter. Drain the boiled vegetables, add them to the saucepan containing the browned minced onion and leek, and fry all together until brown; season with salt and pepper and withdraw from fire.

Clean two good-sized soles and cut them each into three pieces; put in saucepan, season to taste, and place the vegetables with them; just cover the soles with a little white wine, thicken the sauce by adding a small piece of butter rolled in flour. Dress the soles on a dish with the vegetables and sauce.

Or, for Filets de Sole au Vin blanc, simply cut four fillets from each sole and prepare these the same way as above, omitting the long, thin Julienne vegetables.(image)

Beef Broth (Pot-au-Feu)


From "Easy French Cookery", by Auguste Mario "Late of the Carlton, Cecil Cafe Royal and Criterion", 1910.

This soup is one that finds most favour with the bourgeoise, or French housewife, forming, as it does, a most nourishing and sustaining food. It is at the same time very economical, as the meat utilised is afterwards served as a dish, with the vegetables arranged around, or is converted into Beef Salad.

The beef most suitable is the hindquarter or shoulder, which should be boned and bound together with string ; the bones can also be boiled at the same time. Put the meat in an earthenware or enamelled saucepan, add some chicken giblets and the bones of the meat, cold water, and rough, ordinary salt.

Place the saucepan on the fire and allow to boil, skimming off the fat as it rises. As soon as the water boils, add a glass of cold water and continue to skim off the fat; when it has boiled again, withdraw to edge of fire and allow to simmer for four or five hours with the lid partly tilted. After it has simmered for two and a
half hours, add carrots, leeks, and, finally, some chervil; plenty of vegetables should be used, and they should be quite fresh, as the parts that are not dissolved in the soup will be afterwards served with the beef.

Remove the beef from the soup, place it on a hot dish, and arrange some carrots and leeks round the meat; keep warm by the side of the fire, and serve later on with a separate dish of boiled potatoes and a remoulade sauce.

Cut a few of the vegetables into thin slices and place in the bottom of the soup tureen; pass the soup either through a fine sieve or a coarse linen cloth into a basin; add three or four drops of essence of caramel to clarify it, pour into tureen, and serve very hot.(image)



From "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve them", by Cora Moore, 1919.

As for the Bouillabaisse, it is like our own Welsh Rabbit in so far as hardly any two persons make it alike. Here are two recipes which gastronomic authorities have accorded the meed of highest praise:

No. l. : Cut into pieces and remove the bones from three pounds of fish; say one pound each of cod, halibut and bluefish, though any fish of like nature will do. To these add the cooked meat of one lobster or two crabs, and six shrimps and put all into a casserole in half a pint or more of olive oil to cook, adding one lemon, sliced, two tomatoes, one onion, one sliced carrot, a bunch of saffron, a bunch of parsley, a bayleaf and a clove of garlic or have the casserole rubbed with the garlic. Cook for ten minutes, stirring frequently, then add one cup of soup stock and a glass of wine or cider.

Cook for fifteen minutes longer, remove to a hot bowl, line the casserole with slices of toast, and pour back the bouillabaisse. Serve at once.

No. 2. Place the pieces of fish to any desired amount in a large saucepan, add two or three sliced onions, one or two sliced carrots, three shallots, two cloves of garlic, a bunch of thyme and parsley, three or four cloves, two bay- leaves, half a teaspoonful of capsicum, a wine-glass of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the above mixture two quarts of water and boil gently for half an hour, the pan covered. Drain and lay on a hot dish. Then mix a teaspoonful of saffron in the liquid, pass through a strainer into a soup tureen. Serve the soup with the fish
and a plate of croutons of fried bread or sippets of toast.(image)

French Stuffed Tomatoes


From "Domestic French Cookery", 1836

Scoop out the inside of a dozen large tomatoes, without spoiling their shape. Pass the inside through a sieve, and then mix it with grated bread, chopped sweet-herbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stew it ten minutes, with a laurel leaf, or two peach leaves. Remove the leaves, and stuff the tomatas with the mixture, tying a string round each to keep them in shape. Sprinkle them all over with rasped bread-crust. Set them in a buttered dish, and bake them in an oven. Take off the strings, and serve up the tomatoes.

Egg-plants may be cooked in the same manner.(image)

Pommes de Terre, Barigoule


From "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve them", by Cora Moore, 1919.

Place ten potatoes in a saucepan with enough broth to cover them and boil slowly till done. Drain, taking care not to break them. Put a teacupful of olive oil into a deep frying pan, heat, put in the potatoes, tossing them till they are browned all over lightly. Place on a dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and vinegar. Serve piping hot.(image)

Choufleur au Gratin


From "Twenty-four Little French Dinners and How to Cook and Serve them", by Cora Moore, 1919.

Soak a cauliflower in water with plenty of salt, then boil in plenty of salted water for fifteen minutes. Remove and take away all the green leaves, lay it on a flat buttered dish, previously rubbed with an onion, and pour over it a sauce made as follows: Melt an ounce and a half of butter in a saucepan, add a dessert-spoonful of flour, mix and add a cup of milk. Stir till it thickens, add pepper and salt and add two or three table-spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese.

Mix well and after pouring over the cauliflower sprinkle all over with bread-crumbs and place the dish in the oven till nicely browned.(image)

Codfish Done in the French Style


From "French Cookery Adapted for English Families", 1853


Take a fine cod sprinkle salt over it for a day or two; put it in a fish-kettle full of cold water; take it off after it boils up, cover the kettle for ten or fifteen minutes, drain it, melt some butter in a stewpan, add a little flour, pepper, and some cream ; put your cod quite hot on your dish, and serve with the sauce poured over it. Slices of cod that has been dressed can be served with the same sauce, but in this case the fish must be warmed in the sauce. Nutmeg grated, or a blade of mace is an improvement.


Dress your cod as before, put on your dish with a piece of butter some pepper, chives, and parsley chopped fine, grated nutmeg, and verjuice or vinegar. Mix well with butter, and serve your fish on it.


Dress it as before, and pour over it some white sauce with capers. You may also serve cod with small potatoes boiled in water, with white sauce, with or without capers, and anchovy essence.(image)

Gigot de Mouton aux Epinards


From "Twenty-four little French dinners and how to cook and serve them", 1919

Gigot de Mouton aux Epinards. Roast a small leg of mutton, putting some salt and a small quantity of water at the bottom of the tin. When half cooked, remove the meat and carefully skim the gravy of all fat. Return the mutton to the tin, pour gravy over it and surround it with potatoes cut to the size of walnuts. Put back in the oven, letting the potatoes cook in the juice of the meat. Meanwhile cook about three pounds of spinach, drain, squeeze out all water and pass through a sieve. Return to a saucepan in which about two ounces of butter has been heated and season with pepper and salt. Add a tablespoonful of gravy from the mutton and allow the spinach to simmer till the meat is done. Then pile the spinach with the potatoes about the meat and serve, having the gravy in a sauceboat.(image)